Coppicing really should get more respect here like it does in other cultures. It has practical application. Unfortunately, this was not practical. This particular specimen is now gone.

Tony Tomeo

P80729Coppiced trees and shrubs are just like pollarded trees, but without the trunk and main limbs. Instead of getting cut back to the same distended knuckles at the ends of disproportionately stout limbs, they get cut back to the same stump just above grade over winter. Some get coppiced annually. Others get coppiced only when they get too big. The coppiced California sycamore in this picture may never get coppiced again.
It was not intentionally coppiced. It had merely been cut down. The trunk was in the middle of where this thicket of secondary growth is now, but all of the canopy was over the adjacent parking lot from which the picture was taken. The tree was so severely and asymmetrically disfigured and leaning that it was unsightly and unmanageable. It really looked ridiculous. Removing the tree and replacing it with a new one would have been more practical than…

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7 thoughts on “Coppice

  1. Interesting… I have never heard the term coppiced or pollarded… When most trees are cut down around here we don’t want them to grow back. Some folks get their trees topped when they get to large to help with limbs breaking during the winter and high winds. The problem with that is the new growth is much weaker and can break off fairly easy. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Exactly! but that is only because NO ONE pollards or coppices properly here. It is so frustrating. I use the techniques in my own garden, but no one else does it, and I do not recommend it because no other arborists here knows how to do it properly. Properly pollarded trees, and trees that are pollarded annually each winter are quite structurally sound. There are a few reasons for doing it too. In other cultures, pollarding and coppicing are common and acceptable horticultural techniques, but that is because arborists do it PROPERLY. Some pollarded and coppiced trees have been maintained as such for several centuries. I sometimes write about it, only to get scolded by my colleagues who think they know more about it than I do, even they do not do it. I also get scolded by arborists in other regions for not promoting it! You know, I am a Californian, and I know what works here. I can not promote techniques that are never done properly here.

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    1. Goodness, it is NOT the same thing. Topping is the more typical technique that ruins trees. Stupid arborists may ‘say’ that it is pollarding, but it is not! Also, they top excurrent trees, such as firs, pines and redwoods, which ruins them. The do this at any time of year, leaving upper growth open to sun scald. So-called ‘arborists’ can be total idiots.

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