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TREES & plants

Black poplar (Not recommended)

Due to susceptibility to cankers, black poplar is not recommended for planting anywhere in this region and usually require removal and/or replacement. Black poplar is difficult to find in the nursery trade due to its short-lived, weedy nature.

Botanical name: 
Populus nigra
All Common Names: 
black poplar
Family (English): 
Willow
Family (Botanic): 
Salicaceae
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
Foliage: 
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Size Range: 
  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)
Mature Height: 
70-90 feet
Mature Width: 
10-15 feet
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 3, 
  • Zone 4, 
  • Zone 5 (Chicago), 
  • Zone 6, 
  • Zone 7, 
  • Zone 8, 
  • Zone 9
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil, 
  • Wet soil
Acid Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Alkaline Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Salt Spray: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Soil Salt: 
  • Intolerant
Drought Conditions: 
  • Tolerant
Poor Drainage: 
  • Tolerant
Planting Considerations: 
  • Weak wood and branch structure
Ornamental Interest: 
  • Fall color, 
  • Attractive bark
Season of Interest: 
  • Early fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Inconspicuous
Shape or Form: 
  • Upright
Growth Rate: 
  • Fast
Transplants Well: 
  • Yes
Wildlife: 
  • Cavity-nesting birds, 
  • Game birds, 
  • Large mammals, 
  • Small mammals
More Information: 

Tree & Plant Care

Best growth is in moist sites, but the tree is able to tolerate some dryness.
Aggressive roots can cause damage to drainage systems.

Disease, pests, and problems

Use of this tree is limited by a serious canker disease.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Europe and northern Africa.

Bark color and texture 

Gray bark is roughly ridged an furrowed.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, alternate leaves are nearly triangular in outline; 2 to 4 inches long and wide.  Leaves are medium green, turning yellow in autumn.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Male and female flowers are on separate trees (dioecious).  Not ornamentally important.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Fruit occurs on female trees only.   Small capsules in hanging clusters.  The capsules open to release numerous seeds with fluff attached to them.

Populus nigra or Black poplar (Not recommended)