Poplar - Knowledgebase Question

McNeal, Ar
Question by sutarfd
January 30, 2010
I bought a place in AZ about 7 months ago. It has trees planted in a row with an irrigation ditch running along the trunks.One of the poplars with a trunk about 8 inches across lost all of its leaves and then got some suckers with new leaves. Did I kill it? Shouldn't they have wells for watering instead of a ditch?

Answer from NGA
January 30, 2010


When poplars develop suckers from the roots, it usually indicates a dead or dying tree. Sounds like your trees are watered in an old-school way of flooding. Lots of landscape in Arizona are watered this way. It is efficient and cheap because of the ample irrigation water available in many locations. If you don't want to continue with this watering method you can certainly build watering basins beneath each of the trees rather than rely on the ditch to supply water. Hope your poplar leaf's out this spring. If not, you can either dig it out and replace it or cut the trunk just above ground level and let the roots produce suckers. You can choose the most upright sucker to save and cut the rest down. Eventually the sucker will develop into a tree. The only downside to this method is that you'll be perennially removing suckers as they appear from the roots of this tree.

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