WSU Clark County Extension

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Quaking Aspen

Scientific name: Populus tremuloides

Type:Deciduous tree
Plant Requirements
Zone:1 to 10
Sun:Full to partial sun
Plant Characteristics
Height:50 ft
Width:25 ft
Bloom:Spring flowers
Bloom Time:April
Bloom Color:Green
Additional Characteristics



Wildlife value

Description Quaking Aspen is best known as a widely grown native tree with fluttering leaves which seem to “quake” with the slightest breeze.

  Morphology :
This is broadleaf deciduous tree which grows 40’-50’ tall and attains a width of 20’-30’ at maturity. Leaves are arranged in alternate fashion and have a heart-shaped to nearly round shape. They are typically 1”-3” across and are typically thin in cross section. The leaf margins are finely serrated. As for color, they are dark green on the upper surface and lighter below. In the fall the leaves turn a very pleasing yellow color before they are shed. Leaves are borne on slender, reddish brown twigs.

This is a dioecious species with male and female trees, though some trees will have both male and female flowers. Flowers consist of hanging catkins which are 1”-3” long.

Aspen bark is smooth and creamy yellowish-white to light green when trees are younger. Mature trees will develop thick furrows and can become darker, especially near the base.

  Adaptation :
Quaking Aspen typically grows in full sun though it can tolerate light shade. It is adaptable to nearly all soil types, and can survive and even thrive on wet sites. It is considered a fast growing species, though it is short lived. Aspens spread aggressively through inter-connected root systems.

  Pests :
Leaf and shoot blight (Venturia populina) can be recognized by variety of brown to black leaf spots and blights on leaf tips and margins. These necrotic areas expand rapidly, killing whole leaves and shoots. Shoot dieback is characterized by a “shepherd’s crook” appearance of the blackened terminals. This disorder is generally worse in high rainfall areas west of the Cascades. In a landscape setting be sure to plant this tree in a well exposed site.
For assistance, contact Dr. Charles Brun (, (360) 397-6060 5701
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