Aspens: beauty and science

Aspen trees play exquisite music in the wind. The sound of their leaves is magical from spring to fall. Called “quaking aspens” as their sound in the forest is unlike that of any other tree.

Aspens are the autumn showstoppers in Colorado. Their magnificent yellow leaves are the reason Long lines of cars drive along Peak to Peak highway and into the high country during “leaf peeper season.” They are beautiful up close or from the distance set against the green pines.

What makes them unique in the world of trees? They reproduce by root sprouts, so when you see a cluster of aspens, they are clones and share a root structure. Knowing this, has changed the way I look at these trees. I imagine under ground they are “holding hands” and supporting each other as they provide shelter to animals in our forest.

Another important feature of aspens is their ability to reduce the spread of forest fire in addition to regenerating in areas where there have been fires. A secret weapon in fire mitigation.

And after the cold has forced them to shed their leaves, they remain a charming part of the scenery in the mountains.

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