How long do quaking aspen trees live

How Aspens Grow

Quaking Aspen (

Populus tremuloides)

Young aspen grove. Photo by Linnea Hanson.

Aspen are medium-sized deciduous trees, commonly 20 to 80 feet in height, and 3 to 18 inches diameter. Trees more than 80 feet tall and larger than 24 inches diameter are occasionally found. Their bark is smooth, greenish-white, yellowish-white, yellowish-gray, or gray to almost white in color. The green color is from chlorophyll in the bark. Their bark may become rough and fissured with age.

Aspen leaves are are thin, firm, and nearly round, 1 1/2 to 3 inches diameter. They are pointed at the apex and rounded at the base, with many small rounded to sharply pointed teeth along their margins. Aspen leaves are smooth, bright green to yellowish-green, dull underneath, until they turn brilliant yellow, gold, orange, or slightly red in the fall. The leave's small stem (petiole) is flattened along its entire length, perpendicular to the leaf blade. The flattened stem allow the leaves to quake or tremble in the slightest breeze; hence, their name. The leaves of young sucker aspens may be much larger, sometimes 7 to 8 inches long.

Aspen trees usually do not live more than 150 years, though they may persist more than 200 years. It grows on many soil types, especially sandy and gravelly slopes, and is quick to pioneer disturbed sites where there is bare soil. It grows best where soils are moist and sunshine is plentiful. Aspen is intolerant of shade, and does not compete well with more shade-tolerant conifer species.

Quaking aspen is an aggressive pioneer species. It readily colonizes burned areas and can persist even when subjected to frequent fires. In the Central Rocky Mountains, the extensive stands of aspen are usually attributed to repeated wildfires. It may dominate a site until replaced by less fire-enduring but more shade-tolerant conifers.

The southern-most aspen are found in central Mexico. Photo by J. Higginson.

Quaking aspen is the most widely distributed native North American tree species, growing in greatly diverse regions, environments, and communities. It occurs across Canada, through the United States, to Mexico, in a variety of habitats. In the western United States, aspen is generally found at 5,000 to 12,000 feet elevation. Aspen occurs in extensive pure stands in some areas, while in others, it is a minor component of the forest landscape. Most of the aspen forest in the United States is found in Utah and Colorado, though it is also scattered throughout all of the western states.

Aspen provide habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, including hare, moose, black bear, elk, deer, ruffed grouse, migratory birds, and a variety of smaller animals. Aspen stands produce livestock forage, biomass, and are a source for a variety of wood products. Aspens are visually appealing, as they provide contrast to the dark conifers during all seasons; and in the autumn, tourists come to the West to see the brilliant fall colors of the aspen groves.

Aspen Facts

Aspen twigs, leaves, flowers, and seeds. From DeByle, Norbert V., and Robert P. Winokur, editors. 1985. Aspen: Ecology and management in the western United States.

Populus tremuloides, quaking aspen North American distribution map. From Digital Representations of Tree Species Range Maps from "Atlas of United States Trees" by Elbert L. Little, Jr., U.S. Geological Survey.

USDA NRCS PLANTS Database: Populus tremuloides Michx., quaking aspen.


Quaking aspen seeds. Photo by B. Campbell.

Aspen reproduces both by seeds and by root sprouts, though sprouting is the most common and successful form of reproduction. Aspen produces small flowers, on catkins that are 1-2 inches long. These flowers are produced in the early spring before the leaves grow on the trees. Aspen is dioecious, with male and female flowers normally borne on separate trees. The female flowers after fertilization produce small fruit that split to release lots of tiny, cottony seeds that are dispersed by the wind. Germination occurs within a couple days of dispersal provided the seeds reaches a suitable moist seedbed. Few aspen seedlings survive in nature due to the short time a seed is viable,lack of moisture during seed dispersal, fungi, adverse day/night temperature changes, and unfavorable soil conditions.

Aspen suckers developing from an aspen root. Photo by B. Campbell.

Some of the clones in this picture are dying out in southern Utah. Photo by Linnea Hanson.

Aspen clones in an aspen grove in southern Utah, Fishlake National Forest. Photo by B. Campbell.

