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How to Kill Aspen Trees

By Sommer Leigh ; Updated September 21, 2017
Kill an aspen tree using chemicals.
old aspen in winter 2 image by Chris Bibbo from Fotolia.com

The aspen tree, commonly known as quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), grows 40 to 70 feet high with a white trunk that spans 1 to 2 feet in diameter. These large trees, which are challenging to remove because of their large size, pose another removal challenge due to their reproduction abilities. Aspens naturally sprout to spread throughout an area quickly, especially after tree is weakened by removal. When cutting down an aspen, it's important to kill its root system or it will continue to send up sprouts.

Cut down the aspen tree by making a V-shaped undercut at the tree's base with a chainsaw. Cut to only about one-third of the trunk's diameter. Make a back cut on the opposite side slightly above the V's intersection, equal in width to the undercut. Maintain a small amount of wood in the middle to create a hinge. If the tree is already removed and you are working with an old stump, make a fresh cut on the stump.

Move away from the tree as it starts to fall.

Apply a herbicide containing triclopyr or glyphosate to the stump's cut tissue. Follow the application directions provided with the herbicide.

Cut down sprouts every time one emerges with a pair of garden shears. Spray the herbicide on the sprout's open wound.


Things You Will Need

  • Chainsaw
  • Herbicide
  • Garden shears

About the Author


Sommer Leigh has produced home, garden, family and health content since 1997 for such nationally known publications as "Better Homes and Gardens," "Ladies' Home Journal," "Midwest Living," "Healthy Kids" and "American Baby." Leigh also owns a Web-consulting business and writes for several Internet publications. She has a Bachelor of Science in information technology and Web management from the University of Phoenix.