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The first way to lie artistically is to tell the truth--but not all of it. The second way involves telling the truth, too, but is harder: Tell the exact truth and maybe all of it . . but tell it so unconvincingly that your listener is sure you are lying.

Robert A. Heinlein

Swedish Aspen

Populus tremula 'erecta'

Young Aspen in pot

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.


Pricing: All our Swedish aspen are $8-$10/foot. Sizes range from 3 to 9 feet. Delivery is available. Click on the phone or email icon below our logo to contact us for this tree.

News Flash! Swedish aspen are only sold between August 15 and September 15.

This is due to Bronze Leaf Disease. Read about BLD at the bottom of the page.

Now, back to your interrupted web page...

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.

Mature Swedish Aspen

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 its size, it is ideal for use on small yards, and can be used fairly close to the house. Its 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 its new home it often puts on 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 its lower branches when they are shaded. Basically, the tree is abandoning unproductive food factories, and concentrating its resources on the more productive leaves near the top.

Red Swedish Aspen Leaves

The leaves when first open can range from dark red to rusty orange. Notice how thin and fragile the leaf looks. It will fill out in a few days.

Swedish Aspen leaves greening up.

With exposure to warm temperatures and sunlight, the chlorophyll factories start up, turning the leaf green.

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.

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.

I do NOT recommend Swedish aspen as a screening tree.

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:
For the acreage owner:

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.

Swedish Aspen and Bronze Leaf Disease

Swedish Aspen is susceptible to a fungus called Bronze Leaf Disease. Individual leaves, and clusters of leaves turn rusty red or copper coloured in late summer. The veins remain green. The leave doesn't get 'crispy' the way you would expect a dead leaf to, but is sort of leathery. The fungus will spread inward down the stem, eventually killing the tree.

Bronze Leaf Disease

Closeup of infected leaves

Bronze Leaf Disease

Here's a look at a typical infected tree. You can see that finding and removing all of the affected leaves is a time consuming operation.

Infected leaves often stay attached to the tree over winter.

The fungus overwinters in the leaves either on the tree or on the ground. In spring, the fungus releases spores which infect newly opened leaves. The leaves are without symptoms until August.

All Swedish Aspens are clones from a single specimen. There is no chance to breed a resistant type. There is no treatment for BLD at this time.

One producer in Manitoba has stopped growing Swedish Aspen. Control measures were taking too much time. Manitoba summers tend to be hot and humid, much more humid than Alberta generally, so it may be possible to control here.

You can fight a delaying action:


Here are some steps you can use to keep out of trouble:


One answer is to plant something else. The closest tree is a North American trembling aspen cultivar called Prairie Skyrise. It and a raft of other options are detailed here: Skinny Trees

Another answer is to build a trellis, and grow vines. I don't do vines yet (although I have just started this year with grapes).

Got something to say? Email me. sfinfo@sherwoods-forests.com

Want to talk right now? Talk to me: (8 am to 9 pm only, please) 1-780-848-2548

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This file last modified on Saturday, January 31, 2015

Sherwood's Forests is located about 75 km southwest of Edmonton, Alberta. Please refer to the map on our Contact page for directions.