If you are looking for a tree that offers shade and beauty quickly, consider the hybrid poplar tree. One of the fastest-growing trees you can grow, and known to grow 6 to 8 feet per year, the hybrid poplar will eventually reach 40 to 50 feet in height with a 30-foot spread. The hybrid poplar tree is hardy to USDA zones 3 through 9. Plant your tree six weeks prior to the first frost, in an area that receives full sun.
Remove all weeds and turf from within a 3-foot radius of the planting site. Hand-pull the weeds or use a hoe to dig them up. Keep this area free of all vegetation as the tree becomes established.
Til the planting site until the soil is loosened to a depth of 12 inches. Add a 3-inch layer of sand and til it to a depth of 8 inches.
Dig a hole twice the depth and three times the width of the hybrid poplar’s rootball. Place the roots on the bottom of the hole and pour a shovel-full of soil over them. Use your fingers to gently work the soil around and between the roots.
Backfill the hole, halfway, with soil. Fill the hole with water, allow it to drain and finish filling the hole with soil. Use your feet to lightly pack the soil around the base of the hybrid poplar to remove any air pockets that may remain.
Water the hybrid poplar until the water puddles at the base of the tree.
Place a 3-inch layer of mulch, 2 inches away from the hybrid poplar, but completely surrounding it. Spread the mulch over the weed-free area. Mulch will help insulate the roots from temperature extremes and also discourage weed growth.