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Management of Poplar (Populus Species) – Species Management

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·       When the Mughals came to the Indo-Pakistan Sub-continent, besides their culture and tradition, they brought with them a number of trees and shrubs from their homeland and started planting Populus nigra around the agricultural fields in t fertile valley of Peshawar.
·       The practice continued for hundreds of years until new poplar clones were introduced to the farmers of the valley.
·       Hybrid poplar clone 214 and Populus deltoides have been planted on a very large scale in the Agriculture Lands of the farms.
·       They plant in the farm of windbreaks around the fields where they grow sugarcane, wheat, Trifolium and corn as Agricultural crops.
·       It has not happened just for the love of trees. This is one tree which comes up to their expectations and requirements.
·       They have a ready market for 5-6-year-old poplar trees and one such tree fetches them U.S.$ 8 to 12 (1985).
·       In Kaghan and A.J.K. Valleys in the moist temperate areas are being planted around Rice fields along with other tree species.
·       In the Southern part of the country which is very hot, the Hybrids have been a failure, but some clones such as Ay-48 have done remarkably well in the Govt. farms.
·       The poplar wood has become a very important raw material for match industry, packaging and shuttering.
·       Now there is a great demand for the tree as roofing materials in the hutments of the Afghan Refugees as well as export to Afghanistan.
·       Of course another important use is for fuel and one quintal of poplar wood costs about the U.S.$ 6 and also fodder.
·       Time of Planting: First ten days of February are ideal for the planting of the hybrid as well as deltoides clones in Northern part and January for the Southern part.
·       Spacing: 3 m x 3 meters.
·       Heavy pruning is injurious.
·       Rotation: Poplar is fast growing species which can be economically harvested on short rotations of 10-12 years for their multiple uses for matches, veneers, fiberboards, light packing, paper pulp, fuelwood & fodder.
·       Keeping the management in view the conclusions were drawn as follows:-
i.    Under intensive methods, Hybrid poplar has given much better performance both in height and diameter.
Ø  The stock of indigenous poplars is very limited and confined only to a few regions in Pakistan:-
1.   Populus ciliata
2.   Populus nigra
3.   Populus euphratica
4.   Populus alba
Common Name:         Palack, Himalayan poplar
Nature:                        Indigenous species
·       Populus ciliata grows at an altitude of 2000-3000 meters in the Murree hills, Hazara, Swat, Dir, Chitral, Gilgit, Naltar, Gudai, Chillam, Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
·       It occupies cool and moist sites in the moist temperate and riverain tract in the dry temperate zones.
·       As a gallery forest, its status is only seral.
·       It regenerates freely from seed.
·       It can be propagated artificially from cuttings and Rhizomatous branches.
·       Main use is fuel and fodder.
·       It is being used in match industry also.
i.    This tree is native to the subcontinent, North and Central Asia and North America.
ii.   In Pakistan, it grows in AJK, N.A. Gilgit, Murree hills, Hazara, Swat, Dir, Chitral, and Tirah.
i.       Grows best on deep moist soils.
ii.     It also grows best on Alluvium, stream beds and sandy loam.
iii.   Has no insect and disease problems in Pakistan.
iv.   It does not coppice except when young.
v.     It is produced from seed and by vegetative means.
vi.   Its seed is small with long silky hairs, light and wind disseminated. Viability is low.
vii.  It is relatively fast growing.
viii.          Yields of 6 to 13m3/ha/year have been recorded.
ix.   It occurs sporadically on moist sites at higher elevations in the Himalayas between 1200 and 3000 meters in Kail, Dodar, Fir and Spruce Forest along streams and in depressions.
x.     It is an indigenous poplar species.
xi.   It can be raised from stem cuttings, root cuttings or seed.
xii.  It is a lofty tree, light demander.
xiii.          Pollards vigorously, has poor coppicing power except when young.
xiv.          It is lopped for fodder.
i.    This tree has the potential to control erosion on steep hillsides.
ii.   It is also useful for controlling stream bank erosion and landslide areas.
iii. Colour of wood: Sapwood is white, Heartwood pale to brownish grey.
