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Populus alba

white poplar

P. alba is a spreading, deciduous tree with a broad crown, suckering freely. Rounded leaves are deeply-lobed, dark green on top and white and downy underneath. Young shoots and leaves are completely white and hairy; yellow autumn colour. In spring, male catkins are red and female, green

Other common names
abbey
abele
see moreDutch beech
silver-leaved poplar
white asp

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Size
Ultimate height
Higher than 12 metres
Time to ultimate height
20–50 years
Ultimate spread
Wider than 8 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Poorly–drained, Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Grey Silver Green White
Summer Green White
Autumn Yellow
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

South–facing or North–facing or West–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H6
Botanical details
Family
Salicaceae
Native to the UK
Yes
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Spreading branched
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

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Europe to C Asia

How to grow

Cultivation

Cultivated for their very rapid growth as specimen trees and useful for windbreaks. Tolerant of any soil other than constantly waterlogged soils. Avoid growing within 40m of buildings as the vigorous root systems may damage drains and foundations, particularly on clay soils. It 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
  • Wildlife gardens
  • Low Maintenance
  • Hedging and screens
Pruning

Pruning group 1 in late summer to avoid bleeding from pruning cuts but 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 leaf spots, poplar bacterial canker, honey fungus and tree rusts

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