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Zone
Zones 1-12, 14-21
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate

Populus fremontii

Western Cottonwood, Fremont Cottonwood
Salicaceae
Deciduous, Trees

POPULUS

Fast-growing, tough trees. Grown primarily and especially appreciated in interior regions with hot summers and cold winters. They don’t do as well in mild-winter areas and in coastal climates where temperature fluctuation is minimal. Trees have aggressive surface roots that crowd out other plants, heave pavement, and clog sewer and drainage lines; best suited to rural areas and fringes of large properties. Most poplars will sucker if their roots are cut or disturbed. They are subject to many pests and diseases. Despite their liabilities, some of these trees are beautiful or distinctive enough to be widely sold. Many have good fall color. Leaves of most are roughly triangular, sometimes toothed or lobed. Pendulous catkins (denser on male trees) appear in spring before leafout. Female trees later bear masses of cottony seeds that blow about and become a nuisance; for that reason, male (seedless) varieties are the best choice and are usually offered in nurseries.

Populus fremontii

Native to California and the central Rockies south to Mexico. Grows to 40–60 ft. or taller and 30 ft. wide. Glossy yellow-green, coarsely toothed, virtually triangular leaves turn bright lemon yellow in fall. Leaves persist almost all winter in Zone 12. ‘Nevada’ is a male variety.

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