Do you have a Quaking Aspen in a suburban yard?
May 20, 2023 4:01 PM   Subscribe

There's a beautiful Quaking Aspen at my local nursery but apparently they like to (aggressively?) spread via suckers. Does anyone have experience with this tree in a normal suburban backyard? Is it doable?
posted by luge to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
They will definitely try to spread if they are doing well. In nature, trembling or quaking aspen grow in colonies, which share a thick root system. One stand of aspen in Utah is about 80,000 years old.

Depending on the conditions, they may or may not spread that aggressively, but that is definitely a possibility. If you eventually decide to cut an aspen down, it will definitely try to push up new suckers wherever its roots have reached (which can be a lot further than you think). I wouldn't plant one anywhere near a lawn.

As another option that's quite pretty, I'm partial to mountain ash, if your climate is appropriate and birds in your area will eat the berries over the winter.
posted by ssg at 4:28 PM on May 20, 2023

The Aspen in my front yard came over from my neighbor, so yes they will spread and grow wherever they can. You certainly can try to control the shoots but it's a constant job.
posted by jazon at 4:57 PM on May 20, 2023

When I moved into my house in 2020 there was one Quaking Aspen in my backyard. There are now 8 in that corner 3 of which are over 6 feet tall. I like it and have only removed a few offshoots. I've also been told that if you keep it to one "tree" expect maybe 30 years before it's dead.

I don't know how my neighbor next to the tree feels about it but I'm sure they have feelings.
posted by Uncle at 5:44 PM on May 20, 2023 [3 favorites]

Aspen are fundamentally different from other trees because they grow as superorganisms in clonal groves. Treating an aspen as a single tree is possible but will likely take a lot of work and the tree will be weaker.
posted by medusa at 8:47 PM on May 20, 2023 [2 favorites]

The shoots also turn into sharp stabby splinter sticks when you mow over them in your lawn.

I would avoid. If you are looking for good fall color I love an autumn blaze maple!
posted by amaire at 9:46 AM on May 21, 2023

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