American aspen is a true poplar, growing widely in the USA, particularly in the Northeast, Lake States and across to the Rockies. The genus Populus is composed of many species, which all look alike microscopically. However, aspen is completely different to tulipwood, often referred to as yellow poplar in the USA despite not being a Populus.
white poplar, trembling aspen, popple
American aspen trees grow in dense stands that are easily sustainable but are commercially less important than some other American hardwoods.Tress can grow up to 120ft (48m) and up to 4ft (1.2m) in diameter. Due to genetic variability trunks can either be quite cylindrical with little taper and few limbs, or crooked and contorted. Aspen is one of the species that benefits from clear-cutting to regenerate, being shade intolerant, and regrows both from seedlings and root suckers. It is a natural pioneer species after forest fires. The four main aspen producing states are Minnesota, Wisconsin, Maine and Michigan.
Forest Inventory Analysis (FIA) data shows U.S. aspen growing stock is 637 million m3, 4.8% of total U.S. hardwood growing stock. American aspen is growing 10.1 million m3 per year while the harvest is 8.6 million m3 per year. The net volume (after harvest) is increasing 1.5 million m3 each year.