Aspen is noted for its ability to regenerate vegetatively by shoots and suckers arising along its long lateral roots. Root sprouting results in many genetically identical trees, in aggregate called a "clone". All the trees in a clone have identical characteristics and share a root structure. The members of a clone can be distinguished from those of a neighboring clone often by a variety of traits such as leaf shape and size, bark character, branching habit, resistance to disease and air pollution, sex, time of flushing, and autumn leaf color. A clone may turn color earlier or later in the fall or exhibit a different fall color variation than its neighboring aspen clones, thus providing a means to tell them apart. Aspen clones can be less than an acre and up to 100 acres in size. There can be one clone in an aspen grove or there can be many.

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Watch how aspens grow and reproduce by sprouting. Courtesy of D. Bartos.

As aspen stands mature, they may begin to deteriorate as openings in the forest canopy are left by dying trees. Often, in the West, aspen is replaced by conifers in the absence of disturbance. On dryer sites, aspen may revert to rangeland dominated by shrubs, forbs, and grasses. However, root suckering will generally occur in the aspen stands as they deteriorate or as they are disturbed by fire or other events. When an aspen tree dies or as light becomes available from openings, chemical signals from the tree to the roots stimulate new sprouts to start growing. Through this regrowth, an aspen clone usually lives much longer than its individual trees. Even though individual aspen trees are not very old, aspen clones can be hundreds of years old.

The Pando Clone

The Pando Clone, Fishlake National Forest, Utah. Photo by B. Campbell.

Within the Pando Clone, Fishlake National Forest, Utah. Photo by B. Campbell.

Aspens are the largest plant and have a stamp to prove it!

The largest and oldest known aspen clone is the "Pando" clone on the Fishlake National Forest in southern Utah. Also known as the “Trembling Giant”, it is a clonal colony of an individual male quaking aspen determined to be a single living organism by identical genetic markers and believed to have one massive underground root system. It is over 100 acres in size and weighs more than 14 million pounds. That is more than 40 times the weight of the largest animal, a blue whale. It has been aged at 80,000 years, although 5-10,000 year-old clones are more common.

Update (Wikipedia): Pando is currently thought to be dying. Though the exact reasons are not known, it is thought to be a combination of factors including drought, grazing, and fire suppression. The Western Aspen Alliance, a research group at Utah State University’s "S.J. & Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources", has been studying the tree in an effort to save it. The Forest Service is currently experimenting with several 5-acre sections of it in an effort to find a means to save it.

A study published in October 2018 concludes that Pando has not been growing for the past 30 to 40 years. Human interference was named as the primary cause, with the study specifically citing people allowing cattle and deer populations to thrive, their grazing resulting in fewer saplings and dying trees.

Old aspen trees get sick, weak, and die, or a fire or other disturbance might kill them. Even after they die, they provide homes and food for many small animals. The nutrients from decomposing wood and leaves return to the soil where they are used by the new generation of flowering plants and trees.

Aspens that Quake

Aspen leaves rustle in the wind. Photo by R. Lilly.

Aspen leaves are round with a flat stem. Photo by T. Rickman.

Take some time this year, during the spring, summer, or fall, and visit an aspen stand on one of our western national forests. Find a sunny spot, lay or sit down on the ground and listen to the trees whisper to one another as they make their quaking sound. The soft whispering rustle of a quaking aspen is unlike the sound of any other tree in the forest.

Quaking aspen is America's liveliest tree. With just the slightest breeze, its round leaves tremble almost incessantly, like thousands of fluttering butterfly wings.

Watch the twinkling of just one leaf. The stem, from one and one-half to three inches long, is flat and turned at right angles with the blade of the leaf. This unique leaf stem allows the leaves of the aspen to quake.

Quaking Aspen | National Wildlife Federation



Quaking Aspen

Populus tremuloides

Status: Not Listed

Classification: Plant


Quaking aspens, also called trembling aspens, are named for their leaves. Flat leaves attach to branches with lengthy stalks called petioles, which quake or tremble in light breezes. Quaking aspens regularly grow in dense, pure stands, creating a stunning golden vista when their leaves change color in the fall. The white bark is one identifying characteristic of this tree, but the bark is special for more than just its unique appearance. The bark layer of quaking aspens carries out photosynthesis, a task usually reserved for tree leaves. In winter, when other deciduous trees are mostly dormant, quaking aspens are able to keep producing sugar for energy. Deer, moose, and elk seek shade from aspen groves in summer. These same animals consume bark, leaves, buds, and twigs of quaking aspens throughout the year. Ruffed grouse are especially dependent on quaking aspens for food and nesting habitat. People use quaking aspens for fuel and to make paper, particle board, furniture, and hamster bedding. In terms of height, quaking aspens are relatively small. They are usually less than 50 feet (15 meters) tall.


