As you approach the town of Winton in the heart of Southland, you are greeted by the sight of a dozen or so London Plane trees, pollarded to to the max and begging the question, is this a the best way to manage an ammenity tree?
There are I believe, circumstances where pollarding is a worthwhile process, especially where the branches that are removed each year have some value for furniture making, stock food, firewood or some other use, but controlling the size of a tree doesn't cut it for me.
Perhaps modern street side plantings are now made with trees that don't grow enormous, as these ones do.
A great deal of ugliness could be avoided by chosing a more appropriate species.

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Comment by André Taber on July 30, 2010 at 11:14am
As someone who lived in a Grey Lynn, Auckland street lined with plane trees for nine years, I'm in favour of pollarding. According to stories I heard, sometime in the 1970s or '80s the local residents convinced the city council to stop pollarding. Now, the plane trees are enormous and not particularly attractive. They block out a whole lot of sunlight, they hook into the overhead power and phone lines, and they drop an obscene amount of leaves every autumn, which causes all sorts of problems, especially in regards to blocked gutters and slippery footpaths. Additionally, if you keep the above-ground growth in check, you also keep the root system small, which prevents problems with drains, house foundations, etc. (And - for gardeners, more moisture in the soil for those veges!) However, Robert, you make a good point about the traditional uses of pollarded wood. People are becoming increasingly aware that some of those old-fashioned ways actually made sense, so it would be nice to see the Winton pollarding go to someone who appreciates it, and not the landfill.

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