Lombardy Poplar tree Pros and Cons, Height, Spacing, Problems & Diseases

Lombardy poplars (Populus nigra 'Italica') are the rock stars of the domestic garden because they grow quickly and die young. Many homeowners choose them when they require a short privacy screen. 

Lombardy poplar, commonly known as black poplar, has numerous landscape challenges.  Although it grows quickly and has a distinctly narrow form, it is short-lived and is therefore best placed as a windbreak far from most landscapes.  It is indigenous to western Asia, northern Africa, and Europe.  Mature trees have deep ridges and dark gray bark, which adds interest in the winter.

Lombardy Poplar tree Pros and Cons, Height, Spacing, Problems & Diseases

Female trees produce cottony seeds, which necessitate periodic cleaning.  However, because there is too much pollen, the male trees have their own problems.  These trees are renowned for producing copious amounts of leaves and twigs that fall, which need cleanup later on.  Its weak roots produce fairly invasive suckers, make it difficult to trim the grass, cause sidewalks to lift, and invade other parts of your landscape design. 


Quick Growth

The impressive growth rate of Lombardy Poplar trees is one of its distinguishing characteristics. These trees can drastically alter the appearance of a landscape by instantly bringing much-needed privacy and shade. These trees can be a great option if you want to quickly create a windbreak or green screen.

Horizontal Accent

Lombardy poplars are a great option for adding vertical highlights to your garden or yard due to their towering, upright growth. They are a favorite among landscape designers looking to create focal points because of their distinctive form, which lends a touch of elegance and intensity.

Privacy screen

Lombardy Poplar trees are often planted as privacy screens due to their tall and narrow form.


Weak Wood

The poor wood of Lombardy Poplar trees is one of its noteworthy downsides. Fast growth, which makes them attractive, also leads to weaker branches that are more likely to break, particularly in storms or strong winds. To avoid potential risks, routine examination and pruning are necessary.

Invasive Roots

It is well known that Lombardy Poplars have invasive root systems. These roots have a tendency to surface frequently and spread widely, damaging driveways, sidewalks, and even the foundations of buildings. To prevent these problems, it is essential to plant these trees safely away from buildings.

Susceptibility to Disease

Although rapid growth has many advantages, it can also make these trees more vulnerable to several illnesses. Common issues that may affect the health and appearance of the tree include canker diseases and fungal leaf spots.


Lombardy poplars stand tall, which is one of its distinguishing characteristics. These trees are a popular option for individuals looking for quick vertical development because they may grow from 40 to 60 feet tall in just 10 to 15 years.


Proper spacing is essential when planting Lombardy Poplars to provide each tree adequate room to expand and thrive. To give them enough room to grow into their distinctive columnar structure, these trees should be planted 5 to 8 feet apart from one another.

Problems & Diseases

Cytospora canker

The Lombardy Poplar is quite prone to this illness. It is best to cut off infected branches deep below the canker. Extremely infected trees may require removal.


This bacterial disease can be devastating to Lombardy Poplar. It results in the trunk looking like it has been saturated in water and can induce branch dieback and tree decline.

Infestations of insects

Lombardy Poplars are susceptible to pest infestations such as aphids and caterpillars. These pests can be stopped from inflicting major damage with routine observation and early management.

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