Quaking aspens are the most widely distributed tree species in North America. They grow in Alaska and Canada, all the way south to Mexico. They withstand such a wide range of climatic conditions by growing at lower altitudes in the north and higher altitudes in the south. Quaking aspens are conspicuously absent from the Southeast because there are no high-elevation mountains where it can live.

Life History

Quaking aspens can reproduce via pollen and eggs that are contained in hanging flowers called catkins. However, it’s much more common for them to reproduce asexually by sending up new stems from a single root system. The combination of all of the stems and their single root system is a structure called a clone. Aboveground, the many different stems appear to be separate trees, but they are all genetically identical. Dendrologists (scientists that study trees) have a couple of simple tricks for telling one clone from another. For starters, all trees of the same clone will change leaf color at the same time in the fall. The synchrony continues in spring when the trees gain flowers and regrow leaves.

The lifespan of quaking aspens is unique. Individual quaking aspen stems usually live for about 50 to 60 years, sometimes up to 150 years in the West. However, in many cases, each tree is actually part of a much larger organism, since multiple stems can sprout from the same root system. When trees that are a part of these large clones die, they are eventually replaced with new growth. Therefore, while one stem has a relatively short lifespan, the entire clone can live for tens of thousands of years.


Quaking aspen clones are virtually impossible to kill. Individual stems can be destroyed by humans, wildlife, and disease, but the belowground root system is resistant to almost all of these factors. Pocket gophers, which feed on the roots, seem to be one of the few creatures able to curtail the growth of aspen groves. The other major inhibitor of aspen growth is fire suppression. Quaking aspens require intense sunlight to grow, but when other trees spring up in the forest, aspen stems are shaded out. Fire reduces canopy cover and allows for the continued growth of quaking aspens. While the root system will survive with little care, proper management of the stems aboveground is important, since both people and wildlife make use of the trees.

Fun Fact

A grove of quaking aspens in Utah is the largest known living thing on Earth. Nearly 50,000 stems protrude from a single root system. The entire organism covers over 100 acres and weighs 6,000 tons.


National Park Service

NatureServe Explorer

The Nature Education Knowledge Project

USDA Plant Database

Utah State University

U.S. Forest Service

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Aspen - Altai Biosphere Reserve

Peaks frozen,
The winds in the field sleep,
Aspen only
Leaves rustle.
Whispering sleeplessly,
Talk to each other,
Waves run through
The foliage is elastic.
Rowan trees sleep in the forest,
A lush maple is dozing.
Sensitive aspen
Sleep guards them.

T. Shorygina

Usually the quietest time of the day in nature is before sunrise, when not a single leaf trembles. This applies to all tree and shrub species, except for aspen. Biologists explain the shaking of aspen by its characteristic feature - very mobile leaves that move even from a weak breeze, since the leaf blades are attached to the end of a long, thin petiole, flat and strongly flattened from the sides, and, as a result, especially easily bending. The people call this tree Aspen, or Common Aspen. Aspen is the closest relative of poplar, its scientific name is Poplar trembling (lat. Pópulus trémula L.). This is a species of deciduous trees from the genus Poplar of the Willow family, up to 35 m high and 1 m in diameter. Aspen lives 80 - 90 years, and in the best conditions - up to 200. Aspen is widespread in areas with a temperate and cold climate in Europe and Asia. In Russia, common aspen is found everywhere, with the exception of the polar regions and the sultry deserts of the south. It can be found along the banks of reservoirs, in forests, along the edges, occasionally on dry sands and clearings, along ravines, swamps and in the mountains; rises to the top of the forest. Aspen grows well on various soils, forms pure aspen forests and is part of mixed forests along with coniferous (pine, larch, spruce) and deciduous (birch, alder, oak). Aspen grows very quickly, but is prone to wood diseases. Old, large and at the same time healthy individuals are a rarity.

Generic name comes from lat. pōpulus, which in antiquity meant white and black poplars, and species - from the word tremere - "tremble".

