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Lawn & Garden

American aspen, Populus tremuloides

looking up through the crown of an aspen.

Common Name: Quaking aspen

Type: tree

Family: Salicaceae

Zone: 1 to 6     Find Your Zone

Height: 20 to 50 feet

Width: 10 to 30 feet

Bloom Time: April (insignificant)

Sun exposure: full sun

Fall Color: goldish yellow

Soil: rich Humusy, well drained

Leaves: deciduous


These trees come as males or females. These plants grow as colonies which are all clones which come from the roots of 1 tree usually. This tree grows as far north as Alaska, through Canada and throughout most of the United States and has incredible white bark, and brilliant goldish yellow fall color. It is because of this, that it is said to be one of the most photographed trees in the country. It also is not a city tree so much as it does not deal with pollutants in the air well. In the right environment you can expect up to 5 foot of growth per year.

The name quaking aspen comes from the sound that the tree and leaves make whenever there is the slightest wind blowing. The trees are said to be whispering to each other. I can confirm that as the aspen groves in Montana were incredible to be around. Because these groves grew in open fields, big cats and bears would hide in these groves and ambush their prey as they passed by. It was truly an experience that I will never forget.

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STEP 1: Digging the hole

  • Find a location that has suitable sun exposure for your particular type of plant.
  • Dig your hole an inch or two shallower than the rootball of the plant.
  • Dig the hole twice the diameter of the rootball.
  • Scuff up the sides of the hole with a shovel to help roots break through the native soil.

STEP 2: Putting plant in hole

  • When removing the plant from the pot, check to see if the roots were circling the pot.
  • If the plant is rootbound, gently break up the roots with your hands until loosened up.
  • Set plant level, in the center of the hole.
  • Make sure the top of the rootball is just above soil level.

STEP 3: Amending the soil and filling in the hole

  • Amend the soil with proper amendments for your soil type. 
  • Incorporate 50% native soil with 50% amendment soils like garden soil, composted manure or soil conditioner.
  • Make sure dirt clods are broken up or removed from hole along with rocks.
  • Fill the hole with soils to the soil level and pack down. Do not cover top of rootball with dirt.
  • Water in thoroughly to remove air pockets.

STEP 4: Mulching and fertilizing

  • Cover the planting site with at least 2 inches of the mulch of your choice (pinestraw, cupress mulch,etc.)
  • High Phosphorus root stimulator fertilizers like Quick Start from Miracle Gro are great to use at time of planting.
  • When planting trees, a tree stake kit may be required to prevent the wind from blowing over or breaking our newly planted tree until it becomes established.

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Posted 2015-10-04T17:15:18+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL Ingar_HD_ATL