Common Name:         Siah poplar, Lombardy poplar
i.    The tree is native to Western and Central Europe, the Middle East, and the Subcontinent.
ii.   It has an Elevation Range from 900 to 3750 meter.
iii. It does coppice.
iv.  There are no significant diseases or insect problems when planted on a favorable site.
v.   If the tree is stressed it can be attached by a number of defoliators.
vi.  Gall formation by insect has been observed.
vii. It is reproduced both from seed and by vegetative means.
      However, most individuals are the Result of root suckers or cuttings. In Pakistan, it is not propagated from seeds.
viii.     It is relatively fast growing.
ix.  The yield of 10 to 15 m3/ha/year have been recorded.

i.       This is a good farm forestry tree.
ii.     Its wood is valued and provide fuel as well as timber in areas where forest have been destroyed by overharvesting.
iii.   Sapwood is white and the heartwood is pale to olive Brown.
Common Name:         Bahan, Euphrates poplar
·       Populus euphratica occupies the Riverian tract right from sea level to 4000 meters in the mountains.
·       It has been reported to grow in Karachi, Quetta, Pishin District, Sibi, Bela, South Wazirstan, Multan, Lahore, Sohan, River, Attock District, Peshawar, Gorikot (Astor), Baltistan, Pakuta, Tolti, Tubrak and ladak.
·       The Forest is usually not available in its habitat due to sever Biotic action.
·       The tree grows to a considerable size but generally does not have a straight bole.
·       For tropical plains, this is the Poplar.
·       It regenerates freely from seed and Rhizomatous branches.
·       According to some Researchers the seed is viable for a few hours, care has, therefore, to be taken to sow the seed soon after it is collected.
i.       The tree is native to the middle east, South Russia, the Subcontinent and East to China.
ii.     In Pakistan, it is found in hot Arid areas along Rivers courses or where there is sub-surface water.
i.       Grows on a variety of sites including waterlogged and saline soils.
ii.     This is the only Poplar that will grow on saline soils.
iii.   It is considered a Riverain species and in these areas, its growth does not depend upon Rainfall.
iv.   It is frost hardy, can withstand drought and periodical inundation.
v.     It has elevation all range from below sea level to the tree line at 4000 meter.
vi.   It does coppice.
vii.  It has no significant disease or insect problems in Pakistan.
viii.          It is regenerated by Root suckers.
ix.   This species comes up naturally in the Riverain tracts of Pakistan along the banks of Rivers – especially the Indus, not only in the hills through which the river passes but also in its delta region.
x.     Due to its crooked bole and short stem, it is not of much value as timber.
xi.   It is relatively fast growing.
xii.  Yields of 8 to 15 m3/ha/year have been recorded. Diameter growth of 3 to 17 cm/year can be expected.
                 i.          This is a good farm forestry tree.
               ii.          Sapwood is white and the heartwood is Reddish brown.
·       Populus alba grows at altitudes of 1300 – 3000 meter in Murree hills, Hazara, Swat, Chitral, Gilgit, Astor, Gudi, Shigar, Baltistan, Skardu, Rondu and Hushe valleys.
·       It has subsequently also spread into Balochistan at Quetta, Mastung, Mach, and Loralai.
·       As a gallery forest, its status to is seral.
·       The tree has been completely exterminated from Riverain belt due to severe biotic influence.
·       It usually occurs as a single tree.
·       The bole is often quite straight and clean.
·       It can be propagated from cuttings and Rhizomatous branches.
·       Wood is used for baking, cooking, packaging, construction of doors and windows.
·       Populus alba occupies almost the same habitat as Populus ciliate and Populus euphratica in the upper limits and Populus euphratica in the lower.
·       It has a wider Ecological amplitude than Populus ciliate but a narrow ecological range than Populus euphratica.
·       Scattered trees of this species are available along streams and in depression in the hills in the range of Elevation 4000 – 10,000 feet.
·       It can be multiplied from root suckers and is a useful tree for afforestation in the valleys.
§  Poplars have exacting light requirements as they are extremely light demanding or “SUN LOVING” plants.
§  They normally develop on open sites and behave like pioneer occupants of empty spaces.
§  Photosynthic action of poplars is intense as quoted by ROUSSEL 1972.
§  Assimilation of carbonic gas is 15 to 20 Milligrams per Hour and per square decimeter of leaves developing in full light (Single face).
