If you are looking for a tree for shade, privacy or aesthetic appeal, the hybrid poplar is hard to beat. This fast-growing tree reaches a mature height of 30 feet or more in 12 to 15 years. On average, hybrid poplars grow six feet a year so you won’t have to wait long for even a moderate windbreak or privacy fence. Because this tree grows so fast, spacing is important to ensure that your trees will have enough room to spread out without leaving large gaps in between once mature.
Determine your planting site. You will want to check for buried power lines, septic systems or sewer pipes. The hybrid poplar has an invasive root system that will quickly take over the underground area.
Plant hybrid poplars at least 20 to 30 feet from sidewalks, patios and house foundations. The fast-growing root system can quickly crack and undermine these structures.
For a privacy fence, measure out your planting sites at a distance of 20 to 25 feet apart. When the trees reach maturity in 12 to 15 years they will have a canopy of approximately 30 feet. Planting at 20 feet apart will give you a good thick cover without overcrowding.
If you are creating a windbreak, bring the planting sites closer together. A 12- to 15-foot distance between trees will create a tight canopy to slow the force of the wind.