How to Plant a Quaking Tree


The quaking tree is usually called the quaking aspen or the trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides). It is given this name because the leaves to appear to quake in the wind. Quaking trees are deciduous, medium-sized trees that usually grow to between 20 and 80 feet tall. In the western United States, quaking trees are commonly found growing at altitudes between 5,000 and 12,000 feet, according to the United States Forest Service. Plant a quaking tree where it can be given ample room to grow and provide it rich, well-draining soil.

Step 1

Choose a suitable planting site for the quaking tree. The ideal location is in full sun, and well away from other trees or structures.

Step 2

Dig a planting hole for the quaking tree that is three times the diameter of the growing container, if you are planting from a 1-gallon pot. If you are planting from a 3- or 5-gallon planting pot, dig the planting hole twice the diameter and approximately the same depth of the growing container. If planting in clumps, or in a row, space each planting hole between 8 and 10 feet apart.

Step 3

Lay the container on its side, being careful not to break or crush any of the branches. Starting at the bottom of the container, at a drain hole, cut along the sides of the pot all the way to the rim. Use a pair of all-purpose snips to do this. Make several cuts along the pot, until you can easily extract the quaking tree from its growing container.

Step 4

Amend the soil you removed from the planting hole if the soil is rocky or sandy. Mix into the soil approximately 1/2 to 1 cubic foot of dehydrated compost or aged manure.

Step 5

Rough up the root ball on the quaking tree. Spray water along the root system to remove approximately 1 inch of soil from all around the root system.

Step 6

Plant the quaking tree into the previously created planting hole. Ensure that the quaking tree is sitting at an appropriate level. The top of the root system needs to be sitting at or slightly above the adjacent garden soil, approximately 1 inch. Remove the quaking tree from its planting hole and scoop in a few shovelfuls of soil if necessary until you are sure it is sitting at an appropriate level.

Step 7

Scoop in soil to secure the quaking tree in its planting hole. Inspect the tree to make certain it is sitting vertically in its planting hole. Fill the planting hole 1/2 full of soil. Firm the soil down around the root system using your foot. Pour 2 to 3 gallons of water into the hole then fill the rest of the hole full of soil as soon as the water has fully dissipated.

Step 8

Create a berm of dirt, approximately 3 to 4 inches high and about 24 to 36 inches in diameter around the quaking tree. Fill the berm with water slowly, so the water can reach down to the root system of the quaking tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Quaking tree
  • Spade
  • Soil amendment
  • All-purpose snips


  • United States Forest Service: Quaking Aspen
  • Quaking Aspens
Keywords: planting quaking aspens, growing populus tremuloides, planting Populus tremuloides

About this Author

Katelyn Lynn is a certified holistic health practitioner who specializes in orthomolecular medicine and preventative modalities. She also has extensive experience in botany and horticulture. Lynn has been writing articles for various websites relating to health and wellness since 2007. She has been published on She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in alternative medicine from Everglades University.