are aspen sturdy?

Asked May 15, 2020, 12:48 PM EDT

My neighbor had three aspen trees blow over in the winter storm of 2019 and was told they usually don't live longer than 7 years. Is the root structure weak? Is there any predictable risk of planting aspen in the Willamette valley?

Lane County Oregon

1 Response

Aspen trees are susceptible to several insect and disease pests and have a shorter life span than other species of trees, though they can live about 40-150 years under the right conditions. Aspen prefer full sun, too much shade will reduce growth and make it more susceptible to other insects and disease. Making sure aspen get full sun and sufficient water are key to helping them be healthy and resilient. Aspens do well in groups, or groves, so having trees a small cluster of trees will allow the roots to intertwine giving them more structural support. Aspens do send out lots of suckers which can be a nuisance in urban areas, so be sure not to plant too close to sewers or underground pipes or other structures. I'm not sure what caused your neighbor's trees to fall over, it could be that the trees were weakened due to pest issues or they simply succumbed to a big winter storm. There were many trees that were damaged or felled during the winter storm of 2019, so this is not out of the ordinary.