High above the floodplain with the wind in the canopy

Drawing poplar leaf

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Strong roots make poplars of the Rhine floodplains stand firm

The grey poplar grows quickly and straight. In just a few years, it can reach heights of up to 45 metres. Anything that grows that tall needs a firm footing. That is a challenge on the wet, soft soil of the floodplain. But with their strong roots, poplars are well anchored in the ground and have no trouble in floods or blustery winds If you listen carefully, you can hear the rustling of the breeze in the treetops.

Listen carefully and you will hear the sound of the wind

Look closely and you will see the typical fluttering of the leaves. This “trembling” is characteristic of poplars. The flattened stem of each leaf allows the leaves to start moving in the slightest breeze. Because wind blows easily through the canopy, poplars are very good at withstanding storms. At the same time, the movement of the leaves lets more light through the canopy. Compared to other tree species, the poplar also gets by with less foliage. Since it does not have to supply so many leaves with nutrients, it can grow faster. These unique characteristics have allowed the poplar to thrive in the dynamic habitat of the floodplain.

Wind and poplar - Look how the leaves tremble and the seeds fly in the wind

Source: City of Rastatt/Veronika Öder
Drawing poplar leaf

How trees grow

Drawing of three trees in different stages of growth. Small, medium, large

Trees also grow upwards. Thus, in the beginning, a small seed later becomes a large stately tree.

Drawing: tree is watered

To grow, a tree needs, among other things, a place to live, water and nutrients, besides sunlight and its leaves and, above all, time.

Drawing snow falls on a tree

How much time it takes to grow depends on the type of tree. That is, whether it is an oak, beech or spruce. It also depends on the supply of nutrients and water. In addition, the season must be right. In winter, many trees take a break from growth to save energy.

Drawing of two trees. One is small and not grown well. The other is large and thus well grown.

Some trees are in a hurry to grow tall. They grow up to one meter per year in height. At the same time, they also become thicker at the trunk. This is important for a safe stand at heights of over 30 to 50 meters!

Consider: How old can the trees mentioned here become?

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Drawing leaf and tree oak

Oaks grow quite old. They can live over 850 years, and in individual cases over 1000 years.

Drawing Baltt poplar and poplar tree

Up to 300 years old, sometimes older, ash tree grows. It can reach a height of up to 40 meters.

Drawing willow leaf and willow tree.

Poplars grow very quickly, but in return they hardly live more than 100 to 150 years.

Drawing ash leaf and ash tree

Willows are survivors. However, this requires a lot of energy. Therefore, they often do not live more than 80 to 100 years.

Drawing sheet