Monday, 17 October 2011

Pollarding Willows

One of the important roles we have as land managers in the countryside is to look after the trees around the farm.  Willow trees are part of the traditional landscape in this area and grow well in the wetter areas of the farm.  From time to time they require a bit of a hair cut as you can see from the picture above.  This tree is a bit overdue a trim.  Allowing these trees to grow tall can make them unstable when it is very windy, which can cause them to split off and fall down.  That in itself is dangerous, but the tree can then be exposed to disease entering the trunk through the split wood which may kill it.  These trees provide a great habitat with holes in the trunks which make for very good nesting sites and providing very early pollen supplies for emerging insects after hibernating through the winter.
We would usually be able to pollard the smaller trees with our own staff but when they get this big we need to call in the experts.  Here is Tim, suitably dressed with climbing gear bringing down the limbs of the tree one by one until just the two main trunks are left.  Simon and Tim are very skilled and soon safely brought the tree down to it's desired height.  The guys had a great day pollarding several of these massive trees.

Graham was on hand with our JCB loadall to help clear away the brash, ready for burning, and the cord wood (which we will dry out and use in our farm wood burners in a couple of years) . We have to move all of the material away from the stream as it can flood during heavy rain and these would very quickly dam up the stream further down.  The majority of the cord wood will be stacked in the field, away from the stream, to rot down over time to provide food and homes for many insects, fungi and small mammals.

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