Pollarded trees in Brussels

An advantage of visiting Brussels in the final days of winter is being able to see the bare knobby limbs and whippy branches of the city’s many pollarded trees.  They “can look weird,” wrote Landscape Designer Clive West in The Guardian at this link.  But, like him, I am fascinated by the particular aesthetic of their gnarly forms — ancient and modern at the same time.

Click on any thumbnail in the gallery to scroll through larger images.

8 thoughts on “Pollarded trees in Brussels

  1. They sure do look unusual but I would want to see them in leaf. Belgium has such a strong tradition of formal pruning that I would want to see more before counting them out. Side note: Whenever I see a Belgian landscape, I always think of how many skilled gardeners are being given jobs and to my mind that’s a good thing.

  2. I love pollarded trees and wish we saw more of them in the US. I’m playing with pollarding willows in my country garden. Even thinking of trying it in the small city garden. Thanks for the Cleve West link.

    1. I recently got word that the giant holly tree at our Glover Park (rented-out) home may be dying — I know you understand the dismay. But, if it’s true, it will be an opportunity to try out new ideas for trees in a small space.

      On Thursday (Friday, if my internet continues to be wonky), I will have photos of (bare) pleached trees in Brussels.

  3. All my work revolves around low-pollen or pollen-free landscape consulting, and these London Plane treesin the photos, they would normally produce quite a bit of pollen each spring….but since the male flowers are only formed on last year’s wood….when pollarded they become pollen-free (for that season anyhow)!

    1. How interesting! According to the Cleve West article at the link, pollarding also makes the tree more wind-resistant and stops the roots from becoming invasive. It reduces the number of leaves (which costs the city less in clean-up each fall) and increases the tree’s lifespan.

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