Information About Quaking Aspen

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Information About Quaking Aspen

Post  juniper07 on Tue May 06, 2014 2:49 pm

Hello IBC,

I am looking for detailed information on Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides) from those who have successfully cultivated it in bonsai culture. I am more interested in the shaping and pruning techniques (including growth habits in terms of back budding, etc.).



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Re: Information About Quaking Aspen

Post  Vance Wood on Wed May 28, 2014 10:51 pm

The lack of response may indicate to you that no one is cultivating this tree as a bonsai. In fact the Aspen is not a long lived tree, something like 50 years at best, and usually; only fodder for beginners who know no better and will take on anything. Sorry there are just some trees out there that do not make good bonsai and those who have tried do not now have any of them left and know enough to not go there again.

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Re: Information About Quaking Aspen

Post  0soyoung on Wed May 28, 2014 11:20 pm

Vance Wood wrote:... Aspen is not a long lived tree, something like 50 years at best,  ...

Well, not exactly, Vance.

One of the oldest 'trees' in North America is an Aspen. Aspen trunks sprout from length roots just below the soil surface. What is commonly called an 'aspen grove' is in fact one tree. One such tree (in CO, IIRC) has been determined to be thousands of years old. Individual branches and trunks, however, do tend to die and be shed frequently, just as you indicate. Further, leaves on new growth tend to be very large, so defoliation tends to make leaves larger instead of smaller.

Nevertheless, it might be an interesting adventure for someone who lives in the RockyMountain states to try to cultivate aspen, especially as a small forest planting (or penjing). After all, it wasn't that long ago that Ponderosa pines were viewed in the same way - now PPs are almost a favored bonsai specie.

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Re: Information About Quaking Aspen

Post  leszekrybak65 on Thu May 29, 2014 12:48 am

Hi there, I live close to the Rockies and in fact have tried an Aspen - got it this Spring. I read all about its shortcomings but still wanted to try one, got nothing to loose... I've seen quite nice potential bonsais in the mountains, naturally dwarfed and twisted little trees, decided to give a lesser tree a try to see how it will respond to bonsai culture. Will see how the tree will do - I collected it with very small amount of feeder roots - due to its growth habit it looks to me like every single tree in the "grove" is connected to the "main tree" with the umbilical cord of long, thick undivided roots and the main tree is where the feeder roots are. The rest are just the suckers originating from the main one. Anyway, my little experiment leafed out and it is still to see whether it will actually start growing roots. It is planted in the mix of Perlite and live Sphagnum Moss 50/50 like. I sprinkled some root growth hormone on the little feeder roots and hope for the best. If it lives I will start pruning to see if it will backbud. Not too worried about short life span, in 50 years I will most likely be gone anyway  Wink 
Attaching a picture of a good tree in its environment and my little one potted up.
Leszek
 

 

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Re: Information About Quaking Aspen

Post  Vance Wood on Thu May 29, 2014 2:55 am

0soyoung wrote:
Vance Wood wrote:... Aspen is not a long lived tree, something like 50 years at best,  ...

Well, not exactly, Vance.

One of the oldest 'trees' in North America is an Aspen. Aspen trunks sprout from length roots just below the soil surface. What is commonly called an 'aspen grove' is in fact one tree. One such tree (in CO, IIRC) has been determined to be thousands of years old. Individual branches and trunks, however, do tend to die and be shed frequently, just as you indicate. Further, leaves on new growth tend to be very large, so defoliation tends to make leaves larger instead of smaller.

Nevertheless, it might be an interesting adventure for someone who lives in the RockyMountain states to try to cultivate aspen, especially as a small forest planting (or penjing). After all, it wasn't that long ago that Ponderosa pines were viewed in the same way - now PPs are almost a favored bonsai specie.

Yes you are right a grove of Aspen is a living organism in its own right, but no one tree within that organism is more than fifty or sixty years old. However do you really think you can duplicate that in a bonsai pot? Let's be reasonable. No one element of that organism is more than fifty or sixty years old above ground functioning as a single recognizable tree.

Ponderosa Pines are not that much favored. However this discussion is not about Ponderosa Pines, and one argument does not prove the other.

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Re: Information About Quaking Aspen

Post  Vance Wood on Thu May 29, 2014 4:23 am

I don't mean to be harsh but as much as an accomplishment growing one of these trees in a container for any length of time is; the end results will not get you invited to the 4th national bonsai display this fall. In order for a tree to be a credible bonsai you must be able to make the tree look like a tree not a scrub bush in a pot. This tree is a wonderful novelty but it is not a world class bonsai.

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Re: Information About Quaking Aspen

Post  kevin stoeveken on Thu May 29, 2014 6:19 pm

Vance Wood wrote:I don't mean to be harsh but as much as an accomplishment growing one of these trees in a container for any length of time is; the end results will not get you invited to the 4th national bonsai display this fall.  In order for a tree to be a credible bonsai you must be able to make the tree look like a tree not a scrub bush in a pot.  This tree is a wonderful novelty but it is not a world class bonsai.

i gotta chime in here...

didnt sound like he was looking for a world class entry in the 4th anal whatchamacallit  Razz 

sounded more like one of those, "what the heck, nothing to lose" sort of things...

even non "world class" trees can be enjoyed for what they are and by who is caring for them...
and boy-O-boy, apart from my "credible" trees, do i ever have some examples of trees only a mother could love !  affraid 

enjoy your tree leszek... just don't try to stick it in a contest  Wink 

kevin

by the way vance: no disrespect intended to you !


