Ask a Consulting Arborist Q&A: Leaf, Seed, and Flower Concerns

Q: Quaking aspen tree is still alive, but won't grow leaves. Should I cut the tree down?

Wednesday, December 30, 2015  

Q: I have a quaking aspen tree that is still alive, but the buds have died and it won't grow leaves. I have three of them side by side, and two are okay. Do I need to cut the affected tree down, or will it come back next year?

A: If the tree is still alive, it may recover later this year or next spring if it has enough stored energy reserves and receives adequate moisture. The buds may have died from a fungal infection, a late frost, or some other external factor. If the tree does not leaf out this year or with the others next spring, it may still grow root suckers or trunk sprouts. Wait until next spring to cut the main stem a few inches above the ground. If the tree still does not initiate regrowth, do not worry. If the other two are healthy and planted in a moist, well-drained location, in a few years, you may have a grove of aspen and be wondering why you planted more than one. Fall root pruning may also trigger suckering at the points where you prune them.



Responder: Robert Blanchard, RCA #520, Moscow, IA