The quaking aspen is a thin, narrow tree that is quick-growing but has a short life span. The wood from the quaking aspen is strong, durable, and has little shrinkage. Quaking aspen does well in sandy soil and in conditions often difficult for other types of trees. Producers use quaking aspen for various commercial products from animal bedding to playground equipment.
Planting young saplings is a good way to start your quaking aspen. Quaking aspen saplings come in a dormant state for the tree's protection and adjustment. The sapling will look a lot like a dead twig with a root system. If you are worried it is not alive, scratch a little of the bark off an inch above the root system. The inner part of the stem will be moist, green, or white. Dampen the roots and plant. If it is hot and the area you want your tree is in a full-sun location, plant the sapling in a pot first and place it in a shady area where it can recover from its dormancy. After it recovers, plant it in its permanent location.
Quaking aspen trees mature and flower at two to three years of age. However, it takes as many as 10 to 20 years before they produce large seed crops. Natural seeding occurs over a 500-foot area and seedlings take hold quickly and germinate immediately when moisture is present.
Disease and Pests
The quaking aspen is prone to disease because of its thin bark. The most common disease that affects quaking aspen is cankers. Other problems include fungus, boring beetles, and forest tent caterpillars. Avoid actions that cut or bruise your trees. Fungus and cankers take advantage of wounds on the tree surface to invade the inner structure. Sprinkle a good insecticide. Fertilize around the base of the tree at the root structure in the spring with a fertilizer high in nitrogen.
Water frequently when drought occurs, especially early in the life of your quaking aspen. Avoid over-watering or under-watering; both cause drooping leaves.
Weed Control and Pets
Weeds will choke out a young sapling. Keep a constant eye on the area around your quaking aspen until it matures and weed often. The quaking aspen is not poisonous and is safe around all pets and people. Pets trampling around the base of a young sapling may destroy it before it can take root. Large animals and livestock may graze on young trees and trample the area around them.