Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

Differences Between Aspen Tree & Quaking Aspen Tree

...
aspen grove image by Carbonbrain from Fotolia.com

Six species of aspen exist worldwide--all belonging to the scientific genus Populus. Quaking aspen and bigtooth aspen have white bark and brilliant fall color; both provide food for black bear, deer, porcupine, beaver, elk and moose. Native Americans used both of these trees as food, grinding the dried inner bark into meal for bread or mush. Yet Populus tremuloides and Populus grandidentata are different trees with different characteristics.

Distribution

...
Aspen Autumn image by Evan Kelly from Fotolia.com

According to the Unites States Department of Agriculture, quaking aspen is the most widely distributed tree on the continent, its growth range extending from Alaska to eastern Canada and south to Mexico. Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado and Alaska each have at least 2 million acres of quaking aspen forest. On the other hand, bigtooth aspen is found largely in the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada.

Disease Resistance

Quaking aspen has thin soft bark. This makes it readily susceptible to disease as well as infestations of insects, most notably the poplar borer beetle and forest tent caterpillar. Because bigtooth aspen has harder bark that grows thicker as it ages, it is more disease-resistant than quaking aspen. However, bigtooth aspen does suffer from Hypoxylon canker, and fungi and root decay can also attack the species.

Physical Descriptions

...
fall aspen leaf image by Mike & Valerie Miller from Fotolia.com

Both bigtooth and quaking aspen are deciduous trees with straight trunks and gently ascending branches. Bigtooth aspen can be distinguished from quaking aspen by its leaves; they are bigger and marked with large, irregular teeth on the leaf margins. Bigtooth aspen can reach heights of 60 to 80 feet, while the quaking aspen is typically closer to 50 feet. Even the root systems differ; bigtooth aspen roots are shallow and spreading, while quaking aspen roots can extend downward over 10 feet.

Related Articles

Types of Deciduous Trees
Types of Deciduous Trees
Facts About the Gumball Tree
Facts About the Gumball Tree
Douglas Fir vs. Balsam Fir
Douglas Fir vs. Balsam Fir
What Is the Difference Between a Horse Chestnut & a Chestnut Tree?
What Is the Difference Between a Horse Chestnut & a...
Trees Similar to the Birch
Trees Similar to the Birch
South Carolina Tree Leaf Identification
South Carolina Tree Leaf Identification
Are Redwood Trees Naturally Bug Repellent?
Are Redwood Trees Naturally Bug Repellent?
The Differences Between Redwood and Sequoia Trees
The Differences Between Redwood and Sequoia Trees
What Is the Difference Between White Oak & Red Oak?
What Is the Difference Between White Oak & Red Oak?
Do Pine Trees Have a Taproot?
Do Pine Trees Have a Taproot?
Fast Growing Trees in North Carolina
Fast Growing Trees in North Carolina
Identifying Walnut Trees
Identifying Walnut Trees
Identification of Hickory Trees
Identification of Hickory Trees
What Is a Poplar Tree?
What Is a Poplar Tree?
Garden Guides
×