White poplars have invasive traits that enable them to spread aggressively. While these trees have demonstrated invasive traits, there is insufficient supporting research to declare them so pervasive that they cannot be recommended for any planting sites. Review of risks should be undertaken before selecting these trees for planting sites. White poplar is a large, fast-growing, relatively short-lived tree for parks, golf courses and other large landscapes. Often found growing in open, moist sites along waterways. Distinctive five-lobed, dark green leaves have a white undersurface. The mature bark is gray to white with distinguishing dark diamond shape blotches. Brittle wood is prone to storm damage.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Large tree (more than 40 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Zone 3,
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8
- Moist, well-drained soil,
- Wet soil
- Wet sites,
- Occasional flooding,
- Alkaline soil,
- Clay soil,
- Road salt
- Moderately Tolerant
- Moderately Tolerant
- Excessive sucker growth,
- Messy fruit/plant parts,
- Weak wood and branch structure
- Attractive bark
Season of Interest:
- Early winter,
- Mid winter,
- Late winter
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
- Nesting birds,
- Small mammals
Tree & Plant Care
This can be a high maintenance tree due to weak wood and suckering.
Disease, pests, and problems
Common problems include cankers, galls, leaf spots, powdery mildew, aphids, borers and scale insects.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to Europe and Asia.
Bark color and texture
Young bark is gray-green to white and marked with small dark patches. Older bark becomes ridged and furrowed with the ridges turning black.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
The simple, alternate leaves are dark green above and white below due to a thick coating of hairs. Each leaf has three to five lobes.
Fall color is poor with the leaves often falling green or turning yellow-green.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Male and female flowers are on separate trees (dioecious). Flowers are fairly inconspicuous.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Fruit are small capsules hanging in a long cluster.