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Neil Bertrando
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Reno, Nevada, United States
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Cold Arid

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hybrid poplar info

Posted by Neil Bertrando over 7 years ago

quick description of my experience using these trees and some links to references

in response to a query from a collegue:

here's a little on what I have,  will be great to talk with you sometime soon.  I can relay some more anecdotes then.

Where I am, my trials have used all columnar varieties to fit them into spacings for time stacking and initial wind protection then the first rotation of fuelwood production.

species/varieties used
simon hybrid
thevestina hybrid Populus nigra x
white columnar Populus alba not sure if it's a hybrid
Lombardi Populus nigra

I've only purchased from
Lawyer Nursery http://lawyernursery.com/
Nevada Division of Forestry Nursery Washoe Lake http://forestry.nv.gov/ndf-state-forest-nurseries/washoe-state-tree-nursery/

I've been happy with the quality of both nurseries and buy trees from both annually

the only one's I have not been happy with are the Populus alba.  which haven't grown much in two years.  I have seen them thrive in Reno, so perhaps it is my sandy soil type?

for the rest, I am happy

my treatment is generally

  • Purchase bundle of medium sized trees my preferred sizes are 1.5-2' 2-3' which I think are both large enough to establish quickly and tolerate a some hardship while being cheap at wholesale quantities and plant
  • 2 gph emitter @ ~1-1.5 hrs irrigation/week = 2-3 gal/week during growing season = ~35-60 gal/year/tree
  • bare root planting when possible
  • 1-2 handfuls of good compost per hole
  • top dress of mulch ~1-2" deep ~1.5' dia ring underseeded with support sp.
  • trunk protection from rabbits, sun (14" tall 3.5" wide boxes)
  • planted on 5-7.5' centers as part of multispecies, multi row windbreaks

I expect loss when planting trees here and mark 70-80% survival as success on irrigated plots (would love to improve this through strategy and technique)

using this criteria, I consider my plantings of all but the white columnar as successes in both my sandy soils and the silty clay river terrace soils at Nate's parents place.

not including the ones that die, we usually see

  • year 1 1-2' of growth = 3-5' tall
  • year 2 3-4' of growth = 6-9' tall
  • year 3 4-6' of growth = 10-15' tall

that is as far as we have data. some exceptional ones have reached 20' in three years after planting.

we have also seen this response in some black locust trees with 1/2 the water use, so perhaps that is the way to go.  I for one, prefer diversity at this point but am not running a commercial operation.

re refs, some quick searches got me these
best one for my area ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/ID/programs/technotes/hybrid_poplar.pdf
a good one for heating value and $ calcs

Comments (1)

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Byron Joel
Byron Joel : Thanks for this info Neil. Im a big Salicaceae fan. Check out these guys in New Zealand...

Posted over 7 years ago

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