Uses of Hybrid Poplar Cuttings
Hybrids are primarily desirable because of their rapid growth and ease of vegetative propagation from stem cuttings. On well-planted growth sites, hybrid poplars can grow faster than any other northern temperate region tree. The hybrid poplar wood is similar to that of native black cottonwood, and has a variety of uses from pulp production in paper plants to commercial landscaping.
Hybrids are usually more widely tolerant of environmental extremes than the parent trees. Commercial Uses
Buyers and prices for hybrid poplar chips are increasing as paper companies look for alternate sources to chip supply.
What is a Hybrid Poplar?
Poplar is the general term for trees in the genus Populus. They include cottonwoods (poplars) and aspens. Most species are native to the temperate and colder areas of the northern hemisphere. Hybrids are created when plants of different species (usually in the same genus) are cross fertilized. This can occur naturally in areas where two crossable species overlap. We develop hybrids through our plant breeding.
Hybrid poplar wood rivals black cottonwood, which is currently being exported for lumber. In addition, the hybrid poplar can be used as a pelletized fuel. Branches and tops left from pulp harvests and even small, young material can be converted to pellets for state-of the art pellet burning and thermostatically controlled home heaters. General commercial uses include:
- business property borders
- mulch and pulpwood production
- solid wood and plywood production
- fuel wood
- sludge disposal: Read related article
Residential and Ornamental Uses
Most hybrid poplar trees have a single stem and a moderately spreading crown when open grown. They also grow more rapidly and are less susceptible to some diseases than the Lombardy poplar, the most commonly planted ornamental poplar. Private uses include:
- view shielding for privacy
- fast shade growth
- snow fences
- fast-growing landscapes
Environmental and Phytoremediation Uses
Because of their nitrate uptake and deep rooting, hybrid poplars make good sense for buffer or "filter" planting along rivers and streams in agricultural areas, both in coastal and inland zones.
Poplars are being used to clean contaminated soil and ground water from wide range of contaminants including petroleum hydrocarbons, chlorinated solvents, metals, pesticides, explosives and excessive nutrients. Specific environmental uses of hybrid poplars are:
- topsoil erosion prevention
- waste water treatment
- river bank and stream restoration
- wildlife habitat
- riparian buffer strips