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Populus nigra subsp. betulifolia

Manchester poplar

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

Other common names
downy black poplar

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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
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Poorly–drained, Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green Red Green
Summer Green
Autumn Green
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

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

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

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
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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