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When to prune poplar trees

Updated February 21, 2017

Pruning poplar trees is a way to direct their growth and improve their structure as they grow. Good pruning never changes the shape of the tree.

Late summer, autumn best

Prune poplar trees late in the summer or early in the autumn. Because of the oncoming cold weather, this will minimise small shoots that develop on the tree trunk from regrowing on the main stem.

Pruning methods

Your pruning cut should expose the least amount of surface area. To begin, make a cut on the bottom of the branch. Your second cut should be on top of the branch. That should remove most of the branch. The third cut should trim the remaining part of the branch closest to the tree. Use this method to ensure that the bark does not tear as the branch falls away, which can cause a bigger injury to the trunk.

Fast-growing trees

Poplar trees generally need little pruning because of their rapid and strong growth structure.

Some pruning may be necessary

However, pruning also helps to remove broken branches or to get street and sidewalk clearance. Careful pruning can protect a tree from branches breaking or becoming too crowded as the tree grows.

Check local codes

In many cities, street tree branches must provide 8 feet of clearance over a sidewalk and 14 feet above a street

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About the Author

Kurt Erickson has more than 20 years of experience writing for newspapers in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri and Indiana. He is a 1987 graduate of Carroll College with a Bachelor of Science in communications. Erickson currently resides in Springfield, Ill., where he covers Illinois state government and politics for daily newspapers in Bloomington, Decatur, the Quad-Cities, Carbondale, Mattoon and Charleston.