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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Aspen Trees

Aspen are prolific trees in our area. They all share a common root system but do transplant by seed too. If I understand the process right the seed is what you see in the photo. They look like a long grey worm that has a brown head and that is where the seed is. When they drop these seeds in the early spring it looks like little grey worms laying all over the ground. Most of the trees we have are sharing a common root system however.

The mother tree will send out suckers from the roots and they pop up as new trees, hence the common root feeds all the trees. They say they only live on average 20 years but a few years ago the wind blew a 20" diameter tree over and it took several other large aspen with it. I counted the rings on the largest tree and it was well into its nineties. We still have several that are still alive that are as big or bigger than the one that blew down.

It is classed a hardwood tree but at the bottom of the hardwood scale. It does not make good furniture even though I have used it in furniture and sometimes done well. Often when I mill it out the surface has a lot of 'fuzz' on it because it is so wet and retains water. It does make good firewood and burns hot and clean. It is important to insure that it has dried fully before any attempt to use it as firewood.

It is called a quaking aspen because during the slightest breeze the leaves shake and 'quake'. We find it an interesting tree and we have an abundance of them so our firewood supply is assured for several years..

Some people confuse the aspen with the birch but they are a totally different species and different trees.

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