This article from three years ago definitely conforms to the ‘Horridculture’ meme for Wednesday.

Tony Tomeo


I use the term loosely. Okay, so maybe I use it mockingly in this context. This sort of thing really should have no connection to the works of Calder, Rodin or Brancusi. It might be worthy of a few fancy adjectives, such as ‘severe’, ‘unusual’, ‘dramatic’ and ‘bold’. Horticulturally though, we might be thinking more like ‘disgraceful’, ‘abhorrent’, ‘ridiculous’ or ‘just plain sad’.

There is nothing wrong with pollarding, that severe sort of pruning that almost all other arborists will tell you is wrong. It involves pruning trees back to the same distended terminal knuckles every winter. Only a few trees are adaptable to the technique, and technically, sweetgum happens to be one of those few trees.

The stipulation is that once pollarded, they MUST be cut back to the same knuckles EVERY winter. A small stub or maybe two can be left on knuckles to allow them to elongate…

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2 thoughts on “Sculpture

  1. I’ve seen this a lot in my area. It always looks awful and is never done by a qualified arborist. It’s my guess that people think they’ll have fewer leaves to rake if they chop their tree in half.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many of the chopped trees that I notice are in the Los Angeles region, where merchants chop the canopies off where they would otherwise obscure their signs. We try to explain to them that they can prune the trees up and over the signs, but they do not care. They often cut the trees down; or the trees just mysteriously die. I really do not mind pollarding, but it must be done properly, and regularly. Pollarded trees are essentially ‘ruined’ in the sense that they should not be expected to ever recover structural integrity after the process is started. They must be pollarded until they get cut down. I pollarded my blue gum because I want the aromatic juvenile foliage, and can not accommodate a mature tree anyway. I would NOT recommend it to anyone else.


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