§  They pollard vigorously and have an extra ordinary drought susceptible, require a light water-table and cannot withstand water logging.
§  Their growth is optimal along River-banks, Nalas, irrigation channels or under irrigation compared to other woody species.
§  Thy oxygen required for root development is obtained from the atmosphere of the soil good soil aeration is therefore essential for poplar cultivation.
§  They prefer deep, well drained, workable and nutrient rich soils.
§  The pH should be between 6 and 7.
§  Poplars do not tolerate acidic soils unless other site factors both climatic and edaphic and favourable.
§  They are fire tender and hence susceptible to even light fire.
§  They are regarded as frost-resistant.
§  They can tolerate low Temperature but can no tolerate the extreme temperature of Tropical climate except in areas where humidity and soil moisture are adequate.
§  Poplars also produce Root-Suckers in abundance.
·       Common Name:         Chita Sufeda, White Poplar
·       The tree is native to Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
·       In Pakistan, it grows in the Himalayas, Karkorum and Hindukush. It has successfully planted in the Peshawar Valley and the hills of the Punjab.
·       Growth best on deep moist soils.
·       The foliage when attacked by Rust and Powdery mildew, can be considerably damaged.
·       It is reproduced from seed and by vegetative means.
·       Growth is relatively fast.
·       The tree has the potential to control erosion on steep hillsides. It should be eased in the hill regions on problem watersheds.
·       Growth on the plains has not been good.
·       Wood is white.
·       Common Name:         Poplar, Northern cotton wood
·       Scientific Name:         Populus deltoids
·       The tree is native to North America.
·       In Pakistan successfully planted in the plain as well as in the hills.
·       Grows on sandy loams and Alluvival Soils.
·       It does coppice.
·       It is susceptible to many insect and disease problems especially when stressed.
·       Its seed is small with silky hairs (Cotton), light and wind disseminated. Seed viability is low.
·       It is reproduced both from seed and by vegetative means.
·       It is fast growing.
·       Yields of 20 to 40m3/ha/year have been recorded.
·       Clones such as Ay-48, S7C2, S7C3, S7C20, I-63/51, I-72/51, I-24/64, I-72/58, I-69/55, I262 and ST-92 have given excellent performance.
·       This is a good farm forestry tree.
·       It is also a good shelterbelt tree.
·       Thinning of poplar plantations is not regarded as economically viable. Therefore, it is important to choose the correct spacing from the beginning. However, suppressed, damaged and diseased trees should be removed at the earliest.
·       Rotation mainly depends on the object of raising poplar plantations.
·       For pulpwood, a rotation of 4 to 6 years will be best and for match splints, 6 to 8 years rotation is considered to be optimum.
·       Where the objective is to produce large sized timber specially for plywood, a rotation of 15 to 20 years will be better.
·       Poplars are generally managed under clearfelling specially when the crop is grown alongwith Agricultural crops or in pure stands.
·       But when poplar is planted in mixture with other species in natural forests, it is worked on SELECTION SYSTEM.
  • The trees species indigenous of Pakistan are rather slow growing and take a long time to attain exploitable size.
  • In Pakistani climatically suitable areas multipurpose trees like poplar could be successfully introduced.
  • Introduction of exotic poplars in Pakistan was started in the late FIFTIES.
  • The first introduction were from Italy followed by clones from the U.S.A. Yugoslavia, Turkey, Netherlands, Australia etc.
  • Suitability of some clones like populus euramericana CV-1-214 and populus deltoides 63/51, 18/62, 90/60, 69/55, etc. has been indicated for large scale planting.
  • Work conducted by the poplar specialists over a period of last 15 years has indicated the suitability of following poplar clones for some parts of Pakistan:-
·       Hyderabad (oceanic climate) 250 23′ N lat 680 E long.
i.    Populus deltoides x caudina = y-509, y-510.
ii.   Populus deltoides = 1 – 6/64
iii. Populus deltodes =      A – 65/27
                                          A – 65/31
                                          Ay – 48
·       It has convincingly been proved that:-
(a) Hybrid poplar has no future in the Southern Region.
(b) Delotides clones can be planted successfully only at close spacing since they perform poorly on wider spacing.
(c) The recommended deltoides clones especially Australian ones can be planted on large scale, at a close spacing of 0.9 meter x 0.9 meter to 1.5 m x 1.5 m either from cuttings or plants, on a short rotation of 2-3 years.
