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RussDaBuss

Trimming Aspens

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I transplanted 7 quaking aspens a few years ago. They were about 6 ft. tall or so when I did it. The trees are doing great, I water them plenty. They are getting more tall then round ( I kind of knew they would, because where I dug them from, they are very close together, not used to getting real thick I suppose) My question is, I want to cut the top part off to try to encourage spread. When is the best time to do this? What is the best way to go about this? Like I said, they are looking good BUT could be a little more shade bearing and full...

Thanks for any responses..

Russ

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First of all......DO NOT TOP!! Terrible practice in general. Topping your tree will not make an aspen grow thicker or spread out. It is the nature of the beast. The type of tree just doesn't get much canopy width. They grow tall and skinny for the most part with well spaced branches. Even a full grown aspen in the open will not get a wide thick crown. They just don't do it.

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ok, was not sure if that would help or not.. Thanks for the response. I have them planted about 15-20 feet apart in a row. Another year or so they should be coming together. Was just thinking they might look better if not so tall right now and be more rounded. But if it would hurt the tree, I dont want to pursue it.

Thanks

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Some trees respond very well to a tactful, proper way of topping, but aspens just don't grow the way you'd like them to so even to suggest trying it would be a bad idea. I know you transplanted the aspens because you ahd them available and they were easy to move, but they just aren't the tree for the site or the goal. If you're really looking to get the effect of a full tree/hedge then you could remove them and plant something different, but that will be the only way.

Aspens are kinda soft and brittle the way they are anyway and topping them will only encourage weak branch connections and fast sucker growth at the site of the cuts. It could also create areas for rot to form since they will likely be slow to heal even with proper pruning cuts.

If the trees are healthy and growing well then they should fill in somewhat on their own. If they do seem to be filling in the gaps nicely then you may consider removing every other tree to create a little more gap inbetween trees and this will help them spread out more as they compete for sunlight. You could also consider pruing other trees nearby to help your aspens get more sunlight. Fertilizing them could also hel ppromote growth. They won't get thick and dense like a sugar maple or basswood, but it might help.

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Thanks for the good info. Powerstroke. I will most likely let them be then.. What kind of fertilizer do you suggest? Are the tree stake/stick types any good??

Thanks

Russ

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the stakes are very good for trees, but make sure to put them around the drip line of the tree, i have seen many people who jam them in right next to the trunk. also make sure you get the right kind for your soil type.

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Bobbo is correct about the placement. Any of the commercially available fertilizer stakes will work fine. They have different sizes depending on what brand you buy. So make sure you buy enough. Then place them under the outer edge of the branches (drip line). This is roughly where the trees roots extend to and you want to encourage more growth to the ends of the roots.

If you want to do this its best to do it in the spring or late in the fall. Doing in the summer can be hard on the trees if you don't provide enough water for the tree when its trying to grow so much. LAte fall is good because it gets in the soil before winter, but its late enough that it doens't start boosting the tree until the following spring.

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Great, I will give them some good old fertilizer this spring and keep them watered good and see how that goes!!

Thanks guys

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also remember that watering a tree is way different than watering your grass, dont just set out a garden sprinkler near the tree. set the hose near the tree on a slow trickle for a couple hours, this will give the trees a good drink. Good Luck, quaking leaf aspens are one of my favorite trees, we have them lining the shore at my cabin.

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Good point. I actually do that.. I run the hose real low for a good hour on each tree quit a bit, depending on rain and weather conditions. Yes, they are very pretty, great sounding trees....

Thanks

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