Tree Pollarding

You can tell that Spring is around the corner. People are slowly starting to think about trees and tree care again. We couldn’t be more excited, as it has been a long, cold winter and we are ready for some warmer weather ourselves. Over on Twitter, the folks at ReForest London are talking tree planting and a great question was posed to us from TREA Ontario.

“Pollarding – Do you do that?”
~ from TREA Ontario

Tree Pollarding

Tree Pollarding

We thought you might be curious too, so decided to share our answer here on the CLC Tree Services Blog. For starters, some of you might be wondering what exactly pollarding is. The Royal Horticultural Society defines it as such;

Pollarding is a method of pruning that keeps trees and shrubs smaller than they would naturally grow. It is normally started once a tree or shrub reaches a certain height, and annual pollarding will restrict the plant to that height.
~ Royal Horticultural Society

For CLC Tree Services response as to whether we perform this service, we go to Calvin for the answer;
Pollarding a tree

“Pollarding is a glorified term for tree topping. Typically we stay away from any type of topping, with a few exceptions;

1. Fruit trees. Ex. Apple, pear and plum trees are often trimmed this way to stress the tree, therefore producing more fruit. It also keeps trees at a manageable and pickable height.

2. Catalpa trees are often pollarded when lining a driveway. Every year the new growth is trimmed back to a nub… And come spring time the tree puts out new sucker growth giving the tree a globed shape every year

Pollarding3. We will do it to Large trees that have been previously topped or pollarded only because the new growth produced after pollarding is weak and usually not safe to climb on. Therefore we will trim new growth back to previous cuts to maintain climbing safety.

4. Willow trees and Manitoba maples are the only two trees that we will regularly pollard. Both varieties of tree  grow at a very rapid rate and have very soft and weak wood. In Our experience they tolerated the heavy trimming well and typically look quite good after a year of new growth grows in.

Note: due to weak branching structure and climber safety, anyone that is considering pollarding or topping a tree should be prepared to do the same process every 1-3 years.”

~Calvin McCallum, CLC Tree Services Arborist

That gives you something to think about before you decide whether or not to heavily prune your trees. We aren’t butchers and won’t harm a healthy tree. CLC Tree Services has been protecting the trees of the Forest City for over 25 years and aims to keep it that way.

If you have further questions, contact us on Twitter, Facebook, check out our website, or contact our office at (519) 685-0257. We are here to help.

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Safety in the Tree Care Industry

Providing tree care is no laughing matter. This week a man was killed near Thorndale when a tree he was cutting down fell on him. The risks are real. People in the tree care industry are at risk of injury or death due to falls, electrocution, and contact with objects. Those objects include whole trees, tree trunks, branches, as well equipment such as vehicles, chippers, chainsaws, and other tools of the job. Injuries, and even death, can also occur due to bee or wasp stings (allergic reactions) and interaction with angry neighbours (they tote guns in the US). While the table below comes from the CDC website, Canadian statistics tell a similar story.

TABLE 2. Number and percentage of occupational injury deaths associated with tree care operations, by event circumstances — United States, 1992–2007







Injury event

Contact with objects and equipment



Struck by or against



Caught in, compressed, or crushed






To lower level



Exposure to harmful substances or environments



Contact with electric current



Transportation accidents



Highway accident


Nonhighway accident







Primary injury source







Parts and materials



Power lines



Persons, plants, animals, and minerals



Trees and logs



Structures and surfaces



Floor or ground



Tools or equipment



Powered hand tools






Highway vehicle



Other sources













Operating machinery






Not specified



SOURCE: Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 1992–2007.

CLC Tree Services takes Workplace Health & Safety seriously

CLC Tree Services takes Workplace Health & Safety seriously

At CLC Tree Services we take our health and safety seriously. We have been in business for over 25 years and aim to be here a little longer. The only way to do that is by exercising safe practices.

CLC Tree Services carries both Liability Insurance and coverage under Workplace Safety and Insurance Board for all our employees. All our work practices comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, as well as the Ontario Arborist Industry Safe Work Practices. On a regular basis, we conduct safety meetings and look for ways to continue to train our employees through the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association. That includes CPR and first aid training.

The training and safety measures that CLC Tree Services has in place greatly reduces the risks to our employees. We work within a team and are vigilant about their security. We don’t want to see anyone get hurt. But accidents happen.

Our condolences to Garnett Smith’s family this week. You are a reminder that our industry isn’t forgiving to those who are injured and that safety should always first. RIP

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Spring Visions

The days are getting longer and March will be here in just over a week. As much as London, Ontario is in the grips of yet another Extreme Cold Warning (our 6th)…

Actually, I think that we have been under a cold weather alert for all of February. Am I right? Maybe not, but it’ll feel like in the -30C range this evening and into tomorrow, so who’s going to quibble with me.

So I think it’s fair to say that we need to warm our spirits somehow. Chip the ice crystals from your eyes and get a gander at these hot numbers;

Spring Visions 

Mmm mmm maple. Can't wait to taste your sap

Mmm mmm maple. Can’t wait to taste this year’s sap


Sweet magnolias! Let me smell those blossoms!

Really redbud, what a blush...

Really redbud, what a blush…

Fair forsythia, when will you bloom again?

Fair forsythia, when will you bloom again?

Delicate flowers - how can anyone call you a crab?

With those delicate flowers, how can anyone call you a crab?

