[NAFEX] Pollarding a mulberry and tree decapitation

Kevin Moore aleguy33 at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 5 14:42:50 EDT 2009

I don't know about fruit production, but pollarding mulberries has a long history in China as a means of raising silkworms. I believe many mulberries along the streets of Sacramento are, or were, pollarded just for the sake of keeping them smaller.

From: Alan Haigh <alandhaigh at gmail.com>
To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org
Sent: Tuesday, June 2, 2009 8:46:24 PM
Subject: [NAFEX] Pollarding a mulberry and tree decapitation

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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