The trunks in the middle pic are very much like those of the old coppiced willows I grew up with round Oxford, so I think you're probably right.
Any idea why they coppice them from a few feet off the ground? Coppicing, as I've understood it to be practiced in the US (upstate NY and the Upper Midwest), uses shrub willows that are cut to the ground each fall.
I think think pollarding is a form of coppicing. I can't remember the specific definition, but recall that a pollard was useful as a boundary marker, and whereas a stub-cut coppice was for producing polls or thin pliable branches, the pollard was for producing forage. In urban areas I think it is mostly done for the effect. I think of Harry Potter's "Whomping Willow" as a notable example!
ah, I wasn't familiar with pollarding, but as wikipedia describes it you appear to be right. one other advantage they point out is that livestock can't prevent regrowth of something that's off the ground. thanks!
Yes, the dutch love keeping their trees in check. Nature needs to be controlled in Holland. Willows especially are often pruned like this.Also popular here is the dakplataan (london planetree) where the branches have been led along a square frame to create a square of leaves as a natural umbrella or screen.
wow, ill have to look for those square plane trees next time i'm there. sounds cool.
But what is it about keeping them square and fortified that keeps them healthy? Wouldn't you want as much oxygen as possible, therefore many branches? I suppose in a place that has clean air it wouldn't be that big of a deal.-Samudaworth Tree Service