Sunday, February 28, 2016

Pollarding a tree? Make a Wattle Hut!

There are a lot of Mulberry trees on our street.  For years, at some point in midwinter, most of my neighbors get out there and pollard them, leaving the few remaining branches to remain with their denuded cauliflower stumps.  Without being entirely sure why we do this but not wanting to be the pariah of my good neighbors I have gone and done it too.  I think the previous owners of my residence were field workers and they did some interesting braiding with the branches. I've always liked this little flair of non-conformity.  That creative branchwork has been something I wanted to riff on further. While there are many shallow justifications for pollarding online I've been unimpressed by their rigor. The whole thing feels a little like cropping a dogs ears or something. Since I didn't really know why we were doing the cutting to begin with, I wanted to imbue this ritual with more meaning.  Today my boys and I got out there and finally made a small wattle hut.  A coupe notes on the making process.

1. To trim the tree correctly you have to cut the branches relatively close to their base.  
2. To do the wattle correctly you have to recut the base of the branch so the associated curved element segment is eliminated.  This allows you to work with a fairly straight "bow-like" piece.  

3. I thought it might require more than one tree to make this structure and I stock piled three trees worth of branches before starting. Ultimately, I think you can do it with just one.

Anyway, if you want to lighten the load to the dump and your looking for something useful to do with your pollarding you might try this (or something else!).

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