Nitrogen nutrition and salt stress experiments were performed in a greenhouse with hydroponic-cultured, salt-sensitive Grey poplar (Populus x canescens) plants to study the combined influence of different N sources (either 1 mm NO3− or NH4+) and salt (up to 75 mm NaCl) on leaf gas exchange, isoprene biosynthesis and VOC emissions. Net assimilation and transpiration proved to be highly sensitive to salt stress and were reduced by approximately 90% at leaf sodium concentrations higher than 1,800 μg Na g dry weight (dw)−1. In contrast, emissions of isoprene and oxygenated VOC (i.e. acetaldehyde, formaldehyde and acetone) were unaffected. There was no significant effect of combinations of salt stress and N source, and neither NO3− or NH4+ influenced the salt stress response in the Grey poplar leaves. Also, transcript levels of 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase (PcDXR) and isoprene synthase (PcISPS) did not respond to the different N sources and only responded slightly to salt application, although isoprene synthase (PcISPS) activity was negatively affected at least in one of two experiments, despite high isoprene emission rates. A significant salt effect was the strong reduction of leaf dimethylallyl diphosphate (DMADP) content, probably due to restricted availability of photosynthates for DMADP biosynthesis. Further consequences of reduced photosynthetic gas exchange and maintaining VOC emissions are a very high C loss, up to 50%, from VOC emissions related to net CO2 uptake and a strong increase in leaf internal isoprene concentrations, with maximum mean values up to 6.6 μl·l−1. Why poplar leaves maintain VOC biosynthesis and emission under salt stress conditions, despite impaired photosynthetic CO2 fixation, is discussed.