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The Best Time to Transplant Aspen

    Native Habitat

    • Aspen trees are native to North America and grow along streams, canyons and mountain sides. They are hardy species seen as far north as Alaska. Their USDA Plant Hardiness zones are 1 through 8. Aspens grow in harmony with conifer forests, in parklands and adapt well to wetlands. They grow quickly and develop into aspen forests. Aspens are also susceptible to drought damage. The primary method of propagation is through root sprouts. Extension specialist Heidi Kratsch of Utah State University writes that aspens have a fair to good record of transplant success.


    • Aspens are medium-sized trees that grow 20 to 60 feet in height and have striking autumnal leaves and white bark. They prefer medium to coarse soils that are slightly acidic. The ideal pH range for aspens is 6.5 to 7. They grow in dry to moist soils that are well-drained and prefer partial to full sun and periodic irrigation. Aspens are often transplanting for their ornamental value.


    • In landscapes, aspens are used for screens and shade trees in high-altitude areas. A popular cultivar, Pike’s Bay, is known to have stronger resistance to canker disease, although most aspens are transplanted from forested sites. Kratsch recommends planting companions such as snowberry, choke cherry, lupine and Oregon grape. Newly transplanted seedlings require protection from browsing deer and rodents.

    Use Fencing

    • Fencing protects aspens from browsing deer and rabbits. Place stakes in the ground several feet from the sapling to support the fence and keep it from getting knocked over by hungry animals. Choose fencing that deer cannot stick their heads through and is rigid enough to stand up against their assault. Horticulture specialist Curtis W. Smith with New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Service recommends using a suitable mesh on the bottom of the fence to keep rabbits out. With age, aspen trees can withstand animal browsing and the roots become big enough to produce new trees if one is damaged.

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