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Welp, we had our drive pollarded today, six years almost to the day since the last time. Partly done — he’ll come back to do the one on the right and collect the wood too small to be useful.

Pollarding is where you lop the branches off a tree and make really tall stumps. Coppicing is where you lop the branches off and make really short stumps.

We had a tree guy tell us that, in the ordinary course of things, most trees will live a few hundred years at most and then die. But a regularly pollarded tree is, for all intents, immortal. Something about trimming back all its branches makes the tree a sort of perpetual adolescent, biologically. Also, no big heavy branches to weigh it down or split it open.

Usually, the cuts are closer to the trunk, but our professional tree guy was a no-show. This dude is a local handyman sort and he was up there with a hand-saw. I think he was having trouble trimming them any shorter with the equipment he had. Holy shit but he worked hard, though! And now our drive is full of willow fronds.

It’s Spring here. It really feels it now. Has it reached you yet?


Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: April 9, 2015, 10:37 pm

Ha! It was really working on being spring here, but yesterday it started snowing again. We were only blessed with an inch or so, but you should have heard my normally proper wife cuss.

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: April 9, 2015, 10:54 pm

We got snow last night…supposed to warm up soon though.

Comment from Armybrat
Time: April 9, 2015, 11:38 pm

It sleeved yesterday. A bit hard to take after spent a couple of days in AZ last week. I don’t think this winter will ever die.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: April 10, 2015, 12:01 am

A bit hard to take after spent a couple of days in AZ last week.

Hrm. James Lileks spent some time in AZ last week as well. I wonder…

Comment from Fritzworth
Time: April 10, 2015, 12:05 am

Walked the dogs this afternoon and could see and hear kids playing outside most of the way. Trees are blossoming, lawn is reviving, spring is in the air. We could actually use a bit more rain/snow though.

Comment from Nina
Time: April 10, 2015, 12:57 am

I live in Elk Grove, California. We’ve been in Spring for two months already!

I’ve read that pollarding not only extends the life of the tree into near immortality, but that it also enables a great deal of assorted wood resources to be taken from the tree without killing it. There are many very old trees in England due to wise stewardship such as pollarding.

Comment from Admiral Painter
Time: April 10, 2015, 1:00 am

Thanks for the info. I have a crab apple tree that I ‘should’ do that to, have to do that to, to keep it out of the power lines. Dang thing really produces worthless crab apples, though I have seen recipes for crab apple pickles. If only I can keep the apple maggots away.

Comment from Mitchell
Time: April 10, 2015, 1:09 am

Huh. I never knew that. Everybody does this to mulberry trees around here but I’ll bet you 50 quatloos not even 1 in 10 know why they do it. It’s just one of those “everybody does” things.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: April 10, 2015, 7:22 am

49F and driving rain in Baraboo, WI.

Comment from caseyreno
Time: April 10, 2015, 10:33 am

Central Virginia. Tulip populars have blossomed, sugar maples are about to flower, and the spring ‘peepers’ have been trying to find that “special someone” (or many “special someones”) for a couple of weeks. And a sure harbinger of spring – I removed the year’s first deer tick from my leg yesterday. Ah, the joys of dogs and woods.

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: April 10, 2015, 1:50 pm

Spring in Da Swamp happens in January and February, where we have the temps that civilzed climates are getting now. Then, on March 1, Somebody throws a switch, and we’re back to nasty sticky heat until Christmas.

The old saying is true: “Two seasons in Noo Awlins, January and Summer.”

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: April 10, 2015, 2:53 pm

Cool and wet spring here in San Antonio. My three citrus trees are thriving—the new growth is so green and perfect it almost looks like plastic. But the area pollen storm has nearly killed Husband, and he can claim personal responsibility for Kimberly-Clark’s over the top sales bonanza.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 10, 2015, 3:07 pm

Get some advice before you go ahead, Admiral. If you pollard an old tree that has never been pollarded, it sometimes kills it.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: April 10, 2015, 3:49 pm

Any idea how old the willow trees are at Badger House?

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: April 10, 2015, 4:40 pm

Hi Deborah – no idea, I’m afraid. If one ever dies (and one might – it looks like it’s on the way out) I suppose we’ll count the tree rings.

You know – one claw, two claws, lots…

Comment from David Gillies
Time: April 11, 2015, 6:36 pm

The weather in the IOW has been absolutely spectacular. It’s still a bit nippy in the shade but in the direct sun it’s amazing. I was out in the West Wight yesterday and it looked like something out of a postcard. Down on Ryde seafront last week there was literally not a cloud in the sky. When the weather is good here, it’s really, really good.

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