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Gardening in America
Forty Poplar Trees

by Nancy Fletcher

Poplar TreesWe have been fumbling around like children playing a new game for the last three years. It seems one has to continually think in order to know what to do in their own backyard as far as contributing, or not contributing to the ecology.

The shooting tall slender cypress trees on Grecian landscapes always were outstanding to me. Their tall shape reaching high on the hills gave a sacred look to the area around that well known temple on the Acropolis. Not that we could achieve such a look, but still one can always try for the possible or maybe impossible. This is why we chose to plant Poplar trees.

The first stumbling block was simply the fact the trees could not be purchased in and around us.  The excuse was, “they do not have a long life span.”  To have gone into an explanation as to why this was no problem would have made no impression on anyone and we simply went on to another store. After three years of this we finally decided to go on line to look. Sure enough, right away we found a man in Washington who grows them and sells them very reasonably. Actually, for around one dollar each.  We now have forty trees which are, so far, coming right along.

These are the contributions the Poplar trees make:

1.  They fix more Carbon Dioxide than any other plant. This simply means they cleanse the air.  During these times of concern as to the global warming from car emissions this alone is a contribution.

2. Poplars are tops in their use for the bio remediation of metalliferous soils. Again the additions of metal to our soil from the use of the automobile cause this to be a concern.

3. These fast-growing trees also have the ability to remove toxic metals from streams which gives a cleaner place for fish to grow.

4. Less chlorine is added to the water making them into pulp since the wood doesn't have to be bleached as much.

5. Livestock benefit since they provide a windbreak for them.

6. Manure from livestock is leached out before it enters steams.

7.  Pulp for paper making is one contribution the trees make.

8.  Scott paper is already growing and making harvest of these trees thus saving the old trees of the country.

9. Habitat for wildlife

10. Poplars are a source of ethanol

11. Fast growth of the tree makes them full grown in three years and this is while other trees are only the size of Christmas trees in the same period of time.

12.  The trees can be grown on rough lands, or on the edges of farm land not taking up valuable agricultural space for growing food. Europe is already well along in their cultivation of these trees for the above purposes.


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