Trichobel Poplar: Use and characteristics

The Trichobel Poplar is a cultivar of the Common Poplar, meaning it's a variety of poplar obtained in cultivation, generally by selection, for its reputedly unique characteristics.

Trichobel Poplar

The Trichobel Poplar, also known as black cottonwood from the Trichocarpa group, this variety of poplar is a hybrid species, a cross between the poplars Fritzy Pauley and Columbia River, both from the United States. This species thrives in clay soils and needs little water but fears temporary spring flooding. It belongs to the 'Populus' family, with a characteristic silhouette found in its natural or planted state throughout Europe, from the Atlantic coast to western Russia and North America.

Why does EcoTree plant Trichobel Poplar?

The Trichobel Poplar grows very fast, which makes it an interesting subject for forestry, especially as it tolerates humidity well. What's more, the poplar can help purify the soil through its evapotranspiration process. It is resistant to rust and cankers that threaten other cultivars in Brittany. This allows them to provide security for other trees in the forest alongside the Trichobel Poplar. Thanks to these properties, the poplar plays a crucial role in reducing groundwater pollution, thereby helping improve its environment's quality. Finally, planting Trichobel Poplars provides a certain diversity in EcoTree's forests.

Trichobel Poplar - Overview

Trichobel Poplar - Overview

Poplars in the Trichocarpa family are fast-growing trees, reaching impressive heights of up to 45 metres. When young, they have a cone-shaped crown that becomes more spread and rounded with age. Their bark, initially smooth and grey to greenish-yellow in colour, peels off in small patches over time, adding a unique texture to their appearance.
These poplars' olive-green twigs are angular, and their elongated, oval leaves show an interesting colour contrast: dark green on the upper side and silvery-white to greyish-green on the underside. This two-tone colouring is particularly attractive during flowering, marked by the presence of flower cones.

Ideal for public gardens and parks, these trees are perfect for creating shady, aesthetically pleasing green spaces. Their rapid growth and size make them suitable for beautifying urban and public spaces.
However, these poplars are susceptible to certain diseases and climatic conditions. They are vulnerable to rust and less susceptible to leaf spots but are very sensitive to wind and sea winds.
They generally take 3-4 years to establish, with growth during this period of around 5 cm/year in circumference. They then go through a phase of active development, during which they can reach a maximum growth in circumference of 15 cm/year, with an average of around 11-12 cm/year. This phase lasts a long time, up to 12-13 years. Finally, a slower growth phase arrives, which is slow and gradual, reaching 5-6 cm/year from the fifteenth year onwards.
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Trichobel Poplar

Trichobel Poplar - Species requirements

The historical habitat of this tree is in western North America. It extends from Kodiak Island and Cook Inlet in southeast Alaska, through British Columbia and the forested areas of Washington and Oregon, to the mountains of southern California and northern Baja California. It is also found inland, generally on the western side of the Rocky Mountains, in south-western Alberta, western Montana and north-central Idaho. It thrives on loam and clay soils, as it tolerates high levels of clay. It has a low water requirement and fears spring flooding. This means it can grow in all site types, whether dry, cool, damp or very wet. It is not fussy about where it grows and tolerates very low pH levels (>4.5). Finally, it can be planted at altitudes of up to 500m but has little tolerance of soils with a peaty horizon on the surface or at depth.

Trichobel poplar wood:

Poplar wood is versatile and widely used in various industries for traditional purposes. Its lightness and malleability make it an ideal choice for lightweight packaging, plywood and matches. Moreover, its robustness makes it the material of choice for constructing pallets and packaging crates. It is also used in the paper industry to produce various types of paper and chipboard. Due to falling demand in specific applications, poplar is increasingly being used as an energy source. Its versatility makes it a valuable material for manufacturing and construction.

In addition to its traditional uses, poplar stands out as a structural wood thanks to its adapted mechanical properties. The finger-jointing technique makes manufacturing long, robust beams from poplar wood possible, offering a cost-effective, solid solution for construction projects.

Trichobel Poplar symbol:

The trichobel poplar has several symbolic meanings, depending on culture and tradition. In some European cultures, it is considered a sacred tree, linked to life after death. It is often associated with melancholy, the memory of departed loved ones and regeneration. For the Druids, its white leaves symbolise man's old age. Despite its melancholy connotations, poplar is also seen as a bearer of hope and new opportunities.

So it's the ideal gift to mark retirement or the start of a new life!