Forest Types of Michigan: Hybrid Popular and Hybrid Willow (E3202-12)
This bulletin highlights potential commercial applications, management, tree health and wildlife habitat issues of hybrid poplar and hybrid willow forests.
These fast-growing hybrids have been researched for decades to capture accelerated growth and vigor that can be achieved through breeding programs. Potential commercial applications include fiber for pulp production, roundwood for solid wood and engineered wood products, and feedstock for heat, power, chemicals and liquid fuel. Genetic stock from the genera Populus (poplar) and Salix (willow) comes from locations around the world. Breeding has used traditional methods — genetic engineering has not yet been employed to produce a genetically modified organism (GMO). Poplars are relatives of our native aspens and cottonwood. Willows grow best on upland soils rather than the wetlands inhabited by our native shrub willows.