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  • Writer's pictureDavid the Tree Guy

David's Tree Selection


Choosing the right tree for your landscape is important in the long term. Specific trees planted in the right location help avoid costly removals in the future. Want to know what to consider when choosing the perfect plants for your yard? Keep reading below for expert advice!

Consider the following when selecting a tree for your yard:

  1. Soil conditions. While the soil varies throughout the city of Edmonton it is primarily silt loam and clay loam in texture. The PH level of the soil on the surface can vary between 6.5 to 6.8 whereas the subsurface soil has a PH of about 7.4 to 7.8.

  2. Exposure (Sun and wind). Alberta in general has lots of days of endless sunshine. In the winter time the prevailing winds can be very cold and relentless. If you decide to plant a sensitive tree, try to plant it in a sheltered spot.

  3. Drainage. The soil in the Edmonton area typically does not drain well especially with our clay subsoil. Pay attention to low spots on your property as water usually drains towards the low spot and becomes stagnant. If drainage is an issue ask the staff at a reputable garden center for a tree that does well in areas of poor drainage.

  4. Space constraints. Before you purchase a tree make sure you understand how big the tree will grow. You can ask the staff at your local garden center for your desired trees “mature height” and “mature spread”. I will include a quick guide of some of my favorite trees to help you determine the right size for your yard.

  5. Hardiness zone. Edmonton is located in zone 3b What that means is that our minimum temperature in the winter is around 37.2 to 34.5C You can use this guide to help determine what trees and plants will grow best in your area. Buying plants with a zone hardiness from 0 to 3 will work well in your yard.

  6. Insect and disease susceptibility. There are many trees with issues associated with each particular species. While it's hard to find a tree that will be completely disease free, however most trees can live a long and happy life while having some minor ailments. I have many clients that are in love with their trees despite requiring regular health check ups. Some trees require more maintenance than others. Again it's good to consult an expert before selecting your new tree.

David's Tree Selection

Large Trees

Cutleaf weeping birch. Hardiness zone 2; Mature height 40 feet tall; and 20 feet wide. A large birch with graceful weeping branches. The small cutleaf leaves give this tree an elegant look. It is fast growing and hardy and does require more water than the average tree once it is mature. It is one of the few weeping trees that can be grown in Edmonton.

Burr oak. Hardiness zone 3; Mature height 40 feet tall; and 25 feet wide. The hardiest of all the oaks, this tree is stunning! Beautiful dark glossy green oak leaves and corky bark make this the mother of all shade trees for Northern Alberta. This tree has a medium growth rate and can live for hundreds of years. The Fall colour is a brownish gold.

Medium Sized Trees

Ohio Buckeye. Hardiness zone 3; Mature height 20 feet tall; and 12 feet wide. This is one of the most exotic looking trees that can be reliably grown in Edmonton. It has beautiful creamy yellow flowers in spring followed by prickly nut-like fruit which form during the summer. It has a stunning orange fall colour that makes it really stand out. The palmate leaves make it a choice like no other for our climate. The corky bark that forms as it ages make it a true four season tree that can be enjoyed year round.

Russian Olive. Hardiness zone 3; Mature height 35 feet tall; and 20 feet wide. This is a very unique tree, that offers great contrast with its long, narrow silver leaves. A dark gray bark provides winter interest and the leaves hang on well into November. It is very drought tolerant and hardy. One of the few trees in Edmonton that offer a true silver leaf. It does have 3 inch spikes throughout the tree so buyer beware.

Thunderchild flowering crabapple. Hardiness zone 2; Mature height 18 feet tall; and 12 feet wide. Thunderchild Flowering crab is a true classic in the ornamental tree industry. It has stood the test of time with it's breathtaking pink blossoms every Spring. This cultivar offers more of an umbrella shape with it's arching branches. Once the beautiful Pink blossoms fade, reddish-purple leaves will emerge and grace the tree's branches until Fall at which time they will turn more of a bronze-red colour. Like most Flowering crabs, there is dime size fruit that forms but the little bit of fruit that will drop is worth all the other features this tree has to offer. It is considered a fairly small tree so it will work in a lot of spaces.

Small trees

Amur Maple. Hardiness zone 3; Mature height 15 feet; and 8 feet wide. This is a tree for small yards which has 3-lobed, maple shaped leaves. It's vibrant red colour graces this tree every fall for two to three weeks. It is very hardy and can be grown as a large multi-stem shrub or small single stem. tree. Full sun will give this tree it's best fall colour but it can tolerate part shade.

Globe cedar Hardiness zone 2; Mature height 6 feet tall; and 6 feet wide. A popular global shaped cedar that is great for border plantings or a tall rounded hedge. Easy to prune and shape. An interesting cedar that covers space but is still small enough for any yard. Foliage is dark green and soft with good texture. Does well in partial shade with moist, well-drained soil.


Consult an expert! If you are unsure of what to plant you are not alone. It is a decision that you will have to live with for a long time. My best recommendation before buying a tree for your yard is to visit a local garden center and ask the experts. Give them as much information about your yard as possible. Whether you want to plant on a slope in poor soil or in an exposed location they can help you decide on the right tree.

Visit Sunstar Nurseries Ltd. in Edmonton or Greenland Garden Center in Sherwood Park and tell them David the Tree Guy guy sent you!

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