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Hybrid PoplarPopulus deltoides x Populus nigra

  • Hybrid Poplar - Populus deltoides x Populus nigra
  • Hybrid Poplar - Populus deltoides x Populus nigra
  • Hybrid Poplar - Populus deltoides x Populus nigra
  • Hybrid Poplar - Populus deltoides x Populus nigra

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.

Hardiness Zones

The hybrid poplar can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 3–9. View Map

Tree Type

This is a shade tree, featuring a spreading canopy capable of blocking sunlight.

Mature Size

The hybrid poplar grows to a height of 40–50' and a spread of around 30' at maturity.

Growth Speed Fast Growth Rate

This tree grows at a fast rate, with height increases of more than 24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least 6 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The hybrid poplar grows in acidic, alkaline and wet soils.


This tree:
  • Grows at a very 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.

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.