Populus alba

Silver poplar

Also known as:

White poplar

Family: Salicaceae

Origin: Eurasia, North Africa

Silver Poplar young leaves on branches.
Also known as white poplar, new leaves have white undersides. It can appear silver when being moved by the wind.

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Not a legally declared pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Deciduous suckering tree < 25 m tall. Bark is grey and smooth or slightly fissured. Leaves are < 10 x 9.5 cm, lobed or toothed, alternate, green on top and white underneath. Flowers are pale, drooping, < 8 cm long catkins borne in September. Capsules contain cotton-like white seeds.

What you need to know

Although silver poplar is not a legally declared pest plant, it may still be invasive in some situations. Consider lower-risk alternatives for your garden, such as native plants.


Riparian margins, forest, coastal dunes, grassland, pasture, swampy ground, wasteland.


Does not produce viable seed. Vegetative spread from suckering. Human-mediated dispersal through dumping of garden waste, deliberate plantings and movement of contaminated soil.

Impact on environment

Can form dense stands, preventing native seedling recruitment. Roots may clog waterways.


Site Management

Always treat standing plants, do not cut down as trees will coppice. Allow to fully die before felling. Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out.

Plant parts requiring disposal: All parts.

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill.


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications: Cut stump and paste freshly cut base of stems with metsulfuron gel.

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user: Drill and inject trees with 10g metsulfuron-methyl per 1L of water if safe to do so. Drill 18mm holes (tangentially angled downwards) in a spiral up the trunk.

For 50mm stems drill one hole. For 100mm stems drill two holes. For larger stems drill holes 150mm apart. Foliar spray seedlings with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant.

Safety notes

Large trees must not be drilled that are closer than 1.5 times the height of the tree from paths, walkways and property.

Trees over 4 metres in height should be removed by a qualified arborist.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Silver poplar growing wild by the road.
Dense stands of silver poplar can form as roots can sucker and grow new trees. They can be single trunks or multi-stemmed trees.
Photo credit: Jackie Miles and Max Campbell
Silver poplar trunk.
This is a fast growing poplar growing up to 25m tall. A tenacious tree that can regrow from underground roots if they are cut or disturbed.
Photo credit: Jackie Miles and Max Campbell
Silver Poplar sapling.
Care must be taken when controlling silver poplar to ensure the root system is removed or poisoned. Hand pull small saplings or fell mature trees and apply herbicide to stumps.
Silver Poplar leaves on tree trunk showing undersides.
Silver poplar leaves are bright to dark green on the top and are covered in many small white hairs underneath making them look silver.