This fast-growing native tree has beautiful silvery gray bark and leaves that "tremble" in the wind due to flat leaf stalks. Unfortunately this tree is short-lived and prone to some disease and insect problems; it is also highly susceptible to ice storm damage.
This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Chicago area,
- North America
- Residential and parks,
- City parkway,
- Wide median
- Shade tree,
- Large tree (more than 40 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 2,
- Zone 3,
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6
- Moist, well-drained soil,
- Wet soil
- Moderately Tolerant
- Excessive sucker growth,
- Highly susceptible to ice damage
- Fall color,
- Attractive bark
Season of Interest:
- Early winter,
- Mid winter,
- Late winter,
- Early fall,
- Mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
- Game birds,
Tree & Plant Care
Best planted in moist soils in full sun. Intolerant of shade conditions.
Roots tend to sucker freely.
Does not tolerate summer heat or pollution.
Disease, pests, and problems
Numerous disease and pest problems if not sited correctly, Tree prefers cool summer climates.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to northern portion of North America
Bark color and texture
Young trees have a grayish-white, smooth bark.
Stems are a slender, reddish brown.
On older trees bark is grayish white, furrowed, with darker areas.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Alternate leaf arrangement, simple, 1 to 3 inches wide, oval to nearly round, with finely serrated margins.
Light green, smooth leaf turns a bright yellow in the fall.
Flattened leaf petioles allow the leaves to tremble in the wind creating a rustling sound.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Dioecious. Male and female trees separate. Flowers are dangling catkins that appear before the leaves.
Not ornamentally important.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Fruit is a drooping cluster of capsules containing many seeds.
Prairie Gold® Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides 'NE Arb'): This cultivar is more tolerant of the heat, drought and humidity found in the Midwest; golden yellow fall color.