An Epidemic of Poplar Failures

Around this time last year we talked about the dangers posed by dying poplar trees, and the complications and risks involved in removing them. Considering the astounding number of calls our Portland office has received in recent weeks to have these notoriously problematic trees removed, we feel that it bears mentioning again. Indeed, if you happen to have a poplar (or row of poplars) in your neighborhood or even your own backyard, there is a very high likelihood that it looks like this:

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In a suitable environment, poplars grow quickly and reach heights of 100 feet or more before declining, and the fast-growing wood turns weak and brittle as it dies. Eventually all that is left is an enormous, fragile husk of a tree that is incredibly dangerous to remove — even with proper equipment, such as our 75 foot bucket truck which is dwarfed by the dead poplar pictured above.

In decades past, poplars were planted for their aesthetic appeal and to serve as an effective wind screen. Unfortunately, little care was given to the hazards these trees would create in the long term, and it appears that now a majority of these early plantings have reached the ends of their life cycles, leaving great looming towers of brittle deadwood stabbing into the sky across the city. By now it is difficult to find old poplars in good condition, and the problem is worsening by the year. In turn, the number of calls we’ve received for poplar removals has notably increased.

If you have one of these problem trees hanging over your home, we encourage you to take care of them as soon as possible. Our arborists will be happy to give you a free consultation and estimate for removing hazards, as well as pruning, stump grinding, and any other tree care needs.

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