Trees can be altered in thousands of ways. In ancient times it was a common practice to pollard trees. A practice that originated in Europe; pollarding starts when a tree is about twenty years old. The tree is cut at many different branch unions at a height of 7 or 8 feet, sometimes slightly less. The cuts produce new shoots, which are in turn cut every fall. The new shoots are always cut back to the same place, leaving the larger branch intact. In time the place where the original cut was made becomes knobby due to the tissue formed at the base of all those shoots. In the old days pollarding allowed firewood to be harvested from the tree every fall, while animals grazed beneath the pollarded trees. Trees were pollarded because cutting the whole tree was impractical; due to grazing there was no way for new seedlings to grow! Pollarding thus allows for multiple land uses, including both grazing and fuel production, while maintaining a (modified) forest environment that supports some forest creatures.
Pollarding can be a very effective way of enjoying trees in an urban environment. Pollarded trees can be maintained at the same height indefinitely, making them ideal for placement under utility lines where unchecked trees would be a nuisance and would eventually need to be topped, resulting in tree defects such as decay and weak branch unions. They have a unique, twisted look to them, and they allow plenty of sun in the winter and provide abundant shade in the summer thanks to the new shoot growth! Only some trees can be successfully pollarded, such as the northern red oak, catalpa, and black locust. Boutte Tree can install and maintain pollarded trees for homeowners and municipalities.