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					Quaking Aspen in the Landscape

By: Heidi Kratsch, Extension Ornamental Horticulture Specialist
    Graham Hunter, Research Associate, Center for Water-Efficient Landscaping

Populus tremuloides
Quaking Aspen
                          Description: This medium-sized tree is valued for
                          it attractive white bark and breathtaking fall
                          color. This tree is also valued for the way it
                          sounds! The trembling noise the leaves make
                          with the slightest amount of wind can virtually
                          transport the listener to their favorite mountain
                          retreat. In the Intermountain West, Aspen should
                          only be planted in higher elevation landscapes
                          as it is susceptible to many different problems at
                          lower warmer elevations. Because it is by nature
                          a suckering species it should be planted where
                          that is an acceptable trait.

   •   Native habitat                  Watercourses, canyons, mountain sides.
                                       Labrador to Alaska, South to Tennessee
                                       and Northern Mexico.
   •   Soil                            Medium to course texture.
                                       pH 6.5-7. Shallow, well-
                                       drained, dry to moist.

   •   Cold Tolerance                  Very hardy, USDA Zone 1.
  •   Drought Tolerance    Low to med drought

  •   Salt Tolerance       none
  •   Sun/Shade            Full to part sun
  •   Transplanting        fair to good
  •   Propagation          Asexual reproduction and
                           Reproduction of quaking
                           aspen is primarily by root
                           sprouts, and extensive
                           clones of root-interconnected
                           trees are characteristic of the
                           species. Can be reproduced
                           by seed with 2 to 4 week
                           cold stratification
  •   Maintenance          Requires periodic irrigation,
                           high pruning because
                           profuse suckering, sheds
                           limbs. Requires protection
                           from borers.
  •   Pest problems        Poplar Borer Beetle, Black Leaf Fungus

Landscape Value:
  •   Use in the           High altitude shade tree,
      Landscape            background, screen
  •   Foliage               1.5-3”, broadly ovate, acute
                           tips, broad backs, interesting
                           sound and movement in the
  •   Inflorescence        Showy catkins, before the leaves
         o Timing           Apr   May June July Aug Sept Oct
         o Color
  •   Leaf color           Green, yellow fall color
  •   Fruit (seed heads)   white hair tufts; spring
  •   Form                 Slender tree (clone-forming),
                           globose to pyramidal head
  •   Texture              Soft
  •   Ultimate Size        20-60’ tall and 25-30’ wide
  •   Rate of Growth       Rapid
  •   Plant Community      parkland, coniferous forest,
                           aspen forest, riparian
  •   Availability         high
   •   Cultivar               'Pikes Bay' - Reported as more resistant
                              to canker. The bark is a lighter color than
                              the species
   •   Suggested plant        Aspen, Snowberry, Choke Cherry,
       partners               Lupine, Mountain Lover, Oregon Grape,

Additional Photos:

Compiled by Melody Reed

Photo credit; Graham Hunter
Mee, W., J. Barnes, R. Kjelgren, R. Sutton, T. Cerny, C. Johnson. 2003. Water Wise;
Native Plants for Intermountain Landscapes. Logan, Utah : Utah State University Press,
Michigan State University. 1999. Populus tremuloides--Quaking Aspen. Michigan State
University Extension Web Site. [Online] 1999.
USDA. 2008. Conservation Plant Characteristics for ScientificName (CommonName) |
USDA PLANTS. United States Department af Agriculture. [Online] 03 25, 2008. [Cited:
03 25, 2008.]
Wilen, Keven. 2008. Quaking Aspen. University of Washington web site. [Online] 2008.

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