Pollarding? Topping? Trimming? What is the difference?

Pollarding? Topping? Trimming?  What is the difference?

Many homeowners face the prospect of trimming trees each spring.  Whether it is for aesthetic reasons or safety reasons, it pays to know your options, and the differences between them.


Pollarding is actually an ancient technique, which includes cutting branches back to the trunk of the tree to encourage thick, luxurious branch growth.  This technique works best on specific types of trees, like Elm and Ash.  Pollarding is typically done for aesthetic reasons.


Topping is a technique that some homeowners resort to if they don’t want to deal with pruning, or trimming branches.  In this technique, the top of the tree is cut off, all the way down to the trunk.  This can ruin any aesthetic properties of your tree, and can actually kill your tree.  This technique is to be avoided if possible.


Trimming is a targeted way to keep your tree healthy and happy.  It should be done by an expert, as cutting back branches to different lengths changes the way the trees react to the pruning.  Tree trimming can be done for both safety and aesthetic reasons.

Trees are an investment, and can increase the value of your property.  It is important to call in an expert when it’s time for pruning, to ensure a happy, healthy, long life for your trees.