Aspen (Populus tremuloides)

The Populus tremuloides is a deciduous medium – sized tree belonging to the family Salicaceae. Commonly known by the name of aspen. It is one of the most widespread species in the North American territory. It is a short-lived plant that in suitable conditions can reach and exceed 80 years. It has as outstanding characteristics its beautiful white bark, its attractive dark green foliage that shakes even with the slightest breeze and its golden yellow color.

Origin and Habitat

It is native to the mountainous and cold areas of North America, starting from the cold Alaska, crossing Canada and crossing the main mountain ranges of the United States of North America, until reaching the mountains of Mexico. It can be seen in the low and humid zones, as well as in the humid forests in higher lands and is a dioecious plant, with male and female flowers that appear in separate racemose inflorescences in separate clones.

Characteristics of Populus tremuloides

The Populus tremuloides is a tree that can exceed 25 meters in height. It has a long, cylindrical and smooth trunk, with low displacement, it has a short, rounded crown. Its bark is smooth and waxy, with a pale greenish or whitish tone when young, which becomes darker and striated as time passes, it has been marked by elongated ridges with a flattened upper part.

In relation to its branches, these are small, dark green or grayish, circular in cross section. Oval-shaped lenticels can be seen on its surface. Regarding the shoots, the terminal is 6 to 7 mm long, with large cocoons and slightly smaller leaf shoots. Its appearance is conical, lanceolate and close to the branch, slightly curved at the end, it has between 6 and 7 brown scales, somewhat resinous, odorless.

Its leaves are ovate and kidney-shaped, with an approximate extension of 6 or more centimeters long, sharp at their apex and circular base, toothed, green on the upper surface and a little paler on the underside, usually glabrous. The fruits of the poplar are narrow conical capsules, glabrous, that have in their interior up to ten seeds. These seeds mature between 4 and 6 weeks after flowering occurs. Seed collection is abundant every 4-5 years. The rooting of this species is superficial and its roots are spreading, succulent and particularly difficult to cultivate.

Diseases and pests

Poplar trees are prone to many diseases, including leaf spots, rusts, terrible powdery mildew, and cankers. Diseased plants often suffer from premature leaf drop as a result of discomfort. As for pests, the most common critters include caterpillars, borers, aphids, and pesky scales. Trees stressed by prolonged summers are particularly susceptible to diseases such as dieback and borers.


For best growth, it should be planted in rich, moist, full sun, well-drained soils. In the wild it grows in various types of soils, from rocky soils in the heights of the mountains to clay soils in lower places. It does well in cold northern climates, but is affected by summer heat and humidity. It does not tolerate much urban pollution.

In its habitat it is seen forming groves, where all the stems of a cluster are species of clones that grow from a single root system. Hence, large clusters may have started from a single stem. As it is a species of the dioecious type, each group of them is made up of male clones or all of female clones.

The aspen grows rapidly from seed and root suckers. As already said, it adapts to practically all types of soil, to the point that the weeds around the tree, instead of affecting it, can increase its growth in an amazing way. If planted in a group, older and damaged stems should be removed periodically to facilitate the emergence of new shoots.


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