Yesterday, while hurricane winds were blowing, I was out collecting seeds. No one told me of the dangers of this job. The high force winds were literally ripping the female catkins from the trembling aspen trees. There were severe thunderstorms watches issued, but I had to collect the catkins. Aspens, poplars and cottonwoods are unique in that the seeds will immediately germinate if they land on the right surface – warm and wet soil.
Of course, the winds were carrying the seeds across the road and depositing them all over the road shoulders. I really did have to remind myself that there was traffic to pay attention to and that the dog, my assistant nursery manager, was utterly unaware of any cars.
With our newly collected prizes in hand, we immediately laid the seeds on fresh, wet soil and left them to steam in the greenhouse. If all goes well, within days there should be little trembling aspen sprouting.
I have sadly overlooked this species considering them a weed and junk tree. In my ignorance I did not realize their contribution to the environment, especially along eroding rivers. I think this tree will become highly prized in the future as we see more heavy rain events like we saw this spring.