How to Kill Aspen Trees


Aspen trees have a built-in survival mechanism that allows their root system to spread underground, continuously sprouting new trees. Therefore, if a forest fire kills a group of them, for example, aspen trees can quickly recover. But it's understandable if you don't want an entire aspen forest taking over your backyard. To avoid that situation, diligently kill the entire root system with the aid of herbicide and sharp garden tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Saw
  • Shears
  • Herbicide
  • Shovel
  • Cut down aspen tree sprouts and the mother tree.

  • Apply an herbicide that contains the chemical triclopyr or glyphosate to the fresh cuts on the stumps that are left. Spray the herbicide immediately following the cutting, as it won't work on healed wounds.

  • Loosen the soil around the sprouts to remove their root system from the ground along with the sapling. Cut the root from the rest of the system. Use this step if you wish to keep the mother tree, as the herbicide you apply to the attached sprouts is likely to injure it.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you leave an aspen tree standing, you will have to continue to kill the sprouts to control propagation.

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  • Photo Credit aspen upward image by Lee O'Dell from
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