Aspen Tree Information: Learn About Aspen Trees In Landscapes

Aspen Tree Leaves
aspen tree
(Image credit: hookmedia)

Aspen trees are a popular addition to landscapes in Canada and the northern parts of the United States. The trees are beautiful with white bark and leaves that turn a striking shade of yellow in the autumn, but they can be finicky in a few different ways. Keep reading to learn more aspen tree information, including how to care for aspen trees in landscapes.

Aspen Tree Information

One problem that many people come up against when growing aspen trees is their short lifespan. It’s true – aspen trees in landscapes usually only live between 5 and 15 years. This is usually due to pests and diseases, which can be a real problem and sometimes have no treatment. If you notice your aspen becoming sick or infested, usually the best thing to do is to cut the offending tree down. Don’t worry, you won’t be killing the tree. Aspens have large underground root systems that continually put-up new suckers that will grow into large trunks if they have the space and the sunlight. In fact, if you see several aspens growing near each other, odds are good that they’re actually all parts of the same organism. These root systems are a fascinating element of the aspen tree. They allow the trees to survive forest fires and other aboveground problems. One aspen tree colony in Utah is thought to be over 80,000 years old. When you’re growing aspen trees in landscapes, however, you probably don’t want a colony that puts up new suckers all the time. The best way to prevent this spread is to surround your tree with a round metal sheet sunk 2 feet (61 cm.) into the ground a few feet (1 m.) from the trunk. If your tree does fall to disease or pests, try cutting it down-- you should see new suckers very soon.

Common Aspen Tree Varieties

Some of the more common aspen trees in landscapes include the following:

  • Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides)
  • Korean aspen (Populus davidiana)
  • Common/European aspen (Populus tremula)
  • Japanese aspen (Populus sieboldii)
Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.