• Ancient black poplar pollard at Llangarron

    Arboricultural consultant Jerry Ross organised a splendid session at Upperfields Farm, Llangarron last Saturday (22.2.20) to raise awareness of how to manage large old native black poplars. Around 50 folks gathered at the farm for a briefing about these now rather scarce trees (only about 200 in Herefordshire, & less than 7,000 across UK). Tony Norman who has been co-ordinating a black pop tree planting program explained how simple the process was - drive a stick or truncheon (a larger stick) into the ground on a soft muddy riverbank and there's a pretty good chance it will take root. Into the field opposite the farm to find the demo. tree - a splendid old stager with a rambling hollow bole right next to an old spring-fed pond. Jerry had explained that the best way forward with these ancient pops - for ancient it probably is - maybe 250 years old - is a very cautious thinning and pruning back of long pendulous boughs that might put undue strain on the now fragile old bole. The leverage of these very long arcing boughs is considerable and especiallly worrying with this succession of stormy episodes this winter. In fact, on the day, it was still a bit too gusty to get all the work done and tree surgeon Joe Brandt decided to call a halt after a very brief 'haircut' for the old tree. He'll be back another day.

    Huge thanks to Vernon & Sheila Jones for their hospitality and it is to be hoped the old pop hangs in there until further remedial work can continue.

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