Swidish columnar aspen

It seems there are still a lot of misconceptions about this tree. Since it was introduced about 30 years ago, we can now take an honest look at its performance.

Most of the information available still speaks of an approximate mature height of 45 feet. You can safely double that; I have seen numerous examples well over 45 feet. Opinions about its annual growth vary, but three to four feet seems most accurate.

There are claims that this is a non-suckering tree. These trees sucker profusely, in the lawn, in the neighbour’s property; wherever they can, they sucker.

Sold as the answer to all the modern family’s tree needs, its performance is not consistent with its sales pitch. Not ideal. The only way to manage an unruly group is to treat them like a hedge, pick a height that still provides privacy, and remove the tops. This will force the trees to grow at an even faster than normal rate. It will also force them to sucker even more than they naturally do, just a lose-lose situation.

Let’s raise our eyes from the rhetoric of nursery catalogues and take an honest look up at the trees. I would seriously caution anyone thinking of planting this tree. There are many better alternatives.

(Photo credit: “Populus tremula 'Erecta' kz1" by Krzysztof Ziarnek, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.)

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