Quaking Aspen is the most widely distributed tree in North America, ranging from Alaska to the Atlantic coast of Canada, southward to New England on the east and California on the west, central in the upper Midwest, and also through the Rocky Mountains down to the mountains of northern Mexico.
In Ohio, Quaking Aspen is found abundantly in northern Ohio, but is only found locally in pockets in the southern half of the state. Quaking Aspen (also known as Popple), is a type of Poplar that forms root suckers, and thus may form a colony of trees that expands indefinitely.
Its white bark, fluttering summer leaves, and golden-yellow fall color are ideal from an aesthetic perspective, but this species is beset by many disease and pest problems, rendering its lifespan relatively short. Its bark, twigs, and leaves together constitute one of the favorite foods of beaver. It may reach 50 feet tall by 25 feet wide when found in the open, or even larger under optimum conditions. As a member of the Willow Family, it is related to the Willows and other species of Poplar.
Planting Requirements - Quaking Aspen succeeds on the broad scale of distribution because it can adapt to a wide variety of soil, pH, moisture, and climate conditions. Its main requirements are not to be located in permanently wet soils, and not to grow where the summers are too warm. It is found in zones 1 to 6, in full sun to partial sun.
Potential Problems - The list of pests and pathogens for Quaking Aspen is too long to mention. Even in colder climates where it is abundantly found, it is not a long-lived tree as compared to other trees. In its southern range, the warm winters cause further trouble, as larvae survive the winters better and ravage the tree in summer as adult insects. Many pathogens can also cause its decline and death.