(24) THE POPLAR
Of the POPLAR (Populus, L.) there are numerous species, and several deserve culture for their timber in situations where the soil is good and deep, and where the roots can reach running water; but they do not thrive in stagnant marshes.
The following are the best adapted to our climate:-- P. alba, abele or white poplar, is widely distributed over Europe, and is extensively cultivated in Britain. P. canescens, the grey poplar, is classed by Hooker as a sub-species.
These trees attain a large size, giving long clean, straight timber, which induces planters to grow it, especially near factories, where the wood is used for flooring, machinery, &c., as it does not easily ignite.
The timber is soft, white, and light. The root throws up strong suckers, which always replace trees down.
P. tremula, the aspen, produces a white wood, which is much sought after for the manufacture of paper, and on that account it is rising in value.
P. nigra, the black or Lombardy poplar, is much planted on the Continent in hedgerows, and also in Kashmir, where the pyramidal variety is common. The wood, which is white, soft, and light, is used for sabots, but is not good for fuel. The bark is used by the tanner.
The black Italian poplar (P. monilifera) is always propagated by cuttings of the young wood. It pollards well, and is a rapid grower. Poplars should not have large branches pruned off, and they do not coppice well, because moisture enters cracks in their wood.
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