There are many different trees in the world, and each has its own "character", its own peculiarities inherent only to this species, which people have always noticed. This formed an attitude towards a certain type of tree. Despite the loyal and respectful attitude of people towards trees in general, there are trees that have a bad reputation among the people, one of these green brothers is aspen. Why does aspen enjoy an unkind reputation among the people? According to folk beliefs, Judas hanged himself on this tree after the betrayal. In Christian mythology, aspen leaves still tremble with horror, remembering the Crucifixion. It was believed that the Cross of the Lord was made of aspen, and "since then the branches of this tree have been seized with fear and tremble incessantly." Aspen has long been considered a tree that has a mysterious power. According to ancient beliefs, the aspen stake was the main weapon against evil spirits. Starting to build a hut, the peasants drove aspen pegs into the corners of the foundation. If the child suffered from insomnia, he was placed in an aspen cradle. When an epidemic of a dangerous disease approached the village, felled aspen trees were woven into the ground. Fever and bad teeth were spoken to aspen, in case of diseases of the legs they put an aspen log in the legs, and if the head ached, in the head. To prevent sauerkraut from spoiling, an aspen branch was also used. And any child knew that after the funeral of a sorcerer or sorceress, you need to drive an aspen stake into the grave. So people took care that after death the evil spirits did not come out of the graves and could not harm the living. For all Eastern Slavs, aspen has long been considered a tree forbidden for buildings: as if the devil lives in it; that aspen branches marked the windows of girls who were too arrogant or lost their innocence; and that it was considered one of the trees that people can turn into.

Proverbs and sayings the people added up not only about "good" trees, aspen occupies a corresponding place in folklore. In the ditty, no, no, and it will flash: “Oh, you aspen, aspen, you don’t burn without kerosene,” another ditty echoes: “Oh, you are an aspen, aspen, there is no wind, but you are making noise. ” Aspen is devoted to many proverbs and sayings:
- Aspen makes noise even without wind.
- Goal, like an aspen stake.
- Maxim was warming a circle of aspens.
- Trembling like a leaf on an aspen.
- The evil eye will look at the aspen - the aspen will wither.
“Oranges don't grow on aspens.
- Grew up with an aspen, and crazy with a hair.
The people did not bypass the aspen, adding riddles about it:
One tree makes noise without wind.
- No one scares, but the whole trembles.
- What kind of tree is -
There is no wind, but the leaf is trembling?

There are still many signs about aspen :
- Aspen in catkins - a crop for oats.
- When the aspen trembles, then the cattle in the field are full.
- On the aspen, the buds are large - for the harvest of millet.
- Aspen leaves lie face up - the winter will be very cold; inside out - warm; half face, half inside out - the winter will be moderate, with alternating heat and cold.

Despite the difficult attitude of people towards aspen, nevertheless, many beautiful lines are devoted to it . Our contemporary poets try to rehabilitate this tree in their poems:

– Nobody likes aspen
For timidity, for trembling leaves.
But the frost is frosty but
He suddenly took a liking to her.
He decorated it overnight
Sewing in silver color.
Glitter lace sewing
On every little branch.
Stands like a birch, white.
Didn't make the likeness arrogant.

was so nondescript And she became so beautiful!
To the liking of the frost had
Suddenly make it dim - catchy.
And happy aspen, I suppose,
Be at least a little birch. (M. Nebogatov).

Aspen was not only composed of poems, it was painted by such Russian artists as Levitan I.I. "The last rays of the sun. Aspen forest”, 1897; Vasiliev A. A . "Aspens". 2008.

Throughout the entire period of its existence and development, man voluntarily and involuntarily had to experience the properties and action of those plants that grew around him. Man gained a lot of experience in terms of the use of plants for medicinal purposes. Aspen in this regard, too, was not spared. The bark, buds, leaves and shoots of aspen are quite common medicines of natural origin, which have proven themselves in the treatment of many diseases.

Aspen has the best wood of all poplars - it has a uniform structure, purity and whiteness. This wood has qualities that you will not find in other types of wood. For example, aspen boards do not turn yellow over time, this wood is the least susceptible to wormholes, it has the property not to rot in water for a very long time. Therefore, from time immemorial in Russia, log cabins for wells or for cellars were made of aspen. For the same reason, barrels, tubs, troughs are made from aspen, and shingles are also planed on roofs, and roofs are obtained over which iron has no advantages (in Russian wooden architecture, domes of churches were covered with aspen planks). Man has found aspen a very wide application for the manufacture of household items (skis, rims for wheels, arches, skids, etc. ). Currently, aspen is used for finishing saunas, as its wood is resistant to decay and does not emit resin. From the flexible shoots of the young shoots of the plant weave baskets and furniture. Having tried almost all breeds, experts came to the conclusion that aspen is the best for the production of matches. Today, the entire match industry works on aspen wood, and aspen has become known as the fire tree.

