IF the trees in the picture above look as
if they have suffered extreme vandalism, don't worry. They are
meant to look like that. They have just received the willow
trees' equivalent of a manicure and haircut.
forestry as pollarding, it happens roughly
every five years, involving - as you can see -
all shoots to the main stem. If it seems like arboreal cruelty
when the trees have put in all that effort to grow big and
strong, it is good for them in that it encourages new growth!
Although I seem to be writing very knowledgably on this subject,
I have, in fact, had all this from James Thompson who at the
time was the Nantwich
Riverside Project Manager.
He told me: "Notices
headed 'Willow Management in Progress'
were placed on site to inform people of what is happening. This
is an important management process both historically and
"The upper Weaver and its banks are characterised by willow
trees and in particular those taking the pollarded form.
Historically, all the willow trees on the river in Nantwich were
managed in this way.
"Traditionally they would be managed in
this way for the following and
important reasons, some of which are still relevant today:
growing part of the tree is kept high out of the reach of
is encouraged for firewood production and for weaving
reduction of the crown weight of these ‘crack’ willows stops
them breaking up.
prolongs the life of the trees."
James added: "Sadly some willows on the riverside have been
lost, or have broken up and are falling into the river. It is
one of our aims to have all appropriate riverside willows under
management to restore some of the ancient landscape character.
A combination of pollarded willows at various stages are an
excellent habitat for a variety of species.
"I am hoping to get some interpretation boards for the area in
the future which will inform/educate