Seasonal patterns of [14C]-labeled photosynthate distribution within two intensively cultured Populus clones with contrasting phenology (P. tristis × P. balsamifera cv. ‘Tristis no. 1′; P. × euramericana cv. Eugenei) were investigated during the establishment year. During active shoot elongation upper mature leaves exported 14C acropetally to the expanding leaves and elongating internodes, and basipetally to the stem. Little 14C was exported to lower mature leaves or lateral branches. At budset the 14C export pattern shifted dramatically in the basipetal direction, i.e., to the lower stem, hardwood cutting, and roots. The timing of budset was the primary factor determining the differences between the clones, except that in all cases Tristis exported more 14C to the roots than Eugenei. After budset lower mature leaves had a similar export pattern to upper leaves, but the quantity of 14C exported to the roots was slightly higher. The results confirm the importance of autumn foliage for root growth in poplar. Clonal differences in seasonal patterns of photosynthate distribution offer potential for the poplar breeder seeking to match a clone's growth pattern with the specific growing season of the site.