Aspen, along with birch, is considered the pioneer of the forest, because It is these species that primarily inhabit clearings and burnt areas. Aspen in forestry sometimes turns out to be a real weed and it has to be fought hard, because. after felling, it quickly captures the vacated area, drowning out more valuable tree species. Despite the fact that aspen is considered a low-value breed, young shoots are the main food for elk, hares, deer, and beavers. Animals know about the healing properties of tree bark and carefully gnaw it in winter or eat rough young twigs, which is also useful for our pets. Zealous owners have long collected aspen buds for bird feed and knit brooms from its branches for goats, sheep and rabbits.

Interesting facts.

- For two months, the aspen grows, blooms and bears fruit without leaves. Foliage appears much later than other trees, which protects it from a possible return of cold weather. None of our trees can live and develop without foliage. The function of foliage in aspen is performed by its bark, which has a green or gray-green color.
– Thanks to the shaking of the foliage, the aspen uses the energy of the light flux to the fullest, which is clearly manifested in its unusually rapid growth.
– Foresters have recognized the economic feasibility of planting aspen, as it grows quickly, is indifferent to sudden changes in the weather and has a straight, slender trunk.
- Aspen is a tree in which one can observe such an interesting phenomenon as autumn branch fall - the tree deliberately gets rid of some branches.

Aspen is very rare in the Altai Reserve . It can be found along the northern shore of Lake Teletskoye, including the Yailyu region. Quite old plantations of aspen were found on the slopes of the river. Kairu in its lower reaches. In the mountains in the reserve, aspen rises to a height of 2150 m above sea level. seas. In the vicinity of the Baigazan cordon, aspen is rare. In the forest, aspen is clearly visible in autumn. With her first breath, the dull green grayish foliage of aspens is transformed beyond recognition - it turns reddish and then all the gloomy legends about aspen are forgotten, the aspen grove is so elegant, cheerful and festive. Together with the foliage, the forest itself is transformed, and together with the forests, the entire landscape around the cordon is transformed. Pushkin also enthusiastically exclaimed: “I love the lush nature of withering, forests clad in crimson and gold,” and it was aspen that was the culprit for the word “crimson”.

Additional information

Photo and text - Miroslava Sakhnevich

Aspen, or trembling poplar - Populus tremula.


Aspen. General form.

Aspen. View in winter.

Aspen. General form.

Aspen. View in autumn.

Aspen. Structure.

Aspen. Women's earring.

Aspen. Men's earrings.

Aspen. Unripe fruits.

Aspen. Ripe fruits.

Aspen. Leaf, top view.

Aspen. Leaves.

Aspen. Trunks.

Aspen. Trunks.

Aspen. Bark.

Other names European Aspen, Aspen Poplar, Aspen
Latin name Populus tremula L.
  • Willow family
  • Rod Poplar
Medium height up to 30-35m (according to other sources - up to 40m)
Width 9-12 m (sometimes up to 21)
Lifespan 80-90 years old (rarely up to 150). Lives a little mainly because of parasitic fungi.
  • Large deciduous tree.
  • The trunk of is usually straight, columnar, up to 0.5-1 m in diameter. The bark of the trunk is thin, smooth, gray, greenish-gray, greenish-olive or light green, with rhombic lenticels, thickens over the years, does not crack for a long time. The cracked bark on old trees is dark gray, almost black. Shoots are shiny, reddish-brown.
  • Crown ovoid or wide cylindrical.
  • Young shoots are cylindrical, rounded, without ribs or stripes, often glabrous and as if varnished, but sometimes slightly pubescent, from greenish to greenish-brown. Old branches of are strongly "broken", with clearly visible leaf scars.
  • Leaves simple, alternate, rounded or rounded-rhombic with a blunt apex and a rounded base, sometimes wider than the length of the leaf, edge with blunt teeth, wavy, on long petioles, flattened at the top (because the leaves tremble at the slightest breath of breeze) , the upper side is bright green, slightly shiny, the lower side is matte and slightly lighter. Young leaves are slightly pubescent, then glabrous. In coppice and basal shoots, the leaves can be much larger (up to 15 cm), heart-shaped or triangular-oval, with a pointed tip, serrate-toothed along the edge, often hairy on the underside (more like leaves of other poplars). Color in autumn: yellow, sometimes orange or red.
  • Flowers: male catkins - 7-15cm long, reddish; female - shorter, thinner, greenish. On many trees there are flowers of both sexes, but one of them is sharply dominated. Some trees have flowers of only one sex. Flowering in April-May (before the leaves bloom).
  • Fruits are pear-shaped oblong capsules that open with 2-4 wings and release many small seeds with silky hairs near the base (puff). Ripen in June. Flowering and fruiting annually. It enters fruiting from the age of 20 (according to other sources - from 10-12 years). The seeds mature after 35 days and are dispersed by the wind. On moist soil, they germinate in 1-2 days.
  • Dioecious plant. For good fruiting, it is necessary to have male and female trees close enough.

