Native to Britain and widespread in northern and central Europe; it is sometimes grown from seed but more often propagated from root cuttings.
Limited trials of a small number of Scottish clones have shown good survival and reasonable growth from native material but there are selected Scandinavian clones which can give faster growth rates.
Aspen is a light demanding and fast growing pioneer species which often grows in mixture with various broadleaves or on the fringes of conifer forests. Grows on a wide range of sites from slightly dry to wet soil moisture and of poor to rich soil nutrient status. Moderately tolerant of exposure and is cold hardy and frost resistant.
Pests and pathogens
Aspen can be attacked by leaf rusts (Melampsora spp.) which can result in serious defoliation while older and larger trees can be killed by the stem rot (Phellinus tremulae). Bacterial canker can also damage certain clones.
This is a species which is unlikely to be affected by climate warming and which could find an expanded role as a broadleaved component of conifer plantation forests in upland Britain.