The Truth About Quaking Aspens


The Truth About Quaking Aspens

Did you know Aspens are not individual trees but part of one large organism with separate tree trunks stemming from one large underground system? Aspens are amazing and unique trees. Their underground systems can stretch for miles and only after a severe fire and under ideal climatic conditions, will aspen reproduce sexually as a flowering plant.

Aspen clones will have the same branching structure because they are genetically identical to one another. An easy way is to watch as aspen forests change their colors in the fall. Look at the color patchwork along a mountainside you can see the various clone families grouped by the same color shade.

The oldest known clone in existence is called “Pando” and is located in the Fishlake National Forest north of Bryce Canyon National Park in central Utah. It is thought to be a million years old with 47,000 trunks!

The National Forest Foundation with help from the Salt River Project provided fencing around 12 acres of key aspen stands on Arizona’s Kaibab National Forest this was to keep elk and deer from eating the bark. The NFF in Utah brought together various stakeholders to form the Utah Forest Restoration Working Group. The collaborative created the “Guidelines for Aspen Restoration on the National Forests in Utah,” now used to standardize and implement restoration strategies for aspen across the state.

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