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Black Poplar

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Black Poplar
Populus nigra betulifolia

Populus nigra betulifolia is a large spreading deciduous broad-leaved tree native to the UK and Europe. Mature trees can reach heights of 30m and they can live for up to 200 years. It grows best in boggy/wet conditions in flood plains and along ditches.

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Description
Black Poplar is typically a broad rounded tree in the Salicaceae family. It is in decline and, according to the Forestry Commission, has become the UK’s rarest native timber tree. Naturalised trees are most often found growing in Shropshire, Cheshire, Somerset and East Anglia, and is known in Northern England as the Manchester Poplar. The bark is dark brown but can be seen as black, and develops lots of fissures and burrs as the tree ages.


Our Black Poplar is a mix of female and male plants.


Planting Position
Grows best in moist heavy soils, ideally in flood plains and rivers beds. Likes full or partial shade and is tolerant of chalky soils. It copes well with pollution, so is sometimes planted in cities.


Size
Growth Rate: Fast
Final Height: 25-30m
Final Spread: 5-10m


Foliage and Flowers
The leaves are green, shiny and triangular to diamond-shaped with a mild scent of balsam. Male and female flowers (catkins) are found on separate trees; the males are pendulous and reddish, females are greenish yellow.


Plant Interest
Black Poplar is attractive to wildlife with the catkins providing and early source of pollen and nectar. It also provides a source of food for many different moth caterpillars, including the hornet, wood leopard, poplar hawk and figure of eighty.


Landscape Use
Black Poplar is very rare in the wild in the UK, so this species is found usually growing in isolation in woodlands.It is widely planted for shelter and timber.


Uses
Black Poplar timber is soft, white and resistant to shock, therefore makes good floorboards, carts and is also used for turning. Today it is used to make artificial limbs, toys, shelving and pallets.

Planting may be carried out at any time between early-November and mid-May.

Planting Willow and Poplar Setts / Cuttings

The cuttings are quick and easy to plant. They are provided with a slanted cut at the base and a straight cut at the top to make insertion into the ground easier and distinguish top from bottom. They can simply be pushed into loose cultivated soil and firmed in. They will need no support. In firmer soils simply make a vertical slit with a spade and push the cutting to the bottom of the slit and firm well by treading. Alternatively a narrow hole may be made with a bar or spike and the cutting pushed to the bottom and firmed well. A mole-plough or subsoil blade may be pulled through the ground in rows and the cuttings simply pushed into the loosened soil slit and firmed in by foot.

The smallest one foot long (30 cm) cuttings must be planted so that only 2 inches (5 cm) is showing above ground. This makes them vulnerable to being smothered by weeds and grass before they get away, and so they are only suited to situations where they will receive a high standard of care in the early days. The two foot long cuttings (60 cm) are planted so that half is in the soil as in the photo below. This means that the new growth starts above weed and grass height. Being larger they also contain greater reserves of energy and grow away faster. In most situations the 2 foot long (60 cm) cuttings are the best option and will produce a tree, if looked after, of 6 - 8ft high in the first growing season .

 

Planting Bare Root Whips and Hedging

Bare root plants can planted by notch or pit planting methods. For more information, please download this helpsheet.

Planting bare root whips and hedging help sheet

 

The decision on whether to plant rooted trees and/or which size of cuttings will depend on:

      - How easy a job you want planting to be

      - How well you will look after your trees 

      - Your soil type and site

      - How quickly you need results

 

All sizes of cutting root equally well.

The smallest one foot long (30 cm) cuttings must be planted so that only 2 inches (5 cm) is showing above ground. This makes them vulnerable to being smothered by weeds and grass before they get away, and so they are only suited to situations where they will receive a high standard of care in the early days. The two foot long cuttings (60 cm) are planted so that half is in the soil. This means that the new growth starts above weed and grass height. Being larger they also contain greater reserves of energy and grow away faster. 

In most situations the 2 foot long (60 cm) cuttings are the best option and will produce a tree, if looked after, of 6 - 8ft high in the first growing season.

On dry sites such as sands and gravels, or on banks, we would suggest that you plant a longer cutting and insert a larger proportion into the soil. Both the hybrid willows and poplars have the ability to make roots from any part of the stem and so, if planted deeply, will produce deep roots, which will always find moisture. 

The rooted trees and longer cuttings will cope better with difficult conditions and weed or grass competition to give instantly visible results.

Further information on rooted or unrooted plants can be found here.

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Delivery

Our bare root plants and cuttings are delivered between November and May (specific dates cannot be guaranteed) but we do encourage early planting for the best results.

Most orders are dispatched within 3-5 working days where stocks are available. If they are not available at the time of order you will be notified and an alternative delivery date discussed with you.We ship to mainland UK and the Isle of Wight (although surcharges may be incurred in some more remote areas). Our orders are generally sent out using a national courier but for local deliveries, we may use our own couriers. Orders can also be collected from the nursery by prior appointment and we are more than happy for you to do this if you prefer.

Our standard delivery charge is £15 plus VAT. This is for a next day delivery service in areas where this is available (i.e. mainland UK). For areas outside mainland UK, such as northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Channel Islands, Scottish islands and mainland Europe, we can often offer delivery but will need to confirm the costs of these with you, so please call us to discuss on 01404 811229.  

There's usually no need to wait in for a standard delivery, our couriers will leave it in a safe place for you. If there is somewhere in particular you would like it left, please let us know at the time of ordering. For taller plants or a larger volume (particularly root ball trees), a pallet may be required. We will let you know at the time of your order as this will usually incur an additional fee. 

On arrival you should try to plant as soon as possible but, if the weather makes this impossible, cuttings will remain viable somewhere cold for 4 weeks. A cold shed or outside is fine but if the weather turns warm then put them into a fridge if possible. If you are unable to plant the rooted trees within ten days of arrival then we suggest that you unpack the bale and cover the roots with soil in a shallow trench to keep them moist.

It is important to look after your trees as they mature so now click on After-Planting Care for some useful guide-lines.