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How Fast Do Poplar Trees Grow?

By Jorden Kolpin ; Updated September 21, 2017
Poplars tend to have similar leaf shapes.
hoja y carbón image by Marco Antonio Fdez. from Fotolia.com

Poplar is a tree name that refers to a group of trees including cottonwood, quaking aspen, Lombardy poplar and white poplar. Poplars are known for their fast growth rate, and their ability to adapt to a wide range of growing conditions.


Large quantities of seeds or
poplar image by Omely from Fotolia.com

Poplars are fast-growing trees, with some averaging 3 to 6 feet of growth in one season. The cottonwood is the largest in the poplar group, maturing at around 100 feet tall. Lombardy poplars and quaking aspens are popular for use as a fast growing windbreak or natural screen. Some poplars are able to colonize large areas through proliferate seed drop and their ability to sprout new trees from their roots.


Ice storms can cause poplars to lose branches and limbs.
Ice Storm image by Candi from Fotolia.com

Trees that have fast growth rates tend to have weak wood and be short-lived. They are often considered a nuisance and hazard because of their tendency to lose branches and limbs in storms and high winds. They are prone to developing branch cankers, which can kill off branches throughout the tree, making it unsightly and hazardous.


Near water is the natural setting for poplars.
boats and poplar image by Aleksandar Jovanovic from Fotolia.com

Poplars are suited for some situations, but are not highly recommended for the urban landscape. Poplars are an excellent choice for natural areas and near water where their spread and mess are not a nuisance.


About the Author


Jorden Kolpin has been writing about horticulture and plant pathology since 2006. She has been published on Iowa State University's Horticulture and Home Pest News website. She earned a Bachelor of Science in environmental horticulture from Iowa State University and is continuing to study plant pathology and mycology, the study of mushrooms.