[NAFEX] Pollarding a mulberry and tree decapitation

Matthew Oller matthewoller at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 3 08:17:50 EDT 2009

  I don't know who the local wizard was, but over ten years ago, a storm pruned a weeping willow extensively. This tree is over 4 feet in diameter. The neighborhood opinion was they were trying to kill it. The surgeon/artist was merely girdling it, trying to stimulate new growth, I explained to no avail.--- patient is fine a tree as one could imagine.

--- On Tue, 6/2/09, Alan Haigh <alandhaigh at gmail.com> wrote:

From: Alan Haigh <alandhaigh at gmail.com>
Subject: [NAFEX] Pollarding a mulberry and tree decapitation
To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org
Date: Tuesday, June 2, 2009, 8:46 PM

I think the idea of pollarding a mulberry is brilliant.  I bet it would work, although it might really encourage scale because the growth would be so tender.  On the other hand, nothing could over winter on the branches!

I also don't mind decapitating trees, with all due respect to Alex Shigo.  I wouldn't do it to an oak, unless the only alternative was cutting it down but I believe that trees generally recover from this treatment.  I have observed hundreds of decapitated trees that suffered very crude pruning via an extremely early snow and twenty years later most are doing fine.

Alex Shigo started this passionate movement against tree decapitation and spoke of the weak connection of branches (codominant leaders) as a result of this treatment.  This problem can easily be rectified by coming back and retraining a tree to a central leader- whether it's an apple or a maple.  He did most of his research work on maples, which may not be the strongest compartmentalizers (tree wound healing, coined and researched by Shigo) in the tree world.   He also spoke of the danger of such large wounds being the source of fatal infection.  I'm waiting for all those decapitated trees to succumb in support of Alex.  Many of them are maples.

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