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How to Prune Hybrid Poplar Trees

By Kelly Shetsky ; Updated September 21, 2017

Hybrid poplar trees are deciduous trees that are fast-growing and live a long life. They gain up to 10 feet in height annually and they live for more than 40 years. Some get to be more than 100 feet high, with a 40-foot diameter. Hybrid poplar grow in most of the United States and do best in more fertile soils. However, they can still grow in poor soils. Pruning hybrid poplar trees will improve their shape and health.

Use wintertime as a chance to prune the tree because new sprouts haven't surfaced yet. In addition, the structure is easier to see without the leaves and diseases are dormant.

Prune the hybrid poplar at the end of the second or third growing season in order to correct the shape of it. Make sure there is only one vertical branch. Use the clippers to remove any competing branches.

Target dead or diseased branches by clipping them where they meet healthy branches. Place the cut at the V-shaped joint. Do so with any limbs that are cracked or showing weakness.

Use a pruning saw or chainsaw as opposed to clipping shears when pruning thicker branches. The saws will cut the branches with ease.

Identify branches that are too low or facing downward. The goal is to have branches face the sky because this will enable sunlight to nourish the tree. Cut off all branches that are facing the ground.


Things You Will Need

  • Clipping shears
  • Gloves
  • Ladder
  • Pruning saw or chainsaw


  • Have someone help you if you're attempting to remove large limbs. They will be heavy.

About the Author


Based in New York State, Kelly Shetsky started writing in 1999. She is a broadcast journalist-turned Director of Marketing and Public Relations and has experience researching, writing, producing and reporting. She writes for several websites, specializing in gardening, medical, health and fitness, entertainment and travel. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.