• AGM plants

    AGM plants have been through a rigorous trial and assessment programme. They are:

    • Excellent for ordinary use in appropriate conditions
    • Available to buy
    • Of good constitution
    • Essentially stable in form & colour
    • Reasonably resistant to pests & diseases

Populus nigra subsp. betulifolia

Manchester poplar

Manchester poplar

© RHS

  • Other common names Manchester poplar
    downy black poplar

  • Family Salicaceae

  • Genus Populus are deciduous trees, mostly very fast-growing and large, with male and female catkins on separate trees, opening before the leaves. Male catkins are the more ornamental, female ones can be a nuisance from the cottony, wind-blown seeds

  • Details P. nigra subsp. betulifolia is a bushy deciduous tree to 30m tall, with rough, dark grey bark, downy young shoots, triangular to ovate leaves 10cm long, and red male or green female catkins in early spring

  • Plant range Europe

Characteristics

  • Foliage Deciduous

  • Habit Bushy

  • Hardiness

    Hardiness ratings

    All ratings refer to the UK growing conditions unless otherwise stated. Minimum temperature ranges (in degrees C) are shown in brackets

    • H1a - Under glass all year (>15C)
    • H1b - Can be grown outside in the summer (10 - 15)
    • H1c - Can be grown outside in the summer (5 - 10)
    • H2 - Tolerant of low temperatures, but not surviving being frozen (1 to 5)
    • H3 - Hardy in coastal and relatively mild parts of the UK (-5 to 1)
    • H4 - Hardy through most of the UK (-10 to -5)
    • H5 - Hardy in most places throughout the UK even in severe winters (-15 to -10)
    • H6 - Hardy in all of UK and northern Europe (-20 to -15)
    • H7 - Hardy in the severest European continental climates (< -20)

    H6

Colour

Sunlight

  • Full Sun

  • Aspect South-facing or North-facing or West-facing or East-facing

  • Exposure Exposed or Sheltered

Soil

  • Clay

    Clay

  • Chalk

    Chalk

  • Loam

    Loam

  • MoistureMoist but well-drained, Poorly-drained, Well-drained

  • SoilClay, Chalk, Loam

  • pHAcid, Alkaline, Neutral

Size

  • Ultimate height Higher than 12 metres

  • Ultimate spread wider than 8 metres

  • Time to ultimate height 20-50 years

How to grow

Cultivation Cultivated for very rapid growth as specimen tree; useful for windbreaks. Tolerant of any soil other than constantly waterlogged soils. Avoid growing within 40m of buildings as the vigorous root system may damage drains and foundations, particularly on clay soils; has the potential to become a nuisance

Propagation Propagate from hardwood cuttings in winter or suckers in autumn or late winter

Suggested planting locations and garden types Coastal

How to care

Pruning Pruning group 1 in summer to avoid bleeding from pruning cuts. Established trees need little pruning; sucker removal in autumn or winter

Pests Leaves may be eaten by leaf beetles, sawflies and caterpillars

Diseases Susceptible to poplar bacterial canker and tree rusts, plus honey fungus and silver leaf

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