When asked what the earth’s biggest organism is, you may have thought of a whale or a giant squid. However, the correct answer is surprising: it’s a quaking aspen tree! Actually, it’s several trees that are clones of the same mother tree and all connected by the root system. That’s right, it’s an entire forest that consists of the same tree! This large colony of quaking aspens is called Pando, which is Latin for “I spread”. True to its name, Pando is composed of several trees that have spread out over 100 acres of Utah’s Fishlake National Forest. Judging by the lifespan of an individual quaking aspen, which is 100-150 years, geneticists estimate that Pando is anywhere from 80,000 to one million years old! To wrap our heads around this mind boggling phenomenon, let’s learn a little about the unique quaking aspen.
About the Quaking Aspen
A quaking aspen grows suckers, or new stems, from its roots. These suckers eventually grow into large trees, which then grow more suckers out of their roots, continuing the process. This ability to grow several new trees from its roots makes the quaking aspen another tree to avoid planting in your yard. Unless you have the time to perform tree maintenance by constantly cutting down new suckers! If you do decide to plant a quaking aspen in your yard, your local deer population may help you maintain your tree; deer and elk find the tender suckers especially delicious. This has actually been a huge problem in the western United States. Park rangers have been erecting fences to keep out deer and elk and promote the growth of quaking aspens. Even though quaking aspens tend to spread out over large areas, there is still a reason we want to keep them around. These unique trees are beautiful in the fall; they’re one of the first trees to change color with the leaves turning a bright and vibrant orange. When the wind blows through the trees, the leaves shake catch the breeze in a way that makes them look like they’re shaking. This is what has earned them the name “quaking aspen” or “trembling aspen.” This unique tree is a testament to how nature can always delight and surprise!
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If you are in need of tree services in Baltimore, Perry Hall, Fallston, Monkton, Timonium, Parkton, Kingsville, Bel Air, Reisterstown, or Nottingham, Porter Tree Services is here to help! From emergency tree removal to fertilization and treatment plans, our licensed tree experts will help you with whatever problems that have taken root!
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