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Plant a Poplar Tree: What are Its Types and Diseases?

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The trees that grow on your backyard and lawn are statement pieces for your property. This is why you should take great care in selecting what type of trees grow around your home. You may choose to plant a single stately ash tree for majestic foliage or you may wish a copse of fragrant persimmon trees for delicious fruits.

But what if you want to plant something a little more dramatic?

You can’t go wrong with statuesque poplar trees. Today, learn why you may want to plant poplar trees on your property, what are the different types of poplar trees as well as some diseases you should look out for in case you need to do some basic tree care.

Why Plant Poplar Trees?

Planting poplar trees can yield surprising benefits for your property. Photo by Akil Mazumder from Pexels

Poplar trees are tall and elegant members of the willow tree family. Unlike the wide and cyclopean cedar trees, the profile of a poplar tree is slim and stately, almost like an oversized feather or a champagne flute in its stature.

But there are tangible benefits to planting a stand or a row of these elegant trees on your property.

What are the Types of Poplar Trees?

Different types of poplar trees have different types of appeal and needs.

There are 35 species of poplar trees in the willow family and they are all native to the Northern Hemisphere. But the different types of poplar trees native to North America can categorized into three groups: balsam poplars, cottonwoods and aspens.

Below are three specific types of poplar trees. Some of them are suitable for planting in your yard and others are better off if left in the wild. Learning about their features can help you make an informed decision should you decide to grow poplar trees on your property.

White poplars are probably the least suitable type of poplar trees for garden landscapes. The defining features of a white poplar tree are its fluffy flowers, which is reminiscent of cotton. This white, fluffy down can be very annoying when in full bloom and makes quite a mess. Another reason white poplars aren’t ideal for growth on a residential property are their roots. These poplars have very aggressive root systems that can infiltrate basements, tear up your driveway and make your lawn look like a total mess. The bark of white poplars have smooth grayish green looks, with diamond markings all over it.

Black poplars are large and imposing members of the species. The trees get their name from their dark colored bark. These poplar trees also produce some truly spectacular flowers. Male poplar trees produce red flowers while their female counterparts produce slightly yellow green flowers. While the flowers of black poplars can be quite fetching, the same cannot be said for the wrinkled, furrowed bark that gives them their name. Black poplars can also grow to unwieldy girths and heights overtime. The key to maintaining black poplars is to continuously prune it and call expert tree care providers to ensure it doesn’t grow too big for your entire property.

The most elegant of all the types of poplar trees, Lombardy poplars reach for the sky like oversized paintbrushes or lush feathers. These tall, slim trees can reach up to 50 feet tall if left undisturbed and well-fed. Lombardy poplars are great for creating organic privacy hedge between properties. However, planting Lombardy poplars also has its downsides. The trees shed fluffy white seed hairs during the summer, making it a messy addition. It also has a shallow root network that remains on the surface, meaning they can ruin your lawn.

What are Common Poplar Tree Diseases?

Unchecked, poplar tree diseases can demolish entire stands.

Like all plants, poplar trees need a certain amount of maintenance and tree care. If you do grow some poplars on your grounds, here are some of the common poplar tree diseases you should look out for.

This appears as small spots of orangey spores on the leaves of poplar trees. Although it may look a little alarming, you don’t need to do anything because they aren’t damaging to the trees and they’ll remain healthy.

If you notice that the tips of young branches and leaves quickly rot to black, your poplar may have scab and shoot blight. The spores of this disease look like olive residue on the surface of dead plant tissue. It affects smaller trees more often than mature specimens. The only way to control this is to prune all the affected branches or even remove infected trees entirely.

A very alarming infection, this disease causes large branches to die and huge, brown cankers to appear on the bark. When it rains or the weather gets wet, yellow ooze with leak out of the cankers. Lombardy poplars are especially prone to these cankers. The only solution is to remove infected areas and to gouge out any cankers.

Poplar trees are elegant and wonderful specimens. Aside from their stately profiles and lush growth, they can provide more material benefits. Their addition to your backyard and garden can mean the difference between a great asking price and an average asking price. Grow them on your property today.

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