Table of contents:
- Why did they start planting poplars in cities at all?
- Is it a mistake or thoughtlessness?
- Is it allergic to fluff or not?
- How can the situation be rectified?
Video: Poplar Terror
In 2010, winter showed its cool temper with frost and February snowfalls, the beginning of spring - with a sharp lack of water, and summer began earlier than usual by at least 2 weeks. The abnormally warm April gave a start to the rapid development of greenery - already now, in the first ten days of June, ovaries hang on apple trees and pears, the size of which corresponds to the fruits of mid-late June, at the same time this year lilacs, bird cherry trees, mountain ash blossomed, and the leaves on the birches turned into Moscow already in the last decade of April. And, of course, the poplar made itself known, and how it did!
Based on long-term observations of the development of poplars, it has been established that the emergence of down begins in early June and lasts about 2 weeks - but this occurs in normal, not abnormal climatic conditions. Take a look - outside the window, a downy blizzard sweeps up the sun glare, city greenery, chipped streets … and this disgrace began in mid-May !! The lawns are covered with a white blanket, with every step the fluff soars from under our feet, flies in the air, does not allow breathing …
However, according to experts, such a picture was already observed in the 70s. But it doesn't make it any easier for us. Let's see why many of us are hostile to poplar fluff and, in general, to poplar itself.
Why did they start planting poplars in cities at all?
Poplars have been used in urban greening since 1946. After the Great Patriotic War, it was necessary to restore the appearance of Moscow as quickly as possible and replace the lost trees. It should be noted that earlier, coniferous and deciduous tree species - spruce, pine, larch, birch, bird cherry, apple, maple, ash, elm, oak, were used in landscaping to create parks, gardens, shady zones, hedges and protective belts - shrubs - lilac, hawthorn, mock orange, acacia, bladder and some other species, and poplar was not used for these purposes.
The lost mature trees had to be urgently replaced with something. Dendrologists proposed Balsamic poplar - it is distinguished by its rapid growth, dense crown, ease of reproduction, resistance to urban conditions, decorative appearance, occupies a smaller area than other trees, due to the compactness of the crown, is relatively cheap. The proposal was considered, the landscaping program was approved by Stalin, and poplars came to Moscow and began their triumphant march across the country. And by the way, they performed their task perfectly. But…
Is it a mistake or thoughtlessness?
As a result, the inhabitants of the whole country are doomed to eternal "downy" flour. Why did this happen? And - the eternal question - Who is to blame?
Did the scientists make the wrong choice? The answer is no, not wrong. So what's the deal then?
Poplar is a dioecious plant, that is, it has male and female trees. The males bloom, giving pollen, pollinating the females, and the females are already giving seeds, equipped with downy flies - the hated fluff.
A reasonable question - Was it really impossible to land only male specimens?
So that's exactly what was done! Only male plants were planted - and this was a fatal coincidence. Nature cannot be fooled, and this is perfectly shown by the example of poplars. It is known that plants, some animals and insects in certain situations, adapting to living conditions, are able to change sex. After all, the trees had to multiply, so they found a way out. To everyone's horror and displeasure, botanists, dendrologists, and other industry experts have observed the appearance of female earrings on male poplars, on branches next to male flowers.
By the way, it should be clarified. Poplar fluff is not flowers, but poplar seeds. Poplar blooms even before the leaves appear, its male catkins appear immediately after the buds burst.
Is it allergic to fluff or not?
Doctors-allergists in chorus refute all attacks on poplar, claiming that poplar fluff does not cause allergies, but can provoke. The summer of fluff coincides with the period of flowering of grasses, birch, linden and other plants, the pollen of which causes very unpleasant and even life-threatening allergic reactions in sensitive people. And down is a carrier of pollen, various pathogens, man-made pollutants.
The down itself is also unpleasant, being a purely mechanical irritant - in the heat it sticks to the body, tickles, climbs into the nose, ears, under glasses. Agree, there is little pleasant.
Moreover, life in the city is full of troubles even without fluff.
People suffering from hay fever, a reaction to pollen, can be advised not to leave the house without a gauze bandage, not to keep the vents and balcony doors open for a long time, to use medications prescribed by a doctor for allergies and in no case to self-medicate with herbal infusions and decoctions - so you can instead relief to worsen your condition dramatically.
But the harmfulness of fluff is not only this. It penetrates the premises, accumulating in the corners in lush drifts and heaps, adding to the hassle of cleaning. The fluff themselves are dry, volatile, weightless, very flammable. Pooh is a fire hazardous agent, and one unextinguished cigarette butt thrown into the trash can lead to a fire. And children often amuse themselves by throwing lighted matches to the fluff.
How can the situation be rectified?
The only way, in my opinion, to radically change the situation is to replace the Balsamic Poplar and the Pyramidal Poplar with other, non-fruiting, types of poplars, for example, Berlin Topol, within a few years. True, the utilities do not want to hear about this, citing the excessive cost of the event and the lack of funds. Choosing a suitable culture for replacement is, of course, not an easy task. How not to burn yourself again. But this must be done, otherwise the torment will last further.
It is possible and necessary to carry out competent pruning of poplars, forming them "from young nails" into a tree with several skeletal branches, and not into one bare trunk with thin branches, as is done now with already adult, 50-60-year-old trees.
The now used pruning, carried out in spring, autumn, and even in summer (which in principle is unacceptable), forms a "log" with thin branches.
It is clear that with such barbaric pruning, the townspeople are freed from fluff for about 5 years, until the young shoots mature.
However, firstly, such pruning is life-threatening. The fact is that the formed thin numerous twigs, densely or rarely dotting the places of the cuts, are very fragilely attached to the trunk and, subsequently thickening to the diameter of an adult's hand, break off, crippling and killing people, damaging cars, blocking up yards, pedestrian streets and highways … The danger also lies in the fact that the root system of old poplars is very weak, the tree is unstable, and any sharp and strong gust of wind can turn the poplar upside down. Such cases, alas, are not rare.
Secondly, such "logs" do not add aesthetics to the city and are less effective in improving the ecological situation.
In the meantime, residents of cities can only put up with the current situation and annually experience the poplar terror.
Photo by the author