Last edited by beer city snake on Thu May 29, 2014 7:44 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Information About Quaking Aspen

Post  Vance Wood on Thu May 29, 2014 7:42 pm

[quote="beer city snake"]
Vance Wood wrote:I don't mean to be harsh but as much as an accomplishment growing one of these trees in a container for any length of time is; the end results will not get you invited to the 4th national bonsai display this fall.  In order for a tree to be a credible bonsai you must be able to make the tree look like a tree not a scrub bush in a pot.  This tree is a wonderful novelty but it is not a world class bonsai.

i gotta chime in here...

didnt sound like he was looking for a world class entry in the 4th anal whatchamacallit  Razz 

sounded more like one of those, "what the heck, nothing to lose" sort of things...

even non "world class" trees can be enjoyed for what they are and by who is caring for them...
and boy-O-boy, apart from my "credible" trees, do i ever have some examples of trees only a mother could love !  affraid 

enjoy your tree leszek... just don't try to stick it in a contest  Wink 

kevin

[/quoteHello IBC,

I am looking for detailed information on Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides) from those who have successfully cultivated it in bonsai culture. I am more interested in the shaping and pruning techniques (including growth habits in terms of back budding, etc.).



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Re: Information About Quaking Aspen

Post  kevin stoeveken on Thu May 29, 2014 7:46 pm

confused... looks like while i was adding the "no disrespect to vance" line to my post, another one was posted, but it looks jumbled...

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Re: Information About Quaking Aspen

Post  EpicusMaximus on Thu May 29, 2014 8:44 pm

What if a tree only lives 60 years?

Are you growing bonsai trees for yourself, or for you or for future generations?

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Re: Information About Quaking Aspen

Post  JimLewis on Thu May 29, 2014 9:19 pm

Are you growing bonsai trees for yourself . . . or for future generations?

Oh faddle! Myself, of course. I'm not vain enough to think that "future generations" will give a diddly dang about many of my trees.

Besides, I spent almost 60 years of my life working to protect the environment and quickly learned that blessed few people ANYWHERE give a tinker's dang about future generations, so I'm unlikely to consider them as keepers of my trees. Aside from a few plants my children say they want, and one or two to a friend, I'm asking that my trees just be planted back in the ground -- where they can take care of themselves, or not.

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Re: Information About Quaking Aspen

Post  kevin stoeveken on Thu May 29, 2014 9:32 pm

hey jim... too true about not enough people giving a damn about the future generations...
(remember the crying native american in the old commercials ? )

when you say you want to plant some of your trees back in the ground,
i call that "setting them free"  Very Happy 

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Re: Information About Quaking Aspen

Post  JimLewis on Thu May 29, 2014 9:57 pm

i
call that "setting them free

Actually, it's not.

We give our trees better care in pots than Ma Nature ever would. She doesn't give a hoot if lightening strikes them, if floods wash them away, if they starve to death in a rocky environment.

We carefully protect them from all of that -- and from bugs and disease, and freezing and . . .

For the ones that go back in the ground, it's "Yer on yer own, buddy, and lot's of luck to ya."


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Re: Information About Quaking Aspen

Post  kevin stoeveken on Thu May 29, 2014 11:39 pm

same as a baby duck that you might raise and then release in the wild... aka: setting free  Rolling Eyes

but again, we digress...

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Quaking Aspen

Post  bonsaisr on Fri May 30, 2014 2:57 am

One little point. The grower said he was putting rooting hormone on the feeder roots. To my knowledge, that will not accomplish anything. Rooting hormone stimulates root formation on stem tissue. Putting it on roots may inhibit them.
Iris

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Re: Information About Quaking Aspen

Post  kevin stoeveken on Fri May 30, 2014 3:12 am

before joining this forum, you seemed to pop-up often, Iris, in my googlator searches...
and always w/ rock solid info...

anyone viewing this know the life expectancy of a himalayan birch ?
seems similar in its appearance, texture and such...

i have one i'm quite fond of...


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Re: Information About Quaking Aspen

Post  JimLewis on Fri May 30, 2014 1:14 pm

Iris is correct.

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Re: Information About Quaking Aspen

Post  M. Frary on Fri May 30, 2014 2:16 pm

juniper07 wrote:Hello IBC,

I am looking for detailed information on Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides) from those who have successfully cultivated it in bonsai culture. I am more interested in the shaping and pruning techniques (including growth habits in terms of back budding, etc.).


Aspen is the fancy name for poplar. If wasting time, energy and soil is your thing go ahead. I work line clearance and we usually end up taking aspen right out because they have a tendency to just die for no reason. One year fine the next dead. Just like birch. They also don't like hard trimming. Cut a branch back too far and it dies. These trees want to grow up fast so they just shed branches like crazy.
Just my opinion but I would set this one free. Actually I would just toss it in the dead tree cremation pile out back. Sorry?

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Re: Information About Quaking Aspen

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