A Letter from a Customer
From Jim Hatley, Pullman, Wa.
We started our Hybrid Poplar plantation in May of 1996 on 10 acres of flat poorly drained bottom land. Weeds could not be cultivated out before early June due to the wet conditions of the ground. In talking with Willard Mears of the Segal Ranch at Grandview, Washington, we decided to try several different clones to see what worked on this type of land and with our type of weather conditions.
Over the years we have tried many different clones, cutting lengths and size. Willard has suggested using large cuttings and plant deeper to retain moisture levels. To achieve this goal, we mounted a 5 foot long hydraulic cylinder on the side of a wheel-tractor. This allows us to plant up to 4 feet deep. The water table drops below short cuttings by late June, leaving the roots to dry out and die. But by planting them down 4 feet, they survive the drop in the water table and continue to grow through the summer.
The Segal Ranch has been very helpful with ideas and different clones to work with. To date, we have used 16 different clones with various results. The one I would recommend to anyone planting in a late frost area on dry land that tends to loose moisture by midseason, would be the OP-367. Out of all the clones the OP-367 is the best for winter hardiness and less prone to several diseases, that have shown up in the other clones. Our oldest OP-367 trees are 10 to 12 inches in diameter at the base and run to 60 feet high.
The following is a list of all the clones we have tried: OP-367, R270, R247, 58-280, 180-372, Simplot, 15-29, 55-260, 15-21, 50-194, 49-177, 50-197, 50-184, 50-182, 52-225.
I am positive that they can find a clone that will meet your specific location and climate. I would recommend to people interested in growing Poplars to Contact Willard Mears at the Segal Ranch and take advantage of his many years of experience and knowledge in the growing of Poplars under many different conditions. His recommendations to use cuttings from 1 inch to 2 inch in diameter and 4 feet long has proved out very well for me.
Article: Environmental Applications
From an article in the Journal of Forestry, June 2002. With permisson.
The economic impact of Hybrid Poplar culture extends well beyond commodity production to its role in pollution abatement projects. Poplar stands have proved highly effective in removing nutrients from effluent when irragated with municipal and industrial wastewater and nutrient removal from farm runoff. (O'Neill and Gordon 1994; Schultz et al 1995; US Enviromental Protection Agency 1999). Hybrids are well suited to each of these applications by virtue of an extensive root system that ensures good soil percolation and a free-growth pattern of shoot development that helps in maintaining a large leaf area into the fall, thus prolonging the irragation season. Moreover, the superior rates of biomass accumulation and elevated leaf area indices maximize rates of transpiration and nutrient uptake.
A large number of enviromental plantings are now evident throughout the region. These include the cities of Woodburn and McMinnville, Oregon, and Vernon, British Columbia, each each of which Poplar in treating their municipal effluent or in containing landfill leachate. Riparian buffer plantings also are being used in the Tiliamook basin to protect the water quality of anadromous fish-bearing streams from the runoff from adjacent dairy farms. In the industrial sector, a fish processing plant in Shelton, Washington, a vegetable cannery in Brooks, Oregon, and a potato processing plant in Caldwell, Idaho, also have incorporated poplar plantings into their treatment of waste process water, while a pulp mill in Halsey, Oregon, is testing poplar plantings into their treatment of secondary pulp sludge. A related application uses hybrid poplars ability to metabolize certain toxic chemicals (Burken and Schnoor 1997, Gordon etal. 1997) in removing trichloroechylene from an industrial landfill near Bremerton, Washington, with considerable cost savings compared to alternative methods of soil removal and decontamination.