  • PFAF edibility rating: 1
  • Edible parts: bark, bast.
  • Aspen bark is cut into strips 40-50 cm long and dried. Taiga hunters add aspen bark to food in winter to relieve fatigue and increase endurance during long and difficult transitions.
  • In times of famine, aspen bast is dried, ground into powder and added to flour when baking bread, etc.
  • In the old days, aspen branches were always placed in barrels with sauerkraut - so that it would not ferment.
Medicinal properties is not responsible for the adverse effects of using the plant. Before using the plant for medicinal purposes, consult a specialist!
  • PFAF drug rating: 2
  • Action: hemostatic, astringent, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antirheumatic, choleretic, antiparasitic, diaphoretic and expectorant, mild analgesic.
  • Traditional medicine uses bark, young shoots, buds and leaves as medicinal raw materials.
  • leaves contain carbohydrates, organic acids, carotenoids, vitamin C, carotene, flavonoids, phenol glycosides, anthocyanins and tannins. They have a weak diaphoretic, expectorant and stimulating effect.
  • Aspen leaves are used to treat hemorrhoids.
  • Bark contains carbohydrates (glucose, fructose, sucrose, etc.), aromatic acids, phenol glycosides, tannins, higher fatty acids (capric, lauric, arachidic, behenic, etc.), bitter glycosides populin and salicin. In addition, a whole range of trace elements was found in aspen bark (in mg/kg of dry matter): 23-28 copper, 0.03 molybdenum, 0.06 cobalt, 138-148 zinc, 83-90 iron, 0.1-0. 3 iodine, 0.7-1.0 nickel. It has a weak diaphoretic, expectorant and stimulating effect.
  • Decoction of young bark is used for diseases of the kidneys, cystitis and other diseases of the bladder, urinary retention and salt deposits in the joints, gout, urinary incontinence, colitis, pancreatitis, diabetes mellitus, colds, cough, nephritis, gastritis and poor digestion, dyspepsia , diarrhea, coughing, and also as an appetite stimulant. An aqueous extract of aspen bark is used to treat opisthorchiasis.
  • Combination of antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties in aspen bark makes it promising in the complex treatment of tuberculosis, smallpox, malaria, syphilis, dysentery, pneumonia, cough of various origins, rheumatism and inflammation of the bladder mucosa.
  • Carbohydrates (raffinose, fructose, etc.), aromatic acids, tannins, essential oil and triglycerides of phenolcarboxylic acids were found in kidneys .
  • Tincture kidneys on 70% alcohol or vodka and water infusion of kidneys has pronounced antimicrobial properties and is used as a diaphoretic or anti-inflammatory for colds. An infusion or decoction of the kidneys is a popular remedy for fever, chronic colds, pneumonia and pulmonary tuberculosis.
  • Aspen wood contains nectazan cellulose, resin.
  • Young shoots, buds, bark, leaves are used as a hemostatic and astringent. A decoction of buds, young leaves, shoots is used as an antipyretic, anti-inflammatory agent for febrile conditions, gastritis. Steamed buds and leaves are applied for pain in the joints.
  • Alcohol tincture, ointment (aspen bark or ash with fresh pork fat), fresh juice is used externally to treat burns, eczema, boils.
  • According to some reports contained in parts of the plant, salicin in the human body acts like natural aspirin.
  • Medicinal raw materials of aspen are used in herbal treatment of the state of mind of people (as part of preparations that relieve fears, anxiety, anxiety).
  • Dendrotherapy. Aspen helps well with inflammation and in cases where you want to quickly get rid of mental confusion. It is necessary to avoid prolonged contact with aspen: headaches, drowsiness, difficulty breathing, nausea and even loss of consciousness may appear. Aspen is active from 14 to 18 hours and in cool weather. Aspen energy can be compared to a strong cold shower.
Pet food The leaves are fed to livestock.
Soil improvement
  • How a pioneer tree prepares the conditions for more demanding trees. Aspen leaves enrich the soil well due to the fact that they decompose faster than the leaves of other forest trees. The roots of trees that replace aspen often go deep into the soil along the paths formed from rotten aspen roots.
  • Aspen can be used to restore heavy clay degraded soils.
Landscape qualities
  • Wind resistant, suitable for wind protection (but not strong offshore winds).
  • A pioneer tree that has been superseded over time by other tree species.
  • Extremely useful for afforestation of ravines, strengthening the banks of rivers and reservoirs.
  • In the steppe zone, aspen forms dense thickets along the edges of forests, preventing representatives of steppe phytocenoses from penetrating under the forest canopy - thanks to this feature, aspen is used to create shelterbelts in the steppe regions.
  • Used for landscaping settlements as a fast-growing tree (especially the "giant" form of aspen).
  • Aspen wood does not burn well, so aspen can be included in fire plantings.
Decorative quality
  • Aspen is very decorative in spring (young leaves have a pale pink tint) and in autumn (due to the bright color of the leaves). Thus, in spring and autumn, aspens stand out very well from the rest of the forest stand.
  • There are decorative forms of aspen with weeping and pyramidal crowns.
Honey plant Bees collect pollen from aspen flowers in April, and glue from blossoming buds, which is processed into propolis. At the base of young aspen leaves there are glands that secrete nectar.
Construction material
  • Aspen is used to build houses (although according to some beliefs, aspen cannot be used for residential buildings), baths, and is used as roofing material (in Russian wooden architecture, domes of churches were covered with aspen plowshares).
  • Since wood is resistant to moisture, it is used in places of constant contact with water, for example, for the interior decoration of baths, the construction of well log cabins, etc.
Other benefits
  • The wood is light, moderately soft, elastic, white with a greenish tinge, has no heartwood, consists only of sapwood, sometimes with a false reddish-brown heartwood, rather velvety to the touch, resistant to abrasion. It pricks easily. Aspen wood does not deteriorate in water; it rots quickly in air.
  • Used in the manufacture of furniture, cooperage, plywood, pulp, paper, matches, containers, etc. The shavings go to packaging material, crafts.
  • Ethyl alcohol and charcoal are made from aspen wood.
  • A highly productive tree (by the age of 50 it produces up to 400 cubic meters of wood from 1 hectare).
  • Aspen is often used for firewood, but it gives little heat and does not burn well. Aspen wood produces a long, low-smoking flame that is suitable for making pottery and bricks.
  • The bark is used for tanning leather and as a source of yellow and green dye.
  • Attracts wild animals: young growth is a winter food for elk, deer, hares, beavers and other mammals. More than 90 species of insects associated with aspen have been identified.
  • Aspen is attributed the property to ward off evil spirits. Aspen is the strongest representative among trees that take bioenergy.

