Quaking Aspen in the Landscape
By: Heidi Kratsch, Extension Ornamental Horticulture Specialist
Graham Hunter, Research Associate, Center for Water-Efficient Landscaping
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
• Maintenance Requires periodic irrigation,
high pruning because
profuse suckering, sheds
limbs. Requires protection
• Pest problems Poplar Borer Beetle, Black Leaf Fungus
• 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
• 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
• Suggested plant Aspen, Snowberry, Choke Cherry,
partners Lupine, Mountain Lover, Oregon Grape,
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.] http://plants.usda.gov/java/charProfile?symbol=AGUR.
Wilen, Keven. 2008. Quaking Aspen. University of Washington web site. [Online] 2008.