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Hybrid Poplar

Populus deltoides x Populus nigra

Hardiness Zones: 3 - 9   View Map
  • Grows at a rapid rate, as much as 5–8' per year
  • Is a cottonless hybrid
  • Features triangular leaves that are 3–6" long and 4–5" wide with slightly rounded teeth around the margin; the leaves are dark to silvery green on top with paler undersides
  • Can be grown for a number of uses including firewood, chemical runoff filtration, windbreak protection (while slower-growing species mature), paper, and fuel
  • Grows in an oval shape
  • Has a relatively short lifespan
  • Is prone to limb breakage and is therefore not recommended for planting next to play areas, patios, sidewalks or anywhere else damage may be caused

Tree Details



Growth Speed


Scientific Name

Populus deltoides x Populus nigra

Mature Height

40' - 50'

Shipping Height

3' - 4'


Hybrid poplars are the thoroughbreds of the tree world. Their claim to fame is speed, with vertical growth of 5–8' per year not being uncommon. This cottonless hybrid can be harvested for firewood in five to seven years, making it a sustainable source. It also works well for visual screens and hillside or sand dune stabilization. While nice for quick shade, the hybrid poplar should only be planted in landscape where occasional limb breakage is not a problem.

Sun Preference

Full Sun

Soil Preference

Acidic, Alkaline, Wet

Wildlife Value

Hybrid poplar bark, twigs and leaves are eaten by rodents, rabbits, deer, beavers and porcupines. It provides forage for browsing wildlife such as white-tailed and mule deer up through the sapling stage. It also provides important nesting and roosting habitat for various species of birds.


There are many crosses that go by the name “hybrid poplar,” but this one between eastern cottonwood from the United States and black poplar from Europe and North Africa has been a favorite for a very long time. Botanists and hobbyists in colonial times are said to have exchanged the parent trees across the ocean, with both natural and artificial hybrids soon resulting. The oldest account of the tree was given by a scientist in 1785.

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