A Helpful Hint (At Least I Think So)

I hate poplar trees.  Yes, hate is a strong word.  Yes, I hate them.

If you are unfamiliar with the poplar tree, as I had been before moving to this house, let me tell you about them.  They are very fast growing trees and their leaves pop early in the season.  They are male and female trees, and therefore one produces pollen strings and one produces sticky pods (I don't know which does which) and I suppose that's how they pollenate and make new trees.  I didn't look into it that closely, but closely enough last spring in order to figure out what was going on in our yard.

The back part of our yard was totally overgrown- vines, small trees, poison ivy, you name it it was back there.  We spent all last summer clearing it out and this year we are working to landscape it.  Anyway, while we were back there for a few weeks in early spring, everything was getting covered in those sticky pods- our shoes, clothes, anything with wheels, the dog.  They stick and leave behind lovely yellow sap.  Which stains your clothes.  And sticks to your wood floor.  And your carpeting (which luckily we didn't care about).  The hate was born.

The big tall ones.  Don't let their nice green appearance fool you.
Fast forward to this year and we just went out back today to do some work and the pods are everywhere.  So our shoes are covered, the mower, the wheelbarrow, the dog.  However, this year I am reacting more quickly to the mess because the toddler is now very, very mobile, and his tan cordouroys (which I didn't even think about!!!!!) ended up with yellow sap all over them.  So there's me and Google:  "How do you remove poplar sap?" And I found this great, quick article that tells you how to get it off of your skin, clothes, hair, and car: rubbing alcohol.  It worked great on my hands because we didn't think about it and Casey the poodle with her long, curly hair was running around out there and she laid in them.  So there's me and the dog brush, picking them out of her hair, hands covered in sap.  She's not thrilled with me right now.

What I pulled off the dog
It also seemed to work on the clothes.  They are in the wash as I'm writing this, but it looked like it took the bulk of the yellow out of both the toddlers cords and my jeans.  That's better than last year- I still have some shorts with yellow marks on the seat that never came out (which I have to tell you is not a good look).  So I will hate the trees for a few weeks each spring, but at least I have a defense against the sap.  In the meantime, I think the trees should try and come up with a better pollination system.


  1. Oh wow, that's a lot of pods! I love the look of poplar trees, but I agree, those sticky pods would be majorly annoying.

  2. My palm trees back home did the same type of thing. I ruined a pair a cute boat shoes trying to scrape the sticky berries off the soles! I hope the poplars don't last too much longer for you... tell them to hurry up with their breeding!


  3. Oh my word! So glad I don't have any by me! Hopefully it gets better soon!

  4. I know! I never knew of such a thing, and they are such a pain. Luckily it isn't for too long- the wind and rain will take care of them, but for now it's just messy. I'm not fond of acorns, either, but at least those are dry and relatively easy to pick up!