Aspens are my favorite trees, always have been always will be. It is probably the product of a Colorado proud childhood.
Remember all those questionnaires you make all your friends fill out in elementary school? What is your favorite color? (me: green or blue), What is your favorite car? (me: Lamborghini – because that is what you said in the 70’s – I couldn’t identify one on the road today), What are you going to be when you grow up? (me: an astronaut), Where are you going to live? (me: in a grove of aspens)
I stand by that last one….Don’t you agree? Wouldn’t a house right in the middle of this be wonderful?
image by oysters4me
Aspens are easily identified by their smooth pale bark, scarred with black and glossy green leaves that become golden to yellow and sometimes red in autumn.
They rarely flower, mostly propagating through roots to form large groves. I am fascinated by the fact that all trees in a given clonal colony are considered part of the same organism and one clonal colony, named Pando in Utah, is considered the heaviest and oldest living organism. It is estimated to be six million kilograms and approximately 80,000 years old.
This tree is reported to rarely survive at elevations lower than 1,500 feet (460 m) due to the mild winters experienced below that elevation, and is generally found at 5,000–12,000 feet (1,500–3,700 m). I think I am going to give it a try in Central Massachusetts nonetheless….I love on top of a hill and while my hill is not quite 1500 feet above sea level….it is noticeably sharper up here in the winter than 100 yards down the hill in any direction.
image from Colorado Guy.
In my childhood neighborhood I think every house has a little clump of these trees somewhere in the front yard. They have a delicate look and they are always prettier when you have three or more together. Locally, I can source 2-3′ whips for under $8 each so I am think about planting at least 5 of them in front of my new split rail fence. (did I mention…we got a big part of that project done this weekend). They are fast growers so while I won’t get instant impact, I know I will get a pretty satisfying look for cheap (in a few years).