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Aspen tree

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Aspen Tree

Everything you need to know about the aspen tree, starting with tips on how to identify it through to typical characteristics; how to spot typical disease and pests and the best way to maintain a rowan tree.

The aspen tree is a fast-growing UK native deciduous tree which grows abundantly throughout Europe, Africa and Asia.

Aspen is a particularly striking, eye-catching tree with leaves that shimmer and appear to ‘tremble’ in the breeze due to their flat stems. Its Latin name, Populus tremula, literally translated means ‘trembling poplar’ and the tree is also known as the ‘quaking aspen’.

This tree grows commonly in parks and gardens and is a popular woodland specimen where it is a valuable habitat for wildlife and insects including the endangered Aspen Hoverfly.

General Facts

 

Known asAspen
Latin namePopulus tremula
LocationUK native, Europe; Africa; Asia
FoliageDeciduous
LifespanUp to 150 years

Characteristics

 

HeightUp to 25 metres
SpreadMore than 8 metres
AppearanceA large deciduous tree with a broad crown. When mature, the trunk often becomes covered in lichen and the higher branches tend to bow horizontally.
LeavesIn autumn, aspen leaves turn from their springtime bronze hue into a rich, golden yellow. Leaves are rounded and appear to tremble in the breeze.
FlowersMale aspen trees bear woolly grey catkins and female trees bear green catkins.
FruitFemale catkins ripen to release small, fluffy seeds during the summer.
Found inParks, gardens and ancient woodland and heathland

Conditions

 

Ideal soilMoist but well drained chalk, clay, sand or loam
Soil pHAcid, alkaline, neutral
AspectNorth, south, east or west facing
ExposureFull sun (shade intolerant); sheltered or exposed

Threats

 

PestsLeaf beetles, sawflies, caterpillars
DiseasesBacterial canker, leaf rust, poplar scab, honey fungus, silver leaf disease

Aspen Trees and Wildlife

The aspen hoverfly and gall midges are attracted to dead aspen wood. In turn, these insects a healthy diet for birds and ladybirds. Birds such as the woodpecker nest in deadwood cavities and beavers are particularly partial to the aspen.

Aspen Tree Symbolism and History

The Greek name for aspen, Aspis, means ‘shield’ which was one of the various traditional uses of its timber. It is said that an aspen leaf crown will give the wearer the power to visit and return safely from the underworld.

The Importance of Aspen Trees

Aspen wood being naturally lightweight is commonly used to make paddles, oars and surgical splints.

Caring for an Aspen Tree

The aspen tree benefits from regular shaping to maintain its appearance. It is also important to remove damaged, diseased, congested or crossing shoots in order to keep the tree healthy and again, boost its appearance. Shaping is best carried out during the winter whilst the tree is in its dormant phase, otherwise sap bleeding can lead to disease. Dangerous branches can be removed at any time of year.

Because the aspen tree produces suckers fairly vigorously which are prone to growing into new plants which then compete with the main tree for water, nutrients and light, it is important to ensure these are removed. This should be done in such a way that the regrowth is reduced. Suckers left to grow out of control can result in the tree having to be cut down. Sucker removal is best done during the late autumn or winter.

Always engage a qualified tree surgeon. They will provide you with tailored pruning advice based on your individual tree, its condition and its surroundings.

For more about aspen tree pruning, follow this link.

If you have an aspen tree that needs expert care and attention, why not contact T.H. Tree Services? As fully qualified and highly experienced tree surgeons, we can offer detailed skill and knowledge across all aspects of aspen tree care. For a free, no-obligation quotation, call us on 01268 642814 or get in touch here.

Fantastic service

Polite, professional and tidy.The team were punctual, very polite, kept me well informed of what they were doing, anything I asked them wasn’t an inconvenience.Service with a smile and the tidy up job was fantastic too.I would certainly recommend TH Tree services and happily use them again.

Hi Mrs Easton, thank you for leaving a lovely review. The team are really pleased they come across professional and friendly.

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