Trembling Aspen is a medium sized tree whose common name refers to its leaves that flutter in the slightest breeze. Also commonly referred to as Poplar, Trembling Aspen have white to green-ish grey bark with large horizontal black scars that does not peel. These trees propagate through an extensive system of cloning through their root system. While the above ground trees generally live for 40-150 years, the root system below ground can live for many thousands of years.
|Height and Spread
|20 – 25 m (66 – 82 feet)
|The canopy can spread up to 12 m (39 feet). The trunk generally grows 50-75 cm in diameter.
|4 – 7 cm catkins grow hanging. Whit-ish in colour.
|Early Spring, appearing before leaves.
|Although Trembling Aspen do produce seeds, primarily they reproduce through root suckers.
|Light and Water
|Very shade intolerant. Otherwise grows in a wide variety of conditions.
|Unable to tolerate saturated soil for prolonged periods. Generally likes to be well watered though.
|Termbling aspen has a wide range of ethnobotanical uses. One of the most common uses in the interior of British Columbia among the Secwepemc people is as tent poles and drying racks. The tree was also sometimes used to make dugout canoes among the Nlaka’pmx people. Due to its speed of growth, Aspen is now most commonly harvested for wood products such as chopsticks, matchsticks, and paper products.
|Trembling Aspen is an important wildlife tree in many ways. Beavers feed on the bark and shoots, as well as cut down the trees to produce dams. Due in part to how quickly Aspens rot, birds commonly nest in cavities of old or dead aspen.
|The gentle flutter of the leaves and stark contrast between the trunk and leaves can be very beautiful in a garden setting. These trees will also attract birds through providing habitat. Due to Aspens ability to quickly clone themselves through their root system one should carefully consider where to plant in a garden setting.
|While Trembling Aspen trees generally live for 40-150 years above ground, the root system below ground can live for thousands of years. As large sections of trees share a root system, one can easily see all the clones in the spring or fall as they will leaf out and change colours at the same time. Some colonies are estimated to be up to 80,000 years old.
|Propagation by seed can be very difficult. Trembling Aspen are easily cloned through root propagation though.