Pollarding is an ancient pruning system where a tree is pruned back to its skeletal framework at a predetermined height. Twiggy, epicormic growth arising from dormant buds under the bark then grows vigorously from those cuts and is removed every few years. This was traditionally harvested for livestock feed or construction materials but more recently is used to manage tree growth in urban areas, cities and on the roadside.
Pollarding needs to be set up early in a trees life with a regular cycle of maintenance removing the new growth back to pollard heads every 2-3 years. Certain species such as lime, willow and planes respond better to pollarding than others.
A pollarded tree looks a bit unsightly and this method or pruning is usually discouraged in a domestic setting in favour of a more natural finish.
This weeping willow in Culcheth, Warrington is regularly pollarded to prevent it becoming overgrown right on the property boundary.