Growing conditions
Climate zones
Cold temperate, temperate, subtropical
Natural area
  • Occurs in Europe, North Africa, North America, Central Asia, China, Mongolia and Korea, in the Caucasus, in the Crimea. On the territory of Russia, it grows almost throughout the entire territory, from the Arctic Circle to the borders of the forest-steppe zone. In Ukraine, in a wild state, it is found everywhere, except for the extreme south.
  • Forms pure aspen forests - usually on the border of the forest-steppe zone. In the steppes, colonies are formed from them - aspen pegs, growing from separate seedlings and multiplying through the shoots of the root system; new stems in the colony may appear up to 30-40 meters from the parent tree. Some colonies become very large over time, spreading at a rate of about a meter per year, eventually covering several hectares. They are able to survive forest fires because the root system is located deep underground.
  • Included in mixed forests along with coniferous (pine, larch, spruce) and deciduous (birch, alder, oak, hazel, beech, linden).
  • Together with birch forms aspen-birch forests. Many aspen forests have three tiers: the main canopy of the first tier is aspen and birch, the second tier is spruce, oak, gray alder; the third is formed mainly from undergrowth. The living ground cover in these forests consists mainly of mink, zelenchuk, goutweed, oxalis, fern, meadowsweet, and nettle.
  • Grows near water - in riverine forests, on pebbly and sandy banks, along river terraces, along the banks of oxbow lakes and lakes, often forming dense thickets along streams. Grows on fellings, burnt areas, windbreaks, along forest edges, ravines. It rises up to 2400 m above sea level.
  • Suitable for light (sandy), medium (loam) and heavy (clay) soils.
  • Suitable for acidic and neutral soils. Avoids alkaline soils.
  • May grow in poor soils. Withstands soil compaction.
  • Likes moist soils, but does not like excessive soil moisture, does not tolerate waterlogging, demanding on aeration. Does not tolerate dry sandy soils.
  • In nature, it usually grows on poor, mostly acidic soils.
  • Prefers fresh, fertile loam, well drained.
  • USDA hardiness zones: 2-5
  • Frost resistant (down to -50°C and below).
Luminosity Very photophilous. Does not tolerate shading.
Moisture requirements Moisture-loving. Fairly drought tolerant.
Diseases and pests
  • It suffers from fungal diseases itself and infects other trees with them. It is easier to infect a tree whose bark is damaged. The most malicious parasitic fungi are Phellinus tremulae, Fomus (Poiyponis) ignarius. Aspen stump rot is caused by honey agaric.
  • Large gray poplar barbel (Saperda carcharias L.) inhabits thick tree trunks. Its larva gnaws through the wood, leaving large sawdust at the inlet.
  • Trunks, branches and young shoots are damaged by hares, elks, beavers and other animals.
Other The trembling of aspen leaves is almost constant (even when the air seems to be still), it doubles the evaporation from their surface. It is believed that this gives the tree a certain gain - it activates the absorption of moisture from the soil, and with it nutrient salts.