·       When raised from cuttings, these clones attain an average height of 3 meter and a diameter of 4 cm in one year.
·       Changa Manga 310 00′ N Lat 730 52′ E Long
Daphar (Gujrat) 320 32′ N Lat 740 10′ E Long
·       Clones trials have indicated the superiority of the following:
i.    Populus deltoides       I – 63/51, I – 69/55, I – 77/51
                                          A – 65/27, Y – 507,  I – 4/64, 4/65
                                          I – 90/60, I – 72/58, I – 19/64
                                          I – 6/64
ii.   Populus euramericana I – 21, I – 408, I – 18/62
                                                      I – BL
·       Peshawar 340 00′ N Lat 710, 30′ E Long
Mingora (Swat) 340 36 N Lat 700 17′ E Long
·       Following clones have shown promise in this area:-
i.    Populus euramericana Cv. I – 24 Cv. I – 021
                                                      Cv. I – 488 Cv. I – 79/234
                                                      Cv. I – 72/58
ii.   Populus deloides                    I – 63/51, I – 69/55
                                                      Cv. I – 90/60, S7C3
                                                      s7c 20, I – 18/62
·       These poplars have been planted in the form of compact blocks with and without Agricultural crops as wind breaks and as individual scattered trees on the farm land.
·       Although Exotic Poplars were introduced more than 2 decades back compact plantations do not exceeds 3000 hectares.
·       It is primarily due to the fact that poplars require a lot of water and good, deep fertile soil thus coming in direct competition with Agriculture.
·       These poplars have become a hot favourite of the farmers of Peshawar, Mardan, Dir, Swat, Hazara, Malakand Districts and Civil Division and million of trees have planted and look like Forests and needs to give new nomenclature of “poplar Forests” in the list of Forest Types of Pakistan.
·       Hybrid poplars has been introduced from various countries and tested on trial basis at:
(a) Lahore Nursery
(b) Field nurseries at Khanewal, Kamalia, Chakku, Changa Manga, Khundoha, Abbasia, Bannu irrigated plantations and canal side plantations Resultantly from observations appear to be most promising out of the species and clone tried and exceptionally fast rate of growth exhibited by these clones:-
S. No
Name of Species
Country of origin
Height of one year (feet)
Populus IH-214
Populus wislizenii
Populus II-A17
Populus IH-30A
Populus x euramericana Cv-0-262
Populus IH-65A
Populus balsamifera
Populus eugenei

(a) Insects
§  The insects include stem borers, shoot borers, defoliators, and leaf stichers.
§  Remedial means suggested:-
i.    Spray sevin sp in 0.01% concentration.
ii.   Spray ½ liter Lebaycid in 80 liters of water at the time of moth emergence.
iii. Biological control by a pathogenic fungus keeps the pest under check.
iv.  Do not grow poplars in water deficient area.
v.   Apply Temik granules at the rate of 30 gm per tree around tree base in April.
vi.  Inject 0.05 solution of B.H.C. in the last but on ejection hole and plug all the holes with mud.

(b) Diseases
Suggested control measures
i.  Important disease causing leaf spot
Perenox spray at the rate of 2 kg/1000 liters of water
ii.    Causing leaf curlor
       leaf blister
Dusting of sulphur at the rate of 10kg/ha.
iii.   Powder mildew
iv.   Rust leaves prematurdy
Spray with 2, 4-D
v.    Misteletoes
vi.  Trunk Rot in the high hills   forests
Avoid injuries in the form of heartwood exposure and felling a rotation of not more than 8-10 years.
vii. Trunk, Limbs and twigs in irrigated plantation
Avoid injuries.
Spray nursery stock with Bordeux misture.
viii.  Root Rot in the irrigated plantation 
Mixed growing with resistant species like Paper mulberry, Ailanthus and Simal.

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Naeem Javid Muhammad Hassani is working as Conservator of Forests in Balochistan Forest & Wildlife Department (BFWD). He is the CEO of Tech Urdu ( Forestrypedia (, All Pak Notifications (, Essayspedia, etc & their YouTube Channels). He is an Environmentalist, Blogger, YouTuber, Developer & Vlogger.

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