Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: White Poplar, Silver-leaved Poplar, Silver Poplar
Populus alba

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Family: Salicaceae (sal-i-KAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Populus (POP-yoo-lus) (Info)
Species: alba (AL-ba) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

2 members have or want this plant for trade.

Category:
Trees

Height:
over 40 ft. (12 m)

Spacing:
over 40 ft. (12 m)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Danger:
Pollen may cause allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring

Foliage:
Deciduous
Silver/Gray
Blue-Green

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
From semi-hardwood cuttings
By simple layering

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By activex
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By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #2 of Populus alba by Jeff_Beck

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There are a total of 9 photos.
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Profile:

2 positives
3 neutrals
4 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Negative coriaceous On Feb 21, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Connecticut has banned the trade, transport, or planting of this species due to its invasiveness. It's a threat to natural areas and a species of concern to organizations dealing with the environment over most of North America.

Negative Malus2006 On Oct 21, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

There is not many here in the Twin Cities - one interesting observation I have notice is that they either mostly or all are found only in certain surburbs that are build at a certain time - about 1970 to maybe early 1980 and that this tree may be planted by the builder or come from certain local nurseries? After that, no more trees were planted - one obvious reason is their short liveness - the trees are starting to die out around here at about the age of 20 to 30 - rather short for a big tree species - even cottonwood live longer than that.

They can be mistook by the average non gardening people for birch species as they have mostly white bark that look like paper birch but have very rough dark brown, nearly black bark at the base of the tree.

Alan Mitchell, the author of Trees of North America said that Gray Poplar, a hybrid between this tree and european aspen is easily mistook for this species and is much more common from South Carolina to Arkansas and in certain areas in the the West - mainly Colorado to Montana. He also says that Gray Poplar is much more vigorous than White Poplar.

I have never seen White Poplar seed itself in the wild and one website admit that seed germinate rate is low in North America and its suckers are more like any other relative of the cottonwood family - shade hater - any silver tree I see in the wild tend to be Russian Olive in Minnesota so from the authorities, White Poplar when it escapes tend to be woodland edge or open areas when they escape to the wild.

MissFablous, next time use more specific information instead of being vague - clearly you don't do enough research on White Poplar. It is banned in Conn as potential invasive and two other authorities, one in Wisc and another for the general South East US recommends the same.

To me, White Poplar is more like localized invasive - when they are planted too close to wild areas they can get out of hand and colonize areas where sun are plentiful but they are heavily dependent on root suckering (also called vegetative propagation) and thus restricted only to that particular patch of wild area. Russian Olive is more aggressive by compare to White Poplar but less so than Buckthorn and Tatarian Honeysucker which is transplanted by birds and carried far from the orginial parent tree.

I won't suggest this tree for Eastern US planting - too short life span - there's better alternatives like Amur Cherry, White bark pine, monarch birch, aspen (If you are willing to control their suckering habits - same as White Poplar) and many others thought it is hard to think of a native white bark tree other than the birch and aspen family which is also short living too (the two white birch species tend to average about 15 years from my observations but I have seen those that might are 30 years old or longer but they are in small numbers) and if you really want white poplar you have to be responsible for it - give it a bit of attention every year and use preventive methods like mowing, burning to make sure it doesn't spread.

For the drier Great Plains, - I would prefer using the native Black Cottonwood as a priority planting but sadly there are not much other native trees that are cheap or such drought tolerance (Burr oak may be a suggestion but they are so hard to transplant due to their long taproot that resent disturbation thus their rarity) so plant white poplar with some degree of caution.

Positive kenjae7277 On Aug 20, 2008, kenjae7277 from Norfolk, VA wrote:

We "rescued" 7 sprouts and replanted them on our property in Clarksville, Virginia. The fast growth and the sparkling leaves have all the neighbors asking what it is. As for the sprouts that pop up here and there, we mow them and, as they get older, less and less of these sprouts appear.

We're in very heavy clay (we're talking just this side of cement), which could explain the lack of an invasion; However, I've not offered them to neighbors nor exchanged them for anything since reading the opinions and observations. We have one at our Norfolk home as well (sandy/loam) which, in 15 years, has behaved itself and is now over 30 feet in height. We have not suffered any breakage from it (Hurricane Isabel) or invasive behaviour...maybe we're just lucky with these trees.
We like them so much that we named our home in Clarksville, "SilverLeaf Estate".

Negative MissFabulous On May 13, 2008, MissFabulous from Dunkirk, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is on MANY state's invasives list, and having it invading my woodlands, I can attest to this. It will quickly take over an area forcing other native species out, and it's growing habits aren't upright - it leans, so they fall down quickly, taking other trees with it like bowling pins. They're taking over woodlands by outcompeting native species and slower growing hardwoods and reproduce in incredible numbers annually. If you have this, kill it! Don't plant or sell or trade this please!

Negative bigcityal On Aug 18, 2007, bigcityal from Menasha, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:

Not a tree I would plant , that's for sure. Not overly attractive looking at larger sizes, can sucker a lot, and because of tall growth can have wind damage.
Not sure if on the invasive list here - a nonnative species.

Neutral frostweed On Dec 27, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

White Poplar, Silver-leaved Poplar, Silver Poplar Populus alba is naturalized in Texas and other States and is considered an invasive plant in Texas.

Positive lkz5ia On Nov 19, 2006, lkz5ia from Denison, IA (Zone 5b) wrote:

First white poplar was planted out in 1999 on our farm. This tree was dug up as a root sprout from a two-trunked tree in a residential area. I had tried on previous attempts to get a root sprout to grow, but one finally did grow. They are very fast growing trees, 3+ ft a year. Root sprouts were coming up 25ft away after 5 years. They are easy to start from stem cuttings, but the percentage that takes isn't as high as willow. But the advantage white poplar has over willow is in its drought resistance. Of the plants I have started from cuttings, white poplar is the most resistant to dry conditions. On a windy day, this tree can't be beat, casting its white undersides of its leaves for all to see.

Neutral melody On Jul 7, 2004, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

Very beautiful trees, but if you want a perfect lawn, they are not for you. Characteristic of all poplars, young trees shoot up everywhere from the shallow root system. In a short time there will be hundreds of small 'treelets' growing everywhere. They will mow over with the lawnmower, but the seem to return in abundance. The root suckers are impossible to get rid of.

This is a European introduction that has naturalized here in North America.

These trees can get quite large, there were two at my parents home that were over 60 feet tall and about 3 feet in diameter.

Neutral mystic On Sep 2, 2001, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is silvery-white,deciduous tree which can grow up to 75 feet.Young twigs and shoots are white.The leaves are silvery-white-wooly underneath and bluish green on the top. The leaves are 2-4 inches long with 3 or 5 distinct lobes. Male and female yellow flowers are in separate hanging catkins that appear in spring before the leaves come out. Leaves sometimes turn yellow or gold in fall.Branches are susceptible to breaking in storms or under heavy snow.They are tolerant of all but constantly water-logged soils. White poplar is more drought tolerant than other poplars.

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

,
Frazier Park, California
Denison, Iowa
Benton, Kentucky
Dunmor, Kentucky
Mc Dowell, Kentucky
Hibbing, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Colebrook, New Hampshire
Mill Spring, North Carolina
Aledo, Texas
Midland, Texas
Clarksville, Virginia
Norfolk, Virginia
Menasha, Wisconsin



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