top of page
  • Writer's pictureDavid the Tree Guy

Davids shrub selection for 2023 David the tree guy



H: up to 15' W: up to 8' Zone: 3 Full to part sun. Amur Maples are available as a small tree or in this case as a large shrub. This is determined by pruning at a young age. Absolutely beautiful fall color which is vibrant red with hints of orange or yellow. Fast grower adaptable to a wide variety of soils. These shrubs add color and texture to your landscape. Newer shrub varieties of Amur Maple on the market include Countryside and Blazing Elf amongst others, these selections offer more compact growth and uniformity of fall color. An Edmonton favorite as it is the hardiest maple that turns red in fall.




Chokeberry Aronia

melanocarpa 'Viking', 'Lowscape Mound', 'Autumn Magic'

H: 2' - 4' W: 2' - 4' Zone: 3 Full to part sun. This is a very unique and showy shrub that is very hardy to Alberta. They have dark green, glossy leaves with white flowers in the spring and edible dark blackberries in the fall that are known to have health benefits by Eastern Europeans. The vibrant red and orange fall color makes it a must for any landscape. It is an easy shrub to keep tidy and is underused in our climate. It tolerates a variety of soil conditions and erosion (great on a hillside or slope). Could be used as an alternative to cotoneaster if you were looking to create a little more diversity in the landscape.


Tatarian Dogwoods Cornus

alba ‘Bailhalo’, ‘Boughen’, ‘Jefreb’, ‘Kesselringii’, ‘Prairie Fire’, ‘Sibirica


Full sun to part shade. This family of Dogwoods is developed from a species native to Northern Asia and Siberia. They differ very little from our native Dogwoods overall and the variety of ornamental features available in this group offers plenty of sizes, color, and texture options. All Tatarian Dogwoods (also sometimes referred to generally as Siberian Dogwoods) are hardy and prefer moist but free-draining soils. They produce clusters of creamy white flowers in the spring (not very noticeable/showy) followed by berries in fall that are eaten by birds throughout the winter. Tolerant of excess moisture but not standing water. Tip back/trim to encourage density and thin out the oldest woodiest stems to encourage new growth (best stem color) and airflow within the shrub. The following are the Tatarian varieties we carry:

Ivory Halo Dogwood ‘Bailhalo’


H: 4’-5’ W: 4’-5’ Zone: 3 Grayish-green foliage with white variegation. Good red winter stem color.

Neon Burst Dogwood ‘Byboughen’


H: 4’ W: 4’ Zone: 2 Bright lime-yellow foliage that turns soft purple in the fall. Heat tolerant.


Little Rebel Dogwood ‘Jefreb’


H: 3’-4’ W: 3’-4’ Zone: 2 Compact variety. Green foliage turns burgundy in the fall. Red winter stems.


Kesselring Dogwood ‘Kesselringii

H: 6’ W: 6’ Zone: 2 Purple-green foliage that is deeply veined. Dark purple winter stems.


Prairie Fire Dogwood ‘Prairie Fire’

H: 6’ W: 5’ Zone: 2 Bright yellow-gold foliage. Good red winter stem color


Siberian Dogwood ‘Sibirica’

H: 7’ W: 5’ Zone: 2 Green foliage turns burgundy in the fall. Great red winter stems.


Red Osier Dogwoods Cornus sericea (formerly stolonifera) ‘Cardinal’, ‘Kelseyi’, ‘Flaviramea’, ‘Farrow’ Full sun to part shade. This family of Dogwoods is developed from a species native to North America (including Alberta). In fact, the native parent species Red Osier is often still available in nurseries. They differ very little from Dogwoods native to Siberia overall and the variety of ornamental features available in this group offers plenty of sizes, color, and texture options. All Red Osier Dogwoods (also sometimes generally referred to as Red Twig Dogwoods) are hardy and prefer moist free-draining soils. They produce clusters of creamy white flowers in the spring (not very noticeable/showy) followed by berries in the fall that are eaten by birds throughout the winter. Tolerant of excess moisture and even some standing water. Tip back/trim to encourage density and thin out the oldest woodiest stems to encourage new growth (best stem color) and airflow within the shrub. The following are the Red Osier varieties we carry:


Cardinal Dogwood ‘Cardinal


H: 6’ W: 6’ Zone: 2 Closest to species. Green foliage and bright red winter stems.


Kelsey Dogwood ‘Kelseyi’

H: 2.5’ W: 2.5’ Zone: 3 Dwarf variety. Very compact with green foliage and red stems.


Yellow Twig/Bud’s Yellow Dogwood ‘Flaviramea’

H: 4’-5’ W: 4’-5’ Zone: 3 Lighter green foliage and lime to golden stems brightening in the winter


Arctic Fire Dogwood ‘Farrow’

H: 5’-6’ W: 4’-5’ Zone: 2 Proven winners selection with great winter stem color and relatively compact habit.


Firefly Nightglow Diervilla Diervilla splendens 'El Madrigal'


H: 2' - 3' W: 2' - 3' Zone 3 Full sun to part shade. Fast-growing shrub with purple foliage (best color in full sun) and producing abundant small yellow flowers in spring through summer that are loved by bees and butterflies. Purple foliage brightens towards fall. Somewhat prone to suckering. They grow well in many types of soil and are easy to grow.


Smokebush Continus coggygria ‘Grace’, ‘Golden Spirit’, ‘Royal Purple’, ‘Young Lady’



H: 4’ W: 3’ Zone: 3b-4 Full to part sun. Prefers good to average, well-drained soil. Best performance in a sheltered location. Known as Smoke Trees in warmer climates. Smokebushes do not get to be tree-sized in our climate but as a shrub provides great foliage color and interesting leaf shape. Named for the airy plume of “smoke” like blooms produced in summer on old wood. Flowering is rare when planted in our zone as they usually need to be cut back heavily in spring due to winter dieback but the new growth and beautiful foliage can reach up to 4’ in a season even when cut right back to the ground. In a very sheltered location or if given extra winter protection you may get a flush of unique blooms.


Hedge Cotoneaster

H: Up to 6’ W: Up to 4’ Zone: 2 Full to part sun. Usually used as a formal hedge and planted approximately 12” to 18” apart to create a nice full looking hedge. It is very easily maintained and pruned. This plant grows well in a variety of soils and is fast-growing. It has a beautiful orange-red fall color with white/pink small flowers in the spring and dark purple