Swedish Columnar Aspen

Swedish Columnar Aspen
Populus tremuloides ‘Erecta’
Swedish Columnar Aspen LeavesSwedish Columnar AspenHow many times have I said that narrow trees are in? Well, here is another one and it looks good! The relatively new Swedish Columnar Aspen is another tree in that category, and one to consider for the narrow spaces we are continually trying to landscape. I was skeptical at first with this being a poplar, and I know there are some drawbacks, but so far they are few.

I spotted this tree a few years ago in a local street tree planting. Since then, I have been very impressed with the species. The Swedish Columnar Aspen is said to grow to about 40′ tall and maybe up to 10′ wide, but that may be a bit optimistic in poor sites. Few large ones I have seen exceed 6′ wide. They are fast growing and especially narrow in youth, have extremely white bark, and an almost artificially perfect leaf with an undulating crenate-dentate edge (which means “scalloped edge with rounded projections” and “edge with pointed or toothed projections” respectively). It has what I consider the perfect poplar leaf. And, of course, they flutter in the wind, providing a shimmering effect in the sunlight. And most impressive for a poplar is its fall color, with incredible shades of red, orange, maroon, and yellows. What a sight!

So far the street trees I have observed have not exhibited excessive or obvious surface root growth which is encouraging. Growth has been relatively good in what I consider poor city soils. Of small interest is what I call the “Lazy Lateral”, or the occasional lateral limb that either just grows a bit too heavy or long and just falls out to a more horizontal angle from this very upright tree.
Swedish Columnar Aspen in Winter
They transplant very easily in the nursery, and from our digging experience, they also do not show an excessive amount of root growth; which is a good sign for city planting. I do not have a great deal more experience with this variety, but am excited about what I have seen thus far.

Let me know what you think if you have any personal observations of this tree.

Jim Barborinas
ISA Certified Arborist #0135
ASCA Registered Consulting Arborist #356                    CLICK HERE FOR MORE TREE PROFILES
Certified Tree Risk Assessor #PNW-0327