Poplars are the ideal all-round tree, and they provide a cash crop. They are ideal as a complimentary farm forestry species to integrate with other pastoral activity. As a cash crop, they can produce timber in 20 years. They coppice well to provide firewood lots. Poplars are ideal for erosion control, will grow in water areas and improve the soil at the same time. They are ideal shade trees for livestock which will even enjoy the fallen leaves. They can be used as fodder, either from pruned branches, or utilised as feed during drought. They are ideal for agroforestry as the grass continues to grow under the trees and right up to the trunk so stock can be grazed. Last, but not least is their amenity value, with attractive coloured leaves and refreshing scent.
PLANTING RATES – SPACING
For agroforestry/soil conservation, planting can range from 20 to 100 per hectare. At 100 per hectare on a moist, fertile site, you can produce saw logs of 400 to 500mm diameter in 15 to 20 years. At 20 per hectare on the lower slopes planted primarily for soil conservation, and pruned every second or third year, they will produce good timber as well. Pruning should be done in summer so that the wound will dry off. This will also provide foliage for the stock to graze.
For wetter sites plant 40 to 100 per hectare depending on the level of grazing you wish. If the site is a rough area that would be better off primarily producing timber with a little grazing, plant at 100 stems per hectare.
|100 stems per hectare =||10 x 10 metres (or 25 x 4 m)|
|40 stems per hectare =||16 x 16 metres|
|20 stems per hectare =||22 x 22 metres on hill slopes|