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Black poplar tree pruning

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When to Prune my Black Poplar Tree?

When is the best time to prune a poplar tree? Why is poplar tree pruning important? And what are the most prevalent poplar tree diseases? Read on to find out…

The black poplar tree, known by its Latin name of Populus nigra and also referred to as Lombardy poplar and lady poplar, is a deciduous broadleaf tree which is native to the UK.

According to the Forestry Commission, the black poplar is the most endangered native timber tree in Britain. It is fairly easy to distinguish from the white poplar, a non-UK native tree, which has rounded leaves as opposed to the triangular ones of the black poplar.

This is a tree that will often live for 200 years, reaching heights of up to 30 metres. If you do spot one in the wild rather than cultivated, it will tend to be in East Anglia, Somerset, Cheshire or Shropshire, usually alongside ditches and on floodplains, as the black poplar is a lover of boggy conditions. It is rapid growing with a vigorous root system, which is why it will rarely be planted close to property.

Why prune a black poplar tree?   

Whilst the black poplar tree rarely needs pruning in maturity other than to keep it healthy and safe from posing a hazard, it is a tree that is prone to producing suckers.

Suckers are sent up from the roots and if they are not dealt with then they will turn into another tree.

Seedlings can also prove an issue for this tree as they are usually copious and will spread quickly, becoming deep rooted and often causing a nuisance if they start growing on lawns and within borders.

Otherwise, generally keeping the tree tidy and removing deadwood or any branches that are becoming congested will offer health benefits courtesy of improved air flow and light penetration, which is one of the most important aspects of black poplar tree pruning.

When is the best time for black poplar tree pruning?

Sucker removal can be carried out at any time of the year and is easiest done as soon as sucker growth is spotted and before they become too widespread. In situations where suckers have taken over, sometimes the only option is to remove the tree altogether, hence the importance of acting quickly.

Suckers should be removed as close as possible to their point of origin on the root. They should not be cut, rather torn, so that you have the best chance of removing as many dormant buds as you can so as to reduce the chances of regrowth. Seedlings should be dug out by the root; again this can be done at any time of the year.

If you do need to prune out congested, damaged or diseased branches and it is not urgent, i.e. not posing an immediate hazard, then this is best done in late winter or early spring.

What to look for when pruning a black poplar tree

Because the black poplar tree is not at all prevalent in the wild, there is little likelihood of cross pollination. Instead, cultivated poplar trees pollinate them, which means there is no regeneration of true wild black poplars.

The poplar tree is also susceptible to all sorts of fungal diseases. These include bacterial canker (look out for sunken, dead patches of bark and leaves displaying small holes); leaf rust (yellow, orange, brown, black or white pustules on leaves); poplar scab (dark blotches or spots on leaves and premature leaf fall); honey fungus (white fungus between bark and wood, decaying roots, rhizomorphs or even sudden death of the tree) and silver leaf disease (silvery leaves and branch dieback).

Tree Preservation Orders

You must never go ahead with any type of tree work, including poplar tree pruning, if there is a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) in place. Verify this before you proceed and where necessary you’ll need to apply to the local authority for permission to work on the tree; this can take up to eight weeks to be granted. Also you should know that if the tree is situated in a conservation area, permission must be obtained before undertaking works of any kind.

The importance of black poplar tree pruning expertise

Poplar trees are very attractive and their balsam scented leaves make them very popular as ornamental or privacy screening. Whether or not this is how you use your poplar tree, you will want to ensure it is maintained in the best possible condition and excellent health all year round.

To ensure this is the case, the only way you can have certainty and peace of mind is to engage the expert help of a qualified tree surgeon. With their vast knowledge of all tree species, they will be fully aware of the best time and methods to use to prune your black poplar tree. They’ll also be able to identify diseases and advise on treatments to deal with them.

When you are selecting a tree surgeon, always be sure to request checkable references and certificates that prove their qualifications. Also make sure you see their insurance documents for total reassurance that you are covered for the work you are commissioning. Also, wherever possible, do your best to engage a tree surgeon with Trading Standards and local authority approval.

If you have a black poplar tree that requires pruning or sucker removal or some other form of care of attention, why not contact T.H. Tree Surgery Services? As fully qualified and highly experienced Trading Standards and local authority approved tree surgeons, we are able to offer specialist expertise across all aspects of poplar tree pruning. For a free, no-obligation quotation, contact our friendly experts on 01268 642814 or get in touch here.

Fantastic!

Terry and the team did a great job of reducing the size of a large tree in my garden by 50%.They turned up early, worked quickly and quietly and were so tidy. I was seriously impressed with the clearing up afterwards - they even went into the neighbours garden to pick up any branches that had fallen the other side of the fence.I'd definitely use this company again if needed.

Wow, thank you very much Lisa, what a fantastic review. The team look forward to the next time we might be of service to you. Best Regards.

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