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botchedashtree

Mature Ash tree pollarded in an awful way, what now?

Question

I had an overgrown ash tree that had probably never been pruned in its 100 years life which was smothered in dense arboreal ivy. As more and more large limbs were breaking off in the past 2 years, I thought I should finally get someone to reduce its size and so I spoke to several tree surgeons who all offered pretty much the same thing which was a crown reduction. The guy I went with said he would reduce the crown by 30-40%, now that should have raised a red flag but because of my ignorance I just assumed that it was okay because it was an exceptional situation. Come this Tuesday, he turns up with his team and carries out what I believe is a pollard/topping and removes the entire canopy. He removed all the ivy except some large vines which would damage the bark if ripped off, but he did poison it so it shouldn't grow back. Unfortunately, I didn't realise the damage he had done to the tree until I asked some arborists on another forum. They said that the tree is now guaranteed to die and I will have to remove it within the next few years. If it doesn't die straight away then the water sprouts will cause me more problems and result in more large limbs falling. Lastly, because of the stub cuts the tree is now guaranteed to rot and get a fungal disease.

 

The reason I'm posting on here is because the other arborists were mainly American and they did come across as overreacting a bit especially since they kept mentioning emerald ash borer. It would be great if I could get the opinions of British arborists on the extent of damage done to the tree and what will happen to it now. Is the tree truly doomed or am I able to somehow save it and keep it in good health? I didn't want to remove it for environmental reasons (birds used the tree) but if I have to in the next 5 years, is there a good replacement tree that can provide the same sort of habitat for wildlife, and can grow to a good size in those 5 years? How often will I have to prune it now? Regarding Ash dieback, there haven't been any reports in my area and the canopy was lush and full this summer.

 

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It's been pollarded to fence height previously- so if it can survive that it demonstrates how it will/should grow back again. 

All ivy could have been removed.

Many European street trees are pruned back hard and regularly.

Not saying it is great, just it'll be right.

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5 hours ago, JaySmith said:

£900 to remove half the ivy does seem steep. However stripping ivy can often be under quoted and be very time consuming, sometimes as a contractor you win and it comes off in sheets other times you are up there with a small
everything but the kitchen sink trying to prize it off! Also London is an expensive place for tradesmen what with parking restrictions, LEZ, parking fines, having to leave the truck and chipper half a mile from the job making for a long drag all adds to the time and ultimately the cost. Think they could have stripped the greenery of the ivy as a minimum.

Key will be how the tree responds to the ‘pruning’ moving forward. If it goes into further decline and does need removing then it is safer, easier and cheaper whilst it still has some life in it. Sorry that you’ve had a negative experience thus far but there are plenty of good contractors out there, best putting your location on here and asking for recommendations rather than just looking at something like Checkatrade or the like and I’m sure you’ll get somebody if you need help in the future

Oh yes there are definitely good arborists out there, I'm just unlucky with most things in life haha. I will remember to use this site next time for sure.

2 hours ago, richyrich said:

It's been pollarded to fence height previously- so if it can survive that it demonstrates how it will/should grow back again. 

All ivy could have been removed.

Many European street trees are pruned back hard and regularly.

Not saying it is great, just it'll be right.

That's good to hear, I do feel more assured now. I don't really care about the looks of it as long as it grows back healthily.

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