This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
"C. S.," St. Louis, Mo., writes: "Will you, or some of your Eastern readers who are posted on the matter, have the kindness to inform me and others interested here as to the value of the Carolina poplar, and also the Balsam poplar, for street trees in densely built up cities, and as compared with other soft wooded and fast growing trees? We know of its large foliage, its rapid symmetrical growth while young; but is it fairly durable and does it retain its branches fairly well, and not dying out by degrees as it were, like the common Cottonwood and the Lombardy do?
"We seem to be reduced here to only two trees that are worth planting, and these are the soft Maple and the Buttonwood, and both have some objectionable features. I regret to feel compelled to pronounce our native White Elm a failure in all the densely built up parts of the city, although a native, and flourishing finely in all our valleys outside. The cause is a rust which sets in after the first flush of June's deep green is fairly over, which seems to hold good while the copious rains of spring and early summer last, but as soon as the heat and dry atmosphere of midsummer sets in the rusty leaves appear and become more pronounced as the season advances, until long before autumn the whole foliage becomes thin and begins early to drop, a curly stunted growth ensues, and the tree only drags out a miserable existence".
[The Cottonwood poplar gets quite yellow with rust before midsummer, just as it does West. The Carolina poplar, though closely allied to the Cottonwood, keeps clear of this, and is very freely planted about Philadelphia. It is unfortunately a rapid grower, and all rapid growers should be avoided in street tree planting, unless in very broad avenues where there is plenty of room for development. It is very pleasant for a year or two to get the benefits of a fast growing tree, but it is not long before it is too tall, and in many ways too inconvenient, and then comes the temptation to head back. This does very nicely for a year or two - after that the tendency to become strong at the top and weak at the bottom is increased. It is worse in these respects than it would have been if not cut. Besides this it becomes diseased. The end is, that within a few years after the cutting back system is commenced, the tree has become such a miserable object that it is entirely cut away. This is one great reason why, in all large cities, there are no trees where they are most wanted.
They have been there, but have been trimmed and trimmed till the early death came. There is a magnificent list of low-headed moderate growing street trees to choose from, but as long as the community insists on fast growing as a first requisite, it must rest satisfied with miserable Poplars, soft Maples and diseased Elms, for the insect attacks the last is subjected to is worse than a disease. - Ed. G. M].