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Zone
Zones A1-A3, 1-7, 14-19, 32-45
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate

Populus tremuloides

Quaking Aspen
Salicaceae
Deciduous, Trees

POPULUS

Fast-growing, tough trees. Grown primarily and especially appreciated in interior regions with hot summers and cold winters. They don’t do as well in mild-winter areas and in coastal climates where temperature fluctuation is minimal. Trees have aggressive surface roots that crowd out other plants, heave pavement, and clog sewer and drainage lines; best suited to rural areas and fringes of large properties. Most poplars will sucker if their roots are cut or disturbed. They are subject to many pests and diseases. Despite their liabilities, some of these trees are beautiful or distinctive enough to be widely sold. Many have good fall color. Leaves of most are roughly triangular, sometimes toothed or lobed. Pendulous catkins (denser on male trees) appear in spring before leafout. Female trees later bear masses of cottony seeds that blow about and become a nuisance; for that reason, male (seedless) varieties are the best choice and are usually offered in nurseries.

Populus tremuloides

Native throughout the mountains of the West, at elevations to 9,000 ft. Generally performs poorly or grows slowly in lowlands; usually short-lived in warmer climates. Grows to 20–60 ft. tall and 15–30 ft. wide; often grows as a multitrunked tree or in a clump. Smooth, pale gray-green to whitish bark. Dainty, roundish, 2–4-in., glossy green leaves flutter with the slightest movement of air. Brilliant golden yellow fall color. Good background tree for native shrubs and wildflowers. Apt to suffer from sudden dieback or borers.

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