Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Aspens 2010
A few years ago, I planted a stand of quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) trees because I love the way the leaves shimmer in the sunlight. The rustling of the leaves sing a song to me. I couldn't contain my excitement when I first got the trees. The first few years, they would sway uncontrollably in the spring winds. I didn't understand how to anchor them. My knowledge of planting trees was and still remains limited. 

Poplar Twig Gall Fly
One day, I noticed spherical protrusions coming out of the leaves. I don't recall ever seeing these bulbous growths on aspens in the Santa Fe National Forest.  It makes me sad to learn that the growths are caused by an insect called, the poplar twiggall fly (aka twig gall).

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a non-toxic way to eliminate the pests. Please post a comment if you have any ideas. 


  1. Thanks for leading me to your gorgeous blog through blotanical! Very much enjoyed browsing through your old posts, and love your tree pictures, not to mention food and plants. I share your love for the sound of aspens!


  2. I feel fortunate to have stumbled upon Blotanical. The blogs have inspired me to try new things in the garden. I might even attempt starts from seeds this year!

  3. So _that's_ what it is. I have a shrub in our northern Colorado garden that is putting out twigs with exactly this deformation. I'm afraid I have no ideas of help for you, but at least I know that what I'm seeing is not healthy plant growth.

  4. Sometimes, it's good to know what the problem is even if there isn't an immediate resolution.


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