How to Transplant Suckers From a Quaking Aspen


The Quaking Aspen tree is aptly named. Every little breeze causes its leaves to quiver, making it look as though it is trembling. This short-lived tree is native to North America and often sprouts up after fires ravage a forest. Many animals forage on its leaves and branches It can be planted as an ornamental tree from the suckers that tend to sprout from its roots, especially if you are interested in attracting butterflies and hummingbirds to your yard.

Step 1

Move away the dirt from around the base of the sucker so that you can start to see the roots. You should be able to see the mother tree's root running under the sucker just an inch or two under the soil. Cut away the root on both sides of the new plant with your pruning shears.

Step 2

Slide your shovel under the little roots of the sucker tree, trying to save as many as possible. The quaking aspen is hardy and should weather getting a few roots severed without any lasting problems. Lift the tree and roots from the ground and set in a bucket to transport.

Step 3

Prepare the new spot by loosening the soil and adding some compost to the site. The quaking aspen will grow in just about any soil except where there is standing water but it will thrive in well-drained loamy soil with full sunlight. Make a hole as deep as the roots are long and a little wider than the root mass.

Step 4

Set the sucker tree in the hole and hold it straight. Backfill the dirt back into the hole around the roots and tamp it in place with the heel of your boot. Water the tree with a good soaking to settle the dirt in around the roots. Water every few days until you see new growth appear.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Pruning shears
  • Bucket


  • University of Minnesota Extension: Regenerating Quaking Aspen:
  • University of Texas at Austin: Populus tremuloides Michx.
Keywords: transplant quaking aspen, quaking aspen suckers, cloning aspen trees

About this Author

Based in Maryland, Heidi Braley, currently writes for local and online media outlets. Some of Braley's articles from the last 10 years are in the "Oley Newsletter," "Connections Magazine," GardenGuides and Braley's college life included Penn State University and Villanova University with her passions centered in nutrition and botany.