Plant DetailShow Menu

Lombardy Poplar Populus nigra

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Populus nigra var. italica
Phonetic Spelling
POP-yoo-lus NY-gruh
Description

Black Poplar, also known as Lombardy Poplar, has many landscape problems.  While it is fast-growing and has a distinctively narrow form, it is short-lived and therefore best planted as a windbreak away from most landscapes.  It is native to Europe, northwestern Africa, and western Asia.  It sports dark gray bark on mature trees, is deeply furrowed, and provides winter interest.

Female trees have cottony seeds that lead to frequent clean-ups.  However, the male trees cause issues of its own with the abundance of pollen.  These trees are noted for their large amount of falling leaves and twigs, again leading to clean up.  Its shallow roots send off somewhat invasive suckers as well as causing issues with grass cutting, sidewalks lifting, and invading into other areas of your landscape.  

Poplars are not good landscape trees because they are susceptible to a number of pests and diseases as well as other cultural problems.  Insect problems include aphids, borers, caterpillars, and scale.  Cankers are problematic especially in hot and humid climates. Cytospora canker attacks the upper branches of the tree and trunk and is often fatal. Dieback, leaf spots, rusts, and powdery mildew are other diseases problems. Weak wood is easily damaged by wind and shallow roots can lift sidewalks, make lawn mowing difficult, and damage drainage systems. Frequent clean up is required from the endless amount of falling leaves and twigs. To quote Michael Dirr from his popular book Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, "if anyone plants poplars they deserve the disasters which automatically ensue."

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Italica'
  • 'Lombardi Gold'
    Yellow/gold leaves
'Italica', 'Lombardi Gold'
Tags:
#fall color#winter interest#windbreak#high maintenance#fast growing#messy#short lifespan
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Italica'
  • 'Lombardi Gold'
    Yellow/gold leaves
'Italica', 'Lombardi Gold'
Tags:
#fall color#winter interest#windbreak#high maintenance#fast growing#messy#short lifespan
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Populus
    Species:
    nigra
    Family:
    Salicaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe to Mediterranean
    Play Value:
    Shade
    Wind Break
    Dimensions:
    Height: 40 ft. 0 in. - 70 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 10 ft. 0 in. - 12 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Columnar
    Erect
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    24-60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    Green blooms are female, red are male.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Deltoid
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Triangular/diamond shaped shiny leaves.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Furrowed
    Bark Description:
    Winter interest. The bark is thin and easily damaged.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Winter Garden
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Frequent Disease Problems
    Frequent Insect Problems
    Messy
    Short-lived
    Weak Wood