Hybrid Poplar

Stock status (June 2024)

General characteristics:

Hardy:Little information available, though these have been grown in Northern climates for over a century.
Soil:Will tolerate a wide range of soil types. will tolerate some dampness, though prefers well drained soils.
Growth:Fast, up to 2m per year
Height:25m plus if left to grow.
Biomass:Reasonable firewood, can be coppiced, pollarded or logged.
Lumber:Grown commercially for pulpwood, particle board and lumber.
Flowering:Produce catkins similar to willow.

Those in the photo below were about three years in the ground. The Robusta at the front, perhaps a metre and a half, the Arbora at the back, three metres plus.

Hybrid Poplar 040524

My interest in hybrid poplar is as a companion crop to Eucalyptus, though they could easily be planted as monoculture.
I’m into biodiversity, and have a combination of mainly Eucalyptus and Paulownia with a few Hybrid Poplar.

I was given some sticks / twigs from a customer late on in 2019. I dipped them in root hormone powder and stuck the in peat based compost and left them on grow bag trays in the poly tuel. It worked and everyone of them produced a vigorous seedling.
These were Poplar Robusta, a very common hybrid poplar.

Another customer gave me a variety called Arbora and at the time, from memory summer 2019 I did quite a lot of research with mixed reviews. I can’t find any reference to this hybrid now, though I am still in contact with the customer and they have more than a few growing successfully in their small area.

Someone who bought some Eucalyptus Nitens from me didn’t rate Hybrid Poplar very highly as firewood, so perhaps this is the reason this particular variety wasn’t popular. As I say, my interest is as a companion crop, both for firewood, every wood has some merit for this purpose, though also as a wind break for which Poplars are particular effective.

I noticed after Storm Barra that the Eucalyptus that only had a little protection from the deciduous Willows suffered far less wind burn. So I will be planting a barrier of hybrid poplar around my mini forest 😉

I will sell both Hybrid Poplars:

  • Robusta
  • Arbora

Poplar trees are members of the Willow family.
Hybrid Poplars are crossed between North American Cottonwoods and Aspens. They are fast growing with very vigorous root systems, so shouldn’t be planted near buildings. During the early part of the 20th century they were planted in Southern England as windbreaks and I first saw them on a fruit farm I worked on in East Sussex.