Yesterday I posted a question about this tree that I had photographed in Whanganui earlier this week.
Many blog readers have confirmed that this is a pollarded Plane tree that I posted about yesterday.
Hmmm what does pollarding mean I wondered. One definition is: “Pollarding trees” means cutting them back nearly to the trunk, so as to produce a dense mass of branches. It is sometimes done today for aesthetic purposes and/or to keep a beloved tree from outgrowing its bounds, necessitating removal. But traditionally, it was done for other reasons: the cut branches were either fed to livestock (fodder), burned as fuel or used to make things.
Pollarding begins on young trees, and the process is repeated throughout the life of the tree. Only certain types of trees are suited to pollarding.
One of my Facebook friends who lives in Kent, England offered this additional information: The plane tree is unique in that it collects all the dirt in the air in it’s bark, particularly in areas where there is a lot of traffic, and then the bark flakes off. They are used to keep the air clean in urban areas.
Thanks Amanda. That might be why so many are planted along streets, both very busy and quiet suburban streets, here in New Zealand.
Aren’t trees wonderful! As you walk past a Plane tree on the edge of a street, breath deeply and give thanks to the tree for cleansing the air for you.
That is very interesting; especially about feeding stock with the branches. I only realised recently that willow trees (the branches) were a valuable source of cattle fodder and especially valuable in times of drought in New Zealand. I had somehow come to the idea that willows were an exotic nuisance (not sure how) in our landscape but actually they are very useful and versatile. Poplar trees (pollarded) are excellent for cattle and sheep feeding too. Aren’t trees wonderful 🙂
Indeed they are and in so many different ways.
Pollarding was an ancient English practice, and pollarding willows meant that basket makers had a regular supply of straight whippy branches to weave.
It breaks my heart to see plane trees pollarded, as they are huge beautiful trees when left to grow and they are what make so many avenues and parks in London so beautiful..
There are a few streets in Auckland where they’ve been allowed to grow and create a towering cathedral of shade like the Mall, St James Park, Constitution Hill etc in London.
The Plane Trees in Auckland that have been allowed to grow sound very beautiful Valerie.
This is so interesting, to hear about how the plane trees actually clean the air. I will look on them in a new way now.
I was very interested to read about the dirt collecting bark on these trees too Juliet. Nature is wonderful.
Coming from Melbourne, Australia, I have always admired the plane trees there. The comment about the bark taking up dirt though I cannot find any supporting information for….its an unlikely mechanism but it is a nice thought…..cheers
Nice to hear from you Peter and thanks for following my blog. I’ll take a look around yours later today.
Thanks for checking out the theory offered from Kent, England…