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Black Poplar

Populus trichocarpa

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Black Poplar (Populus trichocarpa) at Roger's Gardens

Black Poplar

Black Poplar

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  80 feet

Spread:  40 feet

Sunlight:  full sun 

Hardiness Zone:  4a

Other Names:  Black Cottonwood


A large and fast growing shade tree with fragrant but very sticky leaf buds in spring, fragrant in fall as well; somewhat aggressive root system so don't plant too near a home; extremely tough and adaptable

Ornamental Features

Black Poplar is draped in stunning red catkins hanging below the branches in early spring before the leaves. It has dark green deciduous foliage. The fragrant heart-shaped leaves turn yellow in fall. However, the fruit can be messy in the landscape and may require occasional clean-up.

Landscape Attributes

Black Poplar is a deciduous tree with a shapely oval form. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other landscape plants with finer foliage.

This is a high maintenance tree that will require regular care and upkeep, and is best pruned in late winter once the threat of extreme cold has passed. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Messy
  • Invasive
  • Disease

Black Poplar is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Shade
  • Windbreaks and Shelterbelts

Planting & Growing

Black Poplar will grow to be about 80 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 40 feet. It has a high canopy of foliage that sits well above the ground, and should not be planted underneath power lines. As it matures, the lower branches of this tree can be strategically removed to create a high enough canopy to support unobstructed human traffic underneath. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 60 years or more.

This tree should only be grown in full sunlight. It is an amazingly adaptable plant, tolerating both dry conditions and even some standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This species is native to parts of North America.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Shade  Windbreak 
Ornamental Features