Well, you don’t see this everyday. While driving around High Falls, Ulster County, I saw this peculiar tree; It’s an accurate representation of a pruning technique called “pollarding.” Pollarding is where a tree is kept small by pruning back each year to one spot, forming “knuckles.” Beauty in this technique is definitely seen through the eye of the beholder as some might think it to be ugly. It is more commonly practiced in Europe. Apparently, pollarding was historically used to produce an abundance of sprouts, which would either be used for fodder (green leaves for animals) or for future firewood. In any case, it shows the resilience or adaptability of trees if nothing else.


Ryan Trapani

Director of Forest Services

Catskill Forest Association