Aspen is medium-sized, fast-growing native deciduous tree, with a wide distribution over Europe, Asia and Africa. A very distinctive tree, with leaves that shimmer and tremble in the slightest breeze, so that they are constantly moving and rustling. The leaves turn a rich golden yellow in autumn, and the young leaves are bronze in spring, making it attractive at all seasons. It is one of our most important trees for wildlife, supporting a wide range of insects, including the endangered Aspen Hoverfly. It suckers in the wild.
Site and soil
Aspen will grow well on all soils except very thin chalk, and thrives on exposed hillsides. It is very tolerant of long severe winters and short, cool summers.
Height and spread
Below are the approximate stages of growth, assuming sited in suitable conditions for this species;
After 10 years: 8m x 4m After 20 years: 12m x 6m
Leaf and bark
The rounded leaves have flattened stalks which cause them to flutter and tremble in the slightest breeze. They turn a luminous golden yellow before leaf fall, making it one of the best trees for autumn colour; the emerging young leaves are bronze. The bark is grey, or greenish-grey, sometimes pitted with diamond-shaped lenticels.
Flower, seed and fruit
Female catkins are green, whilst males are red and green, both around 12cm long and produced in February before the leaves open. Aspen is dioecious, the male and female flowers being on separate trees. The catkins shed woolly seed in May which is distributed by the wind.
A beautiful specimen tree with year-round interest in parks, gardens and woodland. An excellent wildlife plant. The highly absorbent wood is used for matches and for animal bedding.
Aspen is an important tree for wildlife, supporting a large number of insect and butterfly species on both the living tree and rotting wood. It is a pioneer species in re-establishing woodland, and its ability to cope with harsh conditions makes it very valuable environmentally. Deer feed on the leaves.
The main reasons for buying protection is to protect the plants against:
When it comes to deciding what protection to choose the golden rule is to choose the product dependent on which pest you are protecting against. The below will help you in deciding what height of protection you will need.
Vole, Mice 20cm
Roe Deer, Muntjac 1.20m
Fallow Deer 1.50m
Pest & Minimum Protection Height
Protection Type Where more than one size is listed, the wider diameter protection is recommended for taller, bushier plants.
Support Required Taller support is recommended for use in sandier, lighter soils and wider/stronger support should be used at exposed sites.