Populus tremula 'erecta'
This is one of my first batch of aspen. You can see how the new leaves come in red. This one is 4-5 feet tall.
Swedish aspen is the tree for fast growth in small spaces.
- 3-5 feet per year.
- Only gets about 3 feet wide.
- Very little suckering compared to other poplar.
- No fluff.
- Good on heavy clay soils.
- Plant by front sidewalk and driveway as partial screen. (Recommend 6' foot spacing)
- Acreages: Set back from driveway on 15 foot spacing for a formal 'Avenue of columns' entrance.
- Quick privacy screen. (Best practice: Alternate with a tall shrub. Swedish aspen lose their lower branches as they get older when grown close enough to touch.)
- Windbreak: Use as one row when space is restricted. Provides shelter to establish better, long term windbreak trees such as white spruce.
Pricing: All our Swedish aspen are 8/foot. So a 10 foot tree is 80 for a single tree. Delivery is available. Click on the phone or email icon below our logo to contact us for this tree.
Swedish Aspen is a cultivar of European trembling aspen with a much more acute node angle. The branches ascend almost parallel to the trunk. This makes for a tree that is shaped like a candle flame. Very striking.
A fine example of a mature Swedish Aspen starting to turn colour in the fall. In an open sunny location like this, Swedish Aspen will hold on to their lower branches.
Because of it's size, it is ideal for use on small yards, and can be used fairly close to the house. It's tall upright habit make it formal looking. Because it's a poplar it grows fast. It is a good tree to plant while you wait for your other trees to get big.
The poplars are dioceious -- male and female flowers are on separate plants. All Swedish Aspens are male. Some pollen in the spring. No fluff later.
Swedish Aspen is FAST. With good growing conditions, (keep damp, fertilize lightly in October and June) it will grow 5 feet a year, once established. Even the first year in it's new home they often put on a two feet or more.
Like all poplar, it needs lots of sun. -- at least 6 hours a day of full sun. Do some careful checking before planting in the narrow canyons between large houses on small lots in some modern developments. White or light coloured siding on the north side of these suburban canyons can help.
Also like all poplar it sheds it's lower branches when they are shaded. Basically, the tree is abandoning unproductive food factories, and concentrating it's resources on the more productive leaves near the top.
Swedish Aspen in a residential neighbourhood. This tree is on the north side of fence. Getting steady shade, it's dropped all branches that are shaded by the fence.
Some garden centres will claim that Swedish Aspen does not sucker. Not true. While it is less prone to suckering than many of the poplar family, it will sucker when its roots are damaged. If you plant a flower bed that gets regular shovel work near an aspen, you will get suckers in the flower bed. You will also get occasional suckers in the lawn, but these are dealt with by the mower.
Finally a warning: Poplar roots are invasive. They will find their way through small cracks in pipes. This can be a problem with older sewer lines (non-plastic) as the joints on these frequently leak. It can also be a problem if you have weeping tile near the surface. Weeping tile at the foot of a basement foundation is not usually at risk from poplar. Their roots are mostly right at the surface. For obvious reasons they should not be planted on or near septic fields. This is not a problem with poured concrete foundations. It is not a problem with water lines, or ABS (black plastic) sewer lines.
Swedish Aspen leaves aren't green when they open. Rather they are rusty orange to red. The leaves open without any chlorophyll, but with some of the carotenoids (xanthophyll -- yellow & lycopene -- red) and anthocyanins (red, purple pigments) in place. In cool weather they will maintain this colour for one to two weeks. In warm weather it lasts only a few days. This same red pigment on some years gives the fall foliage a pink colour.
The leaves when first open can range from dark red to rusty orange. Notice how thin and fragile the leaf looks. It will fill in a few days.
With exposure to warm temperatures and sunlight, the chlorophyll factories start up, turning the leaf green.
Ok. I need a pic of a green leaf. Stay tuned.
I do NOT recommend Swedish aspen as a screening tree.
As mentioned above, the lower branches are shed when shaded. Planted close together, the lower branches are more quickly shaded. 10 years after you plant them, the trees are 25 -35 feet tall with branches only on the top half of the tree. The effect is about as private as a barb wire fence.
The elegance of this tree is its narrow shape. In a screening row, you lose this, and just get a green wall. Plant a row of arborvitae if you want a green wall. They are good at walls. (Sorry, I don't have arborvitae)
I lose sales because of this advice. At best I sell half the trees I could. So be it. It's important to me that you get the right tree, and use it in a way that is beautiful. In the long run, I figure that giving the best advice I can will pay off.
My opinion for better ways to use Swedish Aspen.
For the small lot owner:
Put up a fence. This gives you immediate screening. Plant one aspen at the midpoint of each fence section. In 5 years you now have a set of stately green columns, with much of the effect of an ancient Greek temple.
Variation. Add a vine -- clematis, or virginia creeper to cover the fence. This has the advantage that you can use cheap fence -- 2x4's and chicken wire will work.
Variation. Plant sunflowers every foot between the aspen. They will give you a privacy screen by mid summer, and the chickadees will thank you if you leave them up in the fall.
Plant a pattern with aspen alternating with one or two shrubs. Pick shrubs that are tall enough to provide the screening you want. The aspen will still provide the Greek temple effect, and the shrubs will provide the screening. Willows, dogwoods, ninebark, cotoneaster, high bush cranberry, & native chokecherry are all options.
Don't use it at all. Instead plant a tall hedge shrub.
Use them as curb trees for the front of your house, or along the driveway.
For the acreage owner:
15 feet back from the driveway, plant an aspen every 12 feet on both sides. Another 15 back plant a pine lining up with the spaces. The aspen in a very few years will provide a colonnade on either side of the driveway. The pines will later take over this role, being majestic when the aspen are nearing their end of life.
Plant as one row of a screen along the road allowance. Alternate Swedish Aspen and two red osier dogwoods half way up the ditch bank (check your county's road edge bylaws Some like larger margins) Being halfway up, they will have access to the extra water that accumulates in the ditch. Poplar is moderately salt tolerant, but if your ditch is immediately next to a heavily salted hill or intersection, try one or two trees the first year. Back this up with a row of golden willow alternating with spruce.
Plant 6 or 12 in a circle 75 feet across. This will give the 'Stonehenge' look. A mystic circle. Plant a single oak tree at the center to extend this effect.
In any case, I suggest leaving room for your mower between the trees and the property edge. This makes keeping it neat looking quite easy.
Aspen are normally water pigs. It's hard to overwater, and they prefer soils that are constantly moist. Loam is best. They tolerate fairly heavy clay soils, but do not do well in a water logged clay soil. If planted in sandy soil they will need supplemental irrigation their entire life.
There are a bunch of native plants that do well in the partial shade. Lungwort, false soloman's seal, Canada bunchberry all come to mind. My woods are currently full of wild rose and wild raspberry.
Aspen are not long lived trees. Plan on replacing them in 30 years.
The inventory is always out of date. I try to keep Swedish Aspen in stock at heights from 4 feet to 15 feet. Between rapid sales, and rapid growth, it's like nailing jello to the wall.
Right NOW (June 2010) I have about 20 that are in the 3-4 foot class. and about a hundred in the 7-11 foot class. I have another 500 that will be ready for transplant in fall 2010. They should be 5-7 feet. I may have a batch of caliper (1.5 inch trunk) by fall too.
Aspen are currently $8 per foot if in a #4 to #7 pot (peanut butter pail to 5 gallon bucket size) $12 per foot in #10 and larger pot.
Discounts apply to purchases of 10 or more of all but the smallest ones.
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