The Poplar tree is usually not the tree people look to for its amazing and versatile uses. It is just an average tree species that exist and is okay to use for most things trees can be used for. But there are however some interesting and unique uses of the poplar tree, that we should not dismiss.
Poplar grows in most parts of the Northern Hemisphere and there are about 35 different species of poplar. The poplar species are divided into three groups, the cottonwoods, the aspens, and the balsam poplar. The poplar tree grows very quickly and can grow taller than houses and develop a thick trunk in just a few years.
In my opinion, poplar is one of the more beautiful trees to look at, the way the trunk shoots for the sky and the branches and leaves follow. And the way the leaves bristle and dance in the wind.
Poplar trees can be used or landscaping, pallets, for instruments, for woodworking, as firewood, as a place of gathering, as plywood, to make paper, and as wood panels for paintings.
This article does not include Yellow Poplar also called Tulip Tree. Scientific Name “Liriodendron tulipifera“. This tree is not in the Populus genus and is not really a poplar tree in the pure sense.
Let’s look at what poplar is used for in more detail in the list below!
Poplar Is Used For Landscaping
Poplar is the perfect tree to use for landscaping and for modifying visible features of nature. The poplar tree is a very skinny and symmetrical tree. Generally, depending on the species, the branches of poplar want to grow upward, so the tree does not cover too much surface area.
The symmetry and leanness of poplar trees give you the ability to plant many trees close to each other in rows or in when covering larger surface areas. Poplar also grows quickly which makes it a cheap tree to use for landscaping and grows into the preferred size quicker than other trees.
Poplar is a favorite amongst property developers when making parks that are attached to new housing complexes because of the cheap price of poplar, the fast growth, and the low maintenance the tree requires.
Pallets Are Made From Poplar
Poplar wood is mainly used as utility wood. And many poplar trees end up as pallets for transporting goods and heavy items. Even though poplar wood is very soft for being a hardwood (490lbf on the Janka Scale) it is very strong compared to its density. So pallets made from poplar wood can still carry heavy loads.
Pallets are often mass-produced and a consumer product. When making pallets we need to use woods that grow fast, are cheap, and can be used to bear loads. That is why poplar is a popular wood to use for making pallets.
Pallets are also made from other woods like pine, spruce, fir, cherry, and oak.
Poplar Can Be Used To Make Instruments
Poplar is a fair wood to use as tonewood. This means it can carry sound in a way that sounds good to the ear. This is why poplar is sometimes used in instruments like guitars, flutes, drums, and more. Poplar is a good and cheap alternative to use for instruments if you can get your hand on superior tonewoods like the wood from Sitka spruce.
Many people have differing opinions on whether poplar is a good tonewood or not. The main argument against poplar seems to be that it looks bad (green mineral streaks in the wood), sounds flat, and dings easily.
On the other hand, many praise it as a cheap tonewood that is easy to work with. Fender (the music company) also used poplar in many of their older guitars, and if poplar is good enough for them it should be good for most people. But maybe the poplar wood we have now is just not of the same quality that it was back then.
Poplar Is Used In Some Woodworking Projects
Poplar is not the greatest wood to use for woodworking. But there are applications for poplar wood in woodworking too. Since poplar wood often has this green mineral color to the wood, it is preferred to use poplar for woodworking projects where you can paint or stain the wood in a dark color.
You can also use poplar wood on the parts of furniture that are not immediately visible, like the back panel of a closet.
But I don’t want to be too harsh on the poplar wood, some people love the look of the poplar wood and will gladly expose it to the daylight and show it off in their projects. It is all in the eye of the beholder.
Poplar is also a great wood to use for woodworking because it is very easy to work with, it machines really well, and it does not dull your tools too quickly. It also takes stains and paints well.
Poplar Is Good For Kindling/Firewood
Poplar wood is soft, light, and not very dense. This makes poplar burn hot and quick, and if you use a larger fireplace to burn your wood, the poplar log you put in the fire might have been transformed to ash before you get back to your chair. It burns quickly.
Even though poplar burns quickly, it is a nice wood to mix with other denser woods like oak or hickory when burning.
Poplar is also a great wood to use as kindling in a small fire and as wood for starting fires.
Since poplar wood is light and soft, it is also easy to process with a chainsaw and to split.
Poplar Was Used As A Place Of Gathering
The name poplar was derived from Roman Times, as Romans planted the tree at areas that were assigned as public meeting places. The overarching genus of poplar trees is named populus in latin, which can be translated to “people”.
Poplar Plywood Is The Best
Poplar is one of the few wood species that are grown in large plantations for the purpose of making plywood. I Europe there are many poplar plantations where they grow poplar for plywood.
Poplar trees grown in plantations will grow anywhere from 5 to 15 years before they are harvested to use as plywood, the growth time depends on the species and environment. The tree grows quickly and forms a straight trunk that has very few deficiencies. This is one of the reasons the poplar tree is profitable to produce on larger scales.
Poplar plywood is pale, bright, and has an anonymous grain structure. There are also very few deficiencies in the finished plywood. Poplar plywood can be used for construction, framing, furniture, carpentry, packaging, and more.
The wood from poplar is used in the production of paper. The high cellulose content and the low lignin content make poplar a great wood to make pulp that can then be turned into paper.
The poplar trees grow quickly and are a great tree to plant in large plantations. This makes poplar a good tree species for making paper.
Poplar Is Used As Wood Panels For Painting
Did you know that the famous painting Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci was painted on poplar wood? Well, it was. Poplar wood is and has been a popular wood to use for wood panels for art paintings.
Check Out The Uses Of Other Tree Species
Uses Of The Maple Tree: Click To See Article
Uses Of The Pine Tree: Click To See Article
Uses Of Spruce: Click To See Article
Uses Of The Birch Tree: Click To See Article
Uses Of The Beech Tree: Click To See Article
Uses Of The Hickory Tree: Click To See Article
Uses Of The Poplar Tree: Click To See Article