Agricultural technology
Reproduction Seeds, stumps, mainly root shoots. In nature - mostly vegetatively.
Seed propagation
  • Seeds quickly lose their viability (sprout only in moist, unsodden soil), so they are sown immediately after harvest.
  • Seeds should be sown on the surface of the soil, without covering (possible with thin mulch) - in a cold greenhouse or open ground bed.
  • Emerging seedlings should be transplanted into individual containers and grown to desired size. Plant in a permanent place in autumn or spring.
Vegetative propagation
  • Cuttings do not root.
  • Stump growth is formed only on the stumps of young aspens.
  • Felling of aspens strongly spurs the formation of root offspring: in the place of a felled tree, fifty young aspens immediately rise, which can then be transplanted to a new place.
Root system
  • Powerful, superficial. At first, it develops according to the tap type, but soon the main root stops growing and numerous lateral roots appear, which diverge in different directions from the tree by 25-30 m. An adult tree has a widely branched root system. Horizontally running roots can reach a length of 40m.
  • Produces abundant root suckers, especially when the trunk is damaged/cut, often suckers rise up to 10 m from the parent tree.
  • Horizontal roots can grow together both in one tree and with the roots of other trees, which in some cases leads to the creation of a single root system in them.
  • Another interesting feature is the ability of the roots to remain alive and ready for reproduction for many years after the death of the mother tree.
Growth rate Grows fast. In the first year, the shoots rise to 1.5-2 m. Up to 30 years old it grows very quickly and at 50-60 years old it reaches the size of a tree of the first magnitude. Already at the age of 40 reaches a height of 20 m or more.
Symbiosis Boletus mushroom.
  • In nature, aspen grows with birch, hazel, oak, chestnut, Scotch pine, beech, larch, fir, linden, gray alder and Norway spruce. The grass cover in the aspen forests consists of mink, zelenchuk, goutweed, oxalis, fern, meadowsweet, nettle.
  • Aspen is often considered a nanny tree in relation to spruce. Under the “lighter” crown of aspen, spruce is rapidly regenerating and its undergrowth is growing.
Notes Aspen has a branched and aggressive root system that can damage dams, site drainage systems, building foundations (should be planted no closer than 12m from buildings).

Collection, storage and processing

Varieties and forms