I went out West and became interested in "quaking aspens." I've...

Asked October 14, 2014, 2:17 PM EDT

I went out West and became interested in "quaking aspens." I've been told that it is too cold to grow these trees here but I found a Maryland leaf guide from 1970 that included it in the "trees found in Maryland" with no other details. Can you tell me if it's possible to grow them in the Towson area?

Baltimore County Maryland trees and shrubs quaking aspen

1 Response

It's not that it is too cold here, it's probably too hot. It is listed as Zone 1-6 (7) in Dirr's "Manual of Woody Landscape Plants", an excellent resource. It naturally occurs over a wide area which includes parts of Pennsylvania and mainly the West and Midwest. Possibly it once occurred in colder western counties of Maryland. It is much warmer in Maryland now than in 1970. We've actually been moved from Zone 6 to zone 7.

You'll notice that you cannot find it here in landscapes or in the wild. It has many disease and insect problems, to the extent that it is not commercially viable as a landscape plant. There is one variety, however, 'Prairie Gold', which has been developed that resists at least one disease and is heat and drought tolerant.