Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Transplant Suckers From a Quaking Aspen

By Heide Braley ; Updated September 21, 2017

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Pruning shears
  • Bucket

About the Author


Maryland resident Heide Braley is a professional writer who contributes to a variety of websites. She has focused more than 10 years of research on botanical and garden articles and was awarded a membership to the Society of Professional Journalists. Braley has studied at Pennsylvania State University and Villanova University.