Let’s Go Outside: Planting poplar trees in perfect growing weather

12 Apr
Horse chestnut (foreground), scots pine (green protectors) and poplars behind (clear protectors).

Horse chestnut (foreground), scots pine (green protectors) and poplars behind (clear protectors).

Today has been one of those days where I count myself lucky to work outside. The raw winds that blew meanly during the winter months have finally gone and life in the garden, orchard and meadow is finally beginning to emerge.

This morning started rainy and saw myself, husband and daughter (aged 4) busy planting hybrid poplars at the end of a field. The poplars are an experiment. We’ve been umming and ahhing about them since November, but last week, right at the end of the extended bareroot season, we decided to go for it and bought twenty of them. We also bought ten hybrid willows. Our aim is to grow these super fast trees 1) as a shelterbelt – a way of reducing the cold winter winds in years to come and 2) to reduce our view of the dual carriageway and pylons and 3) to coppice and harvest the wood so we can keep ourselves warm in future winter months! You can find more about these super fast growing trees here.

Some of them arrived as sticks that you just push into the ground, after clearing the weeds and grass away first. I then covered mine with rabbit protectors as our furry ‘friends’ like to nibble and will decimate everything if we’re not careful. We had ten Populus x canadensis Robusta, ten hybrid poplar ‘gaver’ unrooted setts and ten hybrid super willow trees Salix Viminalis Q83.

Then this afternoon the sun came out. What with the morning’s rain and the sun beating down it was extremely pleasant and I, almost, heard the grass drinking it all in and saying thank you! Buds on the trees we planted back in February looked like they’re thinking about springing open. And the chickens and the ducks throughly enjoyed themselves.

It is a beautiful time of the year, my first Spring at this house and I am loving all the ‘first time’ moments.

Hybrid willow

So twenty hybrid poplars – tick, ten hybrid willows – tick, and one horse chestnut. Not bad for a day’s work. Tomorrow I want to finish the tree planting. I have two horse chestnuts, one weeping willow and a handful of goat willows to go in. Plus some more silver birches and five bamboos. Ooh, I almost forgot, I also some hazel nut trees to go in. I now need to plan where they’ll go.


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