Friday, March 11, 2016

Hairy fists

These trees make me sad. I understand; left to themselves, the trees would grow too big for the city streets where they are planted. They would interfere with overhead electric and phone lines (why do we still have those?) and cut off the summer sun.

But it looks painful, even for a tree's limited awareness of pain.

Knobby tree, one of a double row down our main street.

The club ends of the branches, where the new growth is cut back every couple of years, are variously called "knuckles", "knobs", "heads", and, it seems to me appropriately, "fists".

Pollarding is a tree pruning technique that develops a framework of bare scaffold branches with a gnarly knob at the end of each branch. Every spring numerous straight long and leafy sprouts emerge from these knobs to produce a dense, shady canopy. (Wild Willow Design)

Instead of planning to pollard a large tree, consider planting a tree that will fit the space and require only light pruning. Some people consider a knobby, pollarded tree to be ugly and unnatural-looking. (SFGate)

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