How can I remove aspens?

Asked May 21, 2013, 11:23 AM EDT

I'm considering buying a house in Fort Collins (Timberline and Drake Road area). It has no sprinkler system and many shrubs and other plants are in very poor health. So while I have the landscaping torn up to address those issues, I would like to remove a cluster of aspens. They are not large - have perhaps been in the ground 8 years, and of course some small new trees have come up nearby and even a few suckers perhaps as much as 20 feet away.
* What steps can I take for best success in removing these trees and the roots/suckers in the vicinity?
* Is there a low toxicity product I should use in the stump area?
* How deep do the roots tend to go? Could I have deep rototilling done to address much of what has spread across the yard?

Thanks for enlightening me on this topic.

Larimer County Colorado

1 Response


Your first method of attack would be to cut them down, along with the suckers and remove them as they begin to grow. Since the root system isn't as established as stands that may be 20+ years old, there will be fewer reserves to send up suckers. That said, mechanical removal (cutting/pruning) near the ground will be your best method of attack.

You could consider spraying glyphosate (Round-up) on any green leaves and try to kill the plants that way, but it will only be moderately effective and will take awhile. Products like "sucker stopper" or similar products will not work on Populus genus plants (aspen, willow, cottonwood).

Roots for most trees in the Colorado Front Range are shallow, usually reaching no more than 12" in depth. Tilling may cause these plants to sucker, but again, if this occurs, mechanical removal is best.