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Which Tree is Best For Me?

If you look outside your window and see nothing but snow, thoughts of tree planting might be the furthest thing from your mind. I get it. See beyond the winter landscape though and start planning for spring. Now is the time to think about which trees you might want to plant!

There is so much to consider. You need to take in account your soil, sunlight, water availability, drainage, surrounding landscape, and of course your personal likes and dislikes. Don’t forget to think about the tree’s needs as well; its frequency of feeding, pruning, and your ability to provide those things. You shouldn’t pick a high-needs tree like a bonsai, if your travel schedule means that your postal worker sees more of your landscape than you do. Likewise, the tree of heaven might sound heavenly, but it is not native to Canada and considered an invasive species throughout much of North America. Research will save you plenty of headaches at the end of the day.

ReForest London has a great Resource List of trees at risk, to avoid, to use with caution and best choices. This might be your best place to start, but as already noted, more things need to be considered. Keep your list handy and ask yourself these questions;

Norway Maple

This Norway Maple was planted underneath hydro wires, which meant heavy pruning, as seen in the Y-shape of the tree

Where would you like to put the tree?

  • consider the proximity to roadways, buildings, hydro wires, buried utilities, etc.
  • how high and wide does the tree grow?
  • how much sunlight and water does the tree need
  • what is your soil’s pH level?
  • what is your climate like – wet, dry, hot, cold, etc.

* When a tree is planted too near other structures it can threaten them via its roots, branches and the whole tree itself. Plus a tree grown in a compromised setting is often weaker and prone to disease, insect infestation or failure to thrive

Think about the maintenance of your tree throughout the year; does it produce flowers, fruit or other things you will have to clean up?

Think about the maintenance of your tree; does it produce flowers, fruit or leaves that you will have to clean up?

How high-needs is the species?

  • does it have flowers, berries, fruit or leaves to clean up?
  • does it produce suckers that require frequent pruning?

* Trees are typically lower maintenance than annual plants, perennial flowers or even shrubs, but still require pruning to remove dead wood and damaged branches, plus occasional fertilizing. Consult your local arborist to find out if your tree would benefit from fertilization.

Emerald Ash Borer

Tree species needs to be considered along with its possible threats, like ash trees and their susceptibility to the emerald ash borer

Is it appropriate for my space?

  • is it native to my location?
  • is it susceptible to pests, disease?
  • does it fit in with my existing landscape?
  • do I like the look of it?

* A tree is only as good as its location. If its invasive, won’t survive the climate, is prone to disease or is just plain not to your liking, you won’t consider it a benefit to your yard. Neither will it be a appreciated if you are allergic to it, don’t like the smell of it, or find its look unappealing. Pick what you like!

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Sharing Our Story; Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall

1012672_716063328413218_261516273_nTwenty centimeters of snow fell on London, Ontario this past Sunday; the most snow we have seen yet this winter. Even more has fallen since then. The Forest City looks like a winter wonderland. But all that snow has begot huge snow piles beside driveways and takes up precious real estate in business parking lots. We hate to admit that it also makes it a little harder to get close to any potential trees we want to work on.

But not impossible.

While you might not think about tree services when the world is white, it isn’t a bad time to consider it. There are no leaves to block our view of what needs to be cut, less mess to clean up, your trees are mostly dormant, therefore aren’t weakened by loss of sap or attack by insects, plus the heavy equipment that is sometimes necessary in tree work causes less damage on surrounding (frozen) landscape. All pluses. And typically tree services companies are less busy in the winter months, so there is less wait time for estimates and the subsequent work to get scheduled.

That holds true for CLC Tree Services, but we aren’t entirely closed for the season. While phone calls haven’t been overwhelming this winter, the office isn’t entirely quiet.

Curt McCallum explains. “Yesterday the phone didn’t exactly ring off the hook, but we got several emails from people looking for services. I’ve got an appointment to go to this afternoon for an estimate from one of those emails.”

And the telling part he added was that “they found us via the net.”

While many tree services companies still rely on word-of-mouth or a listing in the Yellow Pages, CLC Tree Services recognized that the web held huge potential for marketing a few years ago. As the Yellow Pages announced this week that they will begin to phase out delivery of their signature big yellow directories, CLC is grateful they took the leap when they did. While you will still be able to request a hard copy of the directory, it won’t necessarily be landing on your doorstep for too much longer. And that means that businesses who rely on their listings in the massive tomes will have to enter the digital revolution, whether they like it or not. The world is going digital.

Today, McCallum estimates that at least 25% of their business comes from the internet. CLC Tree Services has this blog, a website, Facebook Page, Twitter account, ShopLondon site, and Curt also has a profile on LinkedIn. Not to mention the videos uploaded to Youtube. All of those sites create a web presence that Curt is pretty happy with. If you look up Tree Services & London, you will find CLC Tree Services near the top of the list. And that is advertising that pays, especially in a slow market like mid-winter.

So if you are searching for a tree services company in London or surrounding area, you can find CLC Tree Services just about anywhere (including on the BBB of Western Ontario website). We work Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall! And if you have had tree work performed by our company, please feel free to share your experiences with others, via Facebook, Twitter or wherever else you roam the net. Or beyond for that matter. Because as much as we acknowledge that advertising is a necessary part of business, we know that good word-of-mouth is the most valuable asset of all. And we always strive to do our best.

So please, share the good word!

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