An extract of the shoots can be used as a rooting hormone for all types of cuttings. It is extracted by soaking the chopped up shoots in cold water for a day.
Various dyes can be obtained from the leaf buds in the spring – green, white, yellow, purple and red have been mentioned.
Trees are planted for dune fixing in erosion control programmes[149, 227]. They are also good pioneer species, growing quickly to provide a good habitat for other woodland trees and eventually being out-competed by those trees.
A fairly wind resistant tree, it can be grown as part of a shelterbelt planting[200, 269]. Another report says that it is easily storm-damaged.
The wood has been used as a bio-mass for producing methanol, which can be used to power internal combustion engines. Annual yields of 7 tonnes of oven-dry material per year have been achieved.
Wood – weak, soft, rather woolly in texture, without smell or taste, of low flammability, not durable, very resistant to abrasion but warps and shrinks badly[11, 149, 171, 227]. It weighs 24lb per cubic foot. The wood takes paint well, is easy to glue and nail. It is used principally for lumber, pulp, crates, veneer etc[11, 149, 171].
Seed – must be sown as soon as it is ripe in spring. Poplar seed has an extremely short period of viability and needs to be sown within a few days of ripening. Surface sow or just lightly cover the seed in trays in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the old frame. If sufficient growth is made, it might be possible to plant them out in late summer into their permanent positions, otherwise keep them in the cold frame until the following late spring and then plant them out. Most poplar species hybridize freely with each other, so the seed may not come true unless it is collected from the wild in areas with no other poplar species growing.
Cuttings of mature wood of the current season’s growth, 20 – 40cm long, November/December in a sheltered outdoor bed or direct into their permanent positions. Very easy.
Suckers in early spring.
An easily grown plant, it does well in a heavy cold damp soil[1, 269] but thrives best on moist well-drained, fine sandy loams or silts close to streams. Prefers a deep rich well-drained circumneutral soil, growing best in the south and east of Britain[11, 200]. Growth is much less on wet soils, on poor acid soils and on thin dry soils. It does not do well in exposed upland sites. It dislikes shade and is intolerant of root or branch competition. Tolerates both hot and cool summers. Fairly wind-tolerant. The tree is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation in the range of 60 to 150cm, an annual temperature in the range of 8 to 14¡C, and a pH of 4.5 to 8.
A fast-growing but short-lived tree[227, 229, 274]. It can make new shoots up to 1.5 metres long each year and is often planted for timber in Europe. It does have drawbacks, though, since it is easily storm-damaged, is easily damaged by fire when young and is much attacked by fungi.
Like the quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) the leaves of this species rustle even in light breezes.
The trees can be coppiced, sprouting freely from the base of the trunk and the roots if they are cut down.
Poplars have very extensive and aggressive root systems that can invade and damage drainage systems. Especially when grown on clay soils, they should not be planted within 12 metres of buildings since the root system can damage the building’s foundations by drying out the soil.
Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus.