Dear Barcham Trees
I have been delighted with my new tree Populus Tremula Erecta which has become the main focal point in our garden and with great pleasure I have watched it change through the seasons.
However, I am mystified by a change in the size of the leaves on a new leader that has rapidly grown (and overtaken the original leader) this year. They are at least ten times bigger than the rest of the leaves on the tree and I am worried that it is reverting to its ‘parent species’ – the kind of poplar you see in the countryside which is in my opinion less attractive and not suitable for a garden.
I have attached a photo for you to have a look at and I would be very grateful if you could let me know what you think is happening and maybe advise me what to do. I feel like I want to take the branch off but a) I am unable to reach it and b) even if I could it might re-appear in due course with renewed vigour!
Good afternoon Bridget,
Many thanks for your email enquiry. Great to hear that you have been enjoying your poplar! They are certainly a stunning colour come autumn time.
Your photos are most interesting, I suspect that this is just secondary growth, which comes later in the season and is much more vigorous than the first flush of foliage. We see this on the nursery quite a lot.
The first flush occurs when the tree is still trying to get its roots developed and thus as the resource is shared between the roots and shoots, the leaves tend to be fairly small, then as the root system stops dragging all the resources from the tree the tree has a second flush and the leaves are huge! I expect this is what has happened with your tree.
Although it would be good if you could get up the top and prune the co-dominant leader back to lower than the original leader, in time however if it is left, it will all balance out and the new stem will shoot up and take over to be the leader of the tree. The only way that this would be the “species” (Populus Tremula) is if the branch was originating right from the root system and not the main stem of the tree. If this is the case then I would advise you certainly prune it off. I hope that this information puts your mind at rest and if there is anything else that I can help you with please feel free to contact me.