Growing hybrid poplar trees may seem intimidating but can be easy if you just do a little research. Hybrid poplar trees are deciduous hardwood trees created by crossing various species of poplar. These trees are popular with homeowners because they are some of the fastest growing trees on Earth. If you need some shade in your yard and you have no patience, a hybrid poplar is the choice for you. These trees can grow five to eight feet every single year, usually maxing out at about fifty feet tall. Since these trees have shallow root systems and they grow so fast, make sure that you don't plant them within 100 feet of sewer lines, sidewalks, driveways or buildings as they could cause serious damage.
Pick up your young, container grown poplar tree in the autumn before the ground hardens or in the early spring after the last threat of frost has passed. Choose a healthy plant with moist roots. Keep your eyes peeled for plants that are over fertilized; you can usually smell them.
Choose a sunny spot in your yard to plant your hybrid poplar. Make sure that there is nothing in the vicinity that the poplar could destroy, for instance your driveway. Clear all of the weeds and grass from your patch of earth. Dig a hole three times as deep and three times as wide as your root ball. Fill the hole back up two thirds of the way with a mix of half compost and half soil. This step will loosen and aerate your soil so that your hybrid poplar roots are able to grow quickly and establish themselves in your yard. You will also be providing your soil with vital nutrients to encourage the poplar's growth.
Form a cone in the hole with the soil compost mix. If your root ball came wrapped in synthetic material, cut it off. If you can't get it off, cut slashes in it so that the roots can grow out, being careful not to cut the actual roots. Holding your poplar by the root ball and not the trunk, place it atop your cone. If the root ball was wrapped in burlap, untie the burlap now and leave it in the hole.
Carefully fill up the rest of the hole with your half soil, half compost mix. Be sure to fill in any gaps; avoid creating air pockets which could later damage your tree. Plant your hybrid poplar so that just the top of the root ball is still visible above the ground and pat all the soil down securely. Use the leftover soil to create a two inch high barrier ring around your root ball. Fill this basin with water and let it sink into the earth several times. Cover the top two layers of your soil with mulch to fight weeds and conserve water.
Keep your hybrid poplar very well watered during the entire first year you have it. You can fertilize your poplar in the early spring before the new growth comes in with a nitrogen heavy, slow release fertilizer. Expect your poplar to grow to 20 feet in the first three years. Once the poplar is established, it should live fifty years.