Royal Shakespeare Company logo Tickets for 2024 Tulip Festival available now!

Welcome to our Head Gardener’s Journal

In this monthly column, we will share technical aspects of our work and also keep you up to date about ongoing projects. If there is any topic you might want to hear more about, please ask during your next visit!

Pollarding an old Ash tree

Most of the trees in our Parkland Meadow were planted in 1905. There are, however, some older specimens, mostly oak and ash, which belong to a perimeter planting scheme from the first half of the 19th century. Occasionally, one of those older trees shows signs of stress and we need to call our trusted tree surgeon, Maurice Fitch, and his team.

One of the ash trees had recently developed a lot of dead wood, posing an increasing threat to the nearby sandstone monopteros. It was therefore decided to remove all dead branches and ‘pollard’ the tree, reducing the crown almost by half, in the hope that this will encourage new growth.

Ash tree with dead branches in its massive crown.
Tree surgeons ready to embark on their mission.

Climbing through the crown in rather precarious positions, the tree surgeons carefully cut the branches and dropped them safely to the ground.

Removal of dead branches and reduction of the crown.

After a long day, the tree looked slightly cropped but much healthier and certainly much safer!

Pollarded tree.

We now need to keep our fingers crossed, hoping that the tree will not decline any further and instead start flourishing again.