Poplar trees are a broadleaf deciduous tree native to the UK and Europe.
Scientific name: Populus nigra Family: Salicaceae
There are some 35 species of poplar and, since they cross-pollinate, an infinite number of hybrids. When it comes to windbreak tree options, poplar trees are a popular species among homeowners, gardeners and farmers in part due to their fast growth and hardy nature.
Mature poplar trees grow to 30m and can live for 200 years. Poplar bark is dark brown but often appears black, and is thick with numerous fissures and burrs. Twigs are lumpy and brown in colour.
Leaves: are shiny, green and heart-shaped, with long tips and a mild scent of balsam. Young leaves are covered in fine, tiny hairs, which they shed by autumn.
Flowers: black poplar is dioecious, meaning male and female flowers are found on separate trees. Flowers are catkins (male catkins are red and female catkins are yellow-green), and are pollinated by wind.
Fruits: once fertilised, female catkins develop into fluffy cotton-like seeds, which fall in late summer.
Poplars trees need fertile soil, acidic or neutral, as well as direct sun and sufficient water to keep their roots moist. You must be sure that your tree will have sufficient room to grow to its full size. Poplars are best planted three feet apart with six feet between the rows. After planting your poplar trees, pile a couple inches of mulch between the trees. This blocks weed development and seals in soil moisture. For proper poplar growth, don’t exceed more than 4 inches of mulch. A light dressing of fertiliser in the second year will boost growth further – but do not overdo it.