Updated 18 Nov 2012


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Over the years we watched 3 poplars grow from our kitchen window. Perhaps they were planted in the early 1970s, when there were no houses or school along that part of Lancaster Drive, Broadstone. Supposed by the Council to be Grey poplar (Populus canescens), the trees have many features typical of Black Poplar (Populus nigra), see black/grey. The male came into leaf 10 days before the 2 females. In 2007 we took cuttings which grew and we planted 15 in Bear Mead plantation and 15 more along the Stour there. In 2012 notices of pending removal of the "Big Pops" appeared. They were getting just too big for their position, looming over garden fences and threatening garden sheds. In November tree surgeons called Upton arrived and did the dangerous job branch by branch. Meantime, 20 of their offspring are growing well in Bear Mead Nature Reserve.

Poplars grow too big

0818. Male in leaf 06may2008
0853. All in leaf 17may2008

15 cuttings by the river

0425. By seat #2 03dec2007
0426. By seat #3 03dec2007
0427. By seat #4 03dec2007

10 cuttings survive 5 years

3338. Three surviving by seat #2, 14nov2012
3339. Four surviving by seat #3, 14nov2012
3340. Three surviving by seat #4, 14nov2012

Death sentence

3108. Removal notice 24apr2012

Black or Grey?

Mrs Webmaster writes:
According to my tree-books, I still think the 3 poplars are Black Poplar or a hybrid of that species. Why?

  1. Bark is grey-brown and fissured, whereas on the Grey Poplar it is black at lower end and upper is white-ish with black lines.
  2. Leaves turn banana yellow in autumn and are longer than they are broad, with translucent margins and small regular teeth. The stalk is flattened. On the Grey Poplar the leaves are thick and very variable in shape. Felted hairs on the underside of the leaf show white when disturbed by the wind. The leaf stalk is slightly flattened.
  3. Crown is spreading, forms a large dome and grows to 30 metres (100 ft), whereas on the Grey Poplar has an open crown and grows to 23 metres (75 ft).
  4. Tree in winter - on Grey Poplar the branches look similar to the Quercus robur (English Oak) from a distance.
  5. Twigs - on Black Poplar are smooth, whereas on Grey Poplar they have a nobbly appearance.
    Rosie Palmer
P.nigra (rough bark & burrs).
3343. Our tree (rough bark).
P.Canescens (smooth bark).

Cut down big poplars

3326. Fasten safety rope at top of tree
3331. Ground crew cuts up fallen branches
3333. The lorry which turns offcuts into chips

Need to climb

3327. climb up tree...
3328. fasten on ropes...
3329. fasten side branch...
3330. cut off side branch...
3332. lower down side branch...

Bigger than they look

3334. its a big tree
3335. more....
3336. still more...

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