Although they have a limited place in small home gardens, poplars are among the most attractive and useful trees for large scale ornamental and commercial landscape work. They are hardy, quick growing trees with uniform symmetrical outlines and distinct foliage effects.
Columnar varieties make excellent avenues, screens and windbreaks, whilst the broader growing trees provide shade and shelter.
Development work in both breeding and grafting techniques has seen a range of non-suckering trees for almost any commercial landscape application.
P. alba bolleana Medium size tree, columnar in shape. Foliage is dark green with silver reverse, turning bright gold in autumn. Generally resistant to leaf rust. Silver poplars sucker freely and should only be planted where this is not going to cause problems.
P. candicans Balm of Gilead. A medium sized ornamental shade tree with broad green leaves. The swelling buds emit a strong and pleasant balsam fragrance in spring.
P. deltoides “Evergreen Hybrid”:- also known as “W.A. Hybrid”. A beautiful pyramidal shaped tree, with bright green medium sized heart shaped leaves. An excellent tree for windbreaks, screens and avenue planting. Semi-evergreen and generally rust resistant. Highly recommended. (Trees grafted onto non-suckering root stocks are available).
P. deltoids “Cottonwood”:- This recently introduced cottonwood grows quickly into a large, handsome, ornamental shade tree. The heart shaped leaves appear to be completely immune to leaf rust. (Trees grafted onto non-suckering root stocks are available).
P. nigra italica This well-known Lombardy poplar is the proven quick growing, tall avenue or windbreak tree. Distinctive both in and out of leaf, the golden foliage in autumn is spectacular. Commonly planted around orchards, vineyards and property boundaries, suckering has been a problem in some circumstances. To alleviate this problem we have developed a technique to compatibly graft this tree onto non-suckering root stock. Limited supplies of grafted trees are available this year, however we should be in a position to supply much larger quantities in 2000. Good supplies of non-grafted trees are held.
P. italica “Chile” This evergreen form of the Lombardy poplar has proven to be rapid growing, hardy, tolerant of heat and strong winds. Large numbers are used as shelter belts around Riverland orchards and vineyards. It is susceptible to leaf rust and is recommended for districts where this is not a problem. Grafted trees only available.
P. serotina aurea Golden poplar. One of the best known and most beautiful of the poplars. The medium size heart shaped leaves have a golden colour in spring and autumn. The tree is medium to large in size and narrowly pyramidal becoming broader as it matures. It tolerates hot conditions if adequate water is provided. Recommended for areas where leaf rust is not a problem.
P. simonii fastigiata Upright Simon poplar. A columnar to narrowly pyramidal non-suckering tree growing to some 10 metres high and 2-3 metres wide. An excellent tree for avenues, screens, driveways and windbreaks, which has proved hardy in nearly all districts. This is a particularly versatile and useful tree with a very short dormant period.
P. szechuanica tibetica This Chinese tree has been described as the most ornamental of all the poplars. It has very large heart shaped leaves with prominent red veins and leaf stalks. The young foliage is coloured in shades of copper and red. It makes a shapely medium sized tree, and although hardy, is best sheltered from strong winds.
P. x Tasman This new hybrid has come to us with an excellent reputation. It is a strong grower, upright in habit, and is one of the quickest windbreak providers. The green-gold foliage is beautiful in spring and changes to bright green in summer.
P. yunnanensis Yunnan Poplar. A beautiful medium to large shade tree. It is semi-evergreen in mild climates, is rust resistant and does not sucker. We have no hesitation in recommending this tree for larger properties.
P. x 65/31 Bryant and May. Another new hybrid of exceptional vigour having been bred primarily for timber production. It makes a tall, narrowly pyramidal tree and in commercial plantations has attained a height of 26 metres in 8 years. It is rust resistant, hardy and has shiny dark green foliage. A very good substitute for the Lombardy poplar in areas where rust may be a problem. Trees grafted onto non-suckering root stocks are available.
P. x 74/31 This is a handsome tree of great vigour, columnar to narrowly pyramidal with dense deep green foliage. It appears to be sucker free and the foliage immune to rust. We recommend it for large scale landscape work.
P. x euramericana “Veronese” & P. deltoides x yunnanensis “Kawa”:- Two new hybrids that have been bred in New Zealand as windbreak trees. Both are recommended by the larger Victorian growers, however our first hand experience is limited. P. Veronese appears to be the more vigorous of the two and more upright in habit.