Do poplar trees have fruit to eat

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Do poplar trees have fruit to eat?

This is a discussion on Do poplar trees have fruit to eat? within the Deer forum, part of the Deer and Elk Information category, I was reading that poplar trees have fruit that some deer like. Is there any truth to this? If so where...


I was reading that poplar trees have fruit that some deer like. Is there any truth to this? If so where can I get some more information.

Other questions are what is the nutritional value and can I plant them in place of alfalfa?



Hi, Steve:

I think you're right about the fruit that some deer like. To help those of us who are having problems with deer browsing the stands, here's what my research shows:

It is possible to grow a few, young, smaller, and extra fast-growing poplar trees for deer control. The 'Kumlun' and 'Mercer' are two of the better varieties. They are self-branching, making them ideal for flanking and windbreaks. We usually use the slow-growing ‘Chinese Red Bud’, which can be trained as a multiple-trunk windbreak in a single year, when it is growing best.

The fact that deer prefer the poplar to the aspen is interesting to us. That's because the water-loving aspen are often eaten in the spring and early summer. As a deer has a drink in the early morning or late evening, it eats the aspen and the foliage is gone before morning. Then in the late fall, it eats the nutritious bark and the roots of the aspen. In the winter, it prefers the tender new sprouts of the poplar.

If we could easily get the poplar up and in place of aspen, it would help the aspen population.

Jules Simpson, "American Deer" author and outdoor writer, publisher, and columnist, among other titles, always found that the hard white buds, also called buttons, of the smaller Chinese poplar are not only the favorite part for deer to eat, but are also their favorite food in the winter, providing them with fat for the long, cold winter. For deer control, we have planted and placed growing, but very young Chinese redbud (Cercis chinensis, not including true Chinese redbud or 'Chinese flowering cherry') trees as a screening windbreak for our small-tine alfalfa and clover crop forage. The 'Naked Ladies' redbud is a slow growing, small-tine deciduous tree that is more appropriate for urban and suburban applications.

One advantage of poplar over aspen is that the buds and buds of poplar are usually highly palatable, as are the young sprouts and the leaves when the flowers are available.

Have you ever eaten 'poplar buds and flowers'? They are pretty darn good when green!

Starlings like to eat the poplar buds, and we sometimes find that if they are not eaten when they first develop, they go stale when picked or gathered, which is when we usually pick them. They are more readily available in the early spring when they are quite fresh.

These days, it is usually not a problem for most deer to obtain their preferred foods, as they are so readily available. Deer, like most other species of animals, tend to be much more opportunistic in their foraging than they are selective in what they eat.

I've also found that the acorn crop from poplar is superior to the white oak acorn crop for spawning frogs. The white oak acorns are so large that it can be a problem for the male frogs to transfer the acorns to the female frogs on their bellies. On the other hand, the poplar acorns are generally quite small, so this problem is reduced. I haven't tried to quantify this in research papers, though.

A bonus in a nutshell?

I first observed this early in my career, when I used to study frogs in the ponds around our house. We always noticed that the ponds, and the ponds on our lot, produced far more frogs during the spawning months, from about mid-May to late July, than any other season of the year. The reason is that for that short time period, the acorn crops of the white oak, or poplar, or bigtooth aspen (Populus grandiflora), or bigleaf aspen (P. tatononis), or whitemarsh ryegrass (Lolium perenne) are high in protein and essential amino acids. In turn, the frogs are better able to grow, develop, and reproduce during those months when they are available. We have had similar observations for deer. The acorn crops of the white oak, or poplar, or the bigtooth aspen, or bigleaf aspen, are also high in protein and essential amino acids.

Your yellow poplar trees (Liriodendron tulipfera) have their green buds.

We usually see the "yellow poplar" (Liriodendron tulipfera) in the South, and perhaps even some in the North. Usually, the fruits of these trees are small, green, single-seeded catkins, but occasionally, we have seen fruits that are the size of peaches and quite large. In this case, we have found that deer favor those fruits very well.

Does deer like green buds?

I just had a question re deer. I would like to plant my back acres with 3 inch stemmed white oaks. I have an area of poplar trees. Do deer like green poplar buds?

The buds on those are small. My wife has many cherry trees. She finds them good to eat, and we find them good to chew on.

I'm new to deer control, and I'd like to read as many articles as I can to learn, but there seems to be a lot missing. I was reading about a variety of small trees

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