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quaking aspen Populus tremuloides

Quaking aspen is a pioneer species with the widest distribution of any tree in North America. It can grow on a variety of sites, often rapidly, typically forming pure stands due to root suckering. Quaking aspen is used for a number of wood products, and provides habitat for a variety of wildlife species.

Click to see more images.range map fall color wood grain

Light
Quaking aspen is shade intolerant and is regenerated by clearcutting. Root suckering and rapid growth make this method ideal.

Water
May be found on a wide variety of soils, seeds in or root sprouts rapidly following disturbance.

Growth

Size
Small (30 to 40 feet tall) upright tree, which often occurs in thickets.

Timber Value
Quaking aspen is used for pulp, flakeboard, particle board, lumber, studs, veneer, plywood, excelsior, shingles, novelties, oriented strandboard, sauna benches, and playground structures.

Wildlife Value
The bark is eaten by meadow mice, snowshoe hares, beavers. Deer, elk, and moose browse twigs, buds, leaves. Beavers use saplings and logs for dam and lodge construction.
Attracts mice, beaver, hares, moose, elk, deer, red-breasted and yellow-bellied sapsuckers, woodpeckers, grouse

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
Foliage turns a beautiful yellow in the fall, and you have likely seen aspen in calendars. A quaking aspen stand or thicket is considered to be one clonal organism. The original ramet can be thousands of years old - much longer lived than the oldest giant sequoia. Pando is one such organism - it is a single clone that covers more than 100 acres in Utah. Pando's root system is estimated to be 80,000 years old.

Latin Meaning
Populus: Latin name / tremuloides: trembling

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Landowner Factsheets © 2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.