Saving our Great Black Poplar

If you visit Jubilee Wood you can’t help notice the iconic black poplar tree which towers over the rest of the wood.  The black poplar was once one of Britain’s most common, hence its name, but due to modern agricultural practices, wetlands (which it likes to live in), have been drained a lot of the trees chopped down and so they are now one of the rarest in Britain.  Our tree, a male, is over 150 years old and is one of only a few which still survive in Staffordshire.

Survey

Last year a routine survey was done on the tree, by South Staffs Council, to see if it was still in a healthy condition. Unfortunately some rotten bits were found and the council decided it was going to cut it down in size to just a single 5m high monolithic trunk.  In partnership with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, we  commissioned a second, independent survey done by one of the country’s black poplar experts.  The findings of the second survey differed from the first and it was agreed that the tree would be trimmed but retain some of its branches.

Tree Work

On 9th February 2021, work on the tree commenced under the watchful eye of Bilbrook’s District Councillor, Gary Burnett, who ensured only the minimum amount of work was done. Gary also ensured that all the wood which was removed, stayed on site so it could be used as habitats for wildlife.  Cuttings were also taken and propagated and this winter they will be planted in a new community woodland being planted in Tettenhall with a few cuttings also venturing as far as Church Stretton in Shropshire.

We also hope to plant a female of the species in Jubilee wood, so the trees can reproduce naturally.  This will help preserve this wonderful species of tree and reverse its decline.

Thank you

We wish to thank the Street Scene Team from South Staffordshire Council, Nick Mott from Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, Councillor Gary Burnett and local resident and ecologist Alan Preece for ensuring our most iconic tree will continue to live for generations to come.