Tree of the Day – Black Poplar

29th November 2019

Saturday 23rd November sees the start of National Tree Week (23rd November – 1st December) and is the UK’s largest annual tree celebration, marking the start of the winter tree planting season.

To celebrate trees we are posting the ‘Tree of the Day’ with details of the trees you are likely to see if you are out and about in Greater Manchester.

Black Poplar

Did you know that there is a type of tree named after Manchester? The ‘Manchester Poplar’ is a clone (propagated by taking cuttings, not by genetic engineering!) of one of the UK’s rarest native trees, the black poplar. The wild variety is quite rare even in the south of England, where it is most frequent – only 7000 or so specimens were identified in a survey carried out in 2002.2 Its connection with Manchester originates from the 19th century, when it was found to be one of the few trees that could resist the smoky, polluted air of the city. As a result, black poplars were planted all over Greater Manchester. Poplars have separate male and female trees, and the black poplars in Manchester are generally male – these have dark red catkins in March. Because other, hybrid varieties of poplar replaced the Manchester poplar for planting purposes later in the 20th century, the surviving Manchester poplars are nearly all mature. The nearest Manchester poplars to the city centre are in St John’s Gardens at the end of St John Street off Deansgate.

Black Poplar

Trees play an incredible role in combating climate chaos by removing planet-wrecking emissions from the air around us. Despite their importance, just 13% of the UK’s total land area has tree cover (compared to an EU average of 35%).

Friends of the Earth has launched a #MoreTreesPlease campaign to double tree cover in the UK. We believe one of the best solutions to protect our environment and achieve net zero emissions (removing as many emissions as we produce) is to double UK forest by 2045, but government targets currently fall well short.

See Friends of the Earth’s briefing: ‘What’s so good about trees?

Manchester Friends of the Earth November newsletter is all about trees!

Wherever you live, trees have a wide range of benefits, which you can learn more about inside this newsletter. In our city centres, trees help absorb air pollutants and cool the air in heatwaves. In our suburbs, trees enhance the value of open spaces for exercise and recreation, improving our physical and mental health. In our countryside, trees retain moisture in the soil and thus reduce the risk of grass fires in droughts and floods after heavy rain. These are all important reasons for planting more trees here in Greater Manchester.

Manchester FoE Newsletter 2019-11