Girdled Quaking Aspen
2 winters ago our 20 foot aspen was girdled by a mouse. This spring it began to bloom, but quickly shot up a new sucker from its base. The sucker is thriving. The main tree now appears dead. Any suggestions on what we should do with the main tree?
Madison County Montana
I would give the main tree the summer to see what it does. Since it reproduces by suckering the shoot is normal. Younger trees, formed by root suckers, grow quickly and should be watered to a depth of 2 feet every two to four weeks. When/if you cut down the original tree, I would not grind out the stump, as that is necessary for the shoot to survive. Aspens grow quickly, but they do not live long, however their suckers can keep the tree system growing a long time. Sometimes people plant a slower growing, but longer lived tree nearby, in case their aspens suckers do not flourish.
If you have mulch around the trunk, remove the first 6-12 inches that are closest to the trunk. The mulch gives insects, diseases, and sometimes mice, a place to hide, while attacking your tree.
You can learn more about Quaking Aspens here.
Thanks so much! We will leave the tree for one more year and see what happens.
You're welcome. Best wishes.