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Content Detail

Black poplar is not recommended for planting anywhere in this region, due to susceptibility to canker, which usually requires removal and/or replacement. Black poplar is difficult to find in the nursery trade due to its short-lived, weedy nature.

  • Family (English) Willow
  • Family (botanic) Salicaceae
  • Tree or plant type Tree
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Large tree (more than 40 feet)
  • Mature height 70-90 feet
  • Mature width 10-15 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil, Wet soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Clay soil, Dry sites, Occasional flooding, Wet sites
  • Season of interest early fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous
  • Shape or form Upright
  • Growth rate Fast
  • Transplants well Yes
  • Planting considerations Weak wood and branch structure
  • Wildlife Cavity-nesting birds, Game birds, Large mammals, Small mammals
  • Has cultivars Yes

Native geographic location and habitat:

Black poplar is native to Europe and northern Africa.

Bark color and texture:

The gray bark is roughly ridged and furrowed.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

The simple, alternate leaves are nearly triangular in outline. The leaves are 2 to 4 inches long and wide. Leaf color is medium green, changing to yellow in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Male and female flowers are on separate trees (dioecious). They are not ornamentally important.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Fruit occurs on female trees only and are small capsules in hanging clusters. The capsules open to release numerous seeds with fluff attached to them.

Plant care:

Black poplar is best grown in moist sites, but the tree is able to tolerate some dryness. It has aggressive roots that can cause damage to drainage systems.

List of pests and diseases:

The usefulness of this tree is limited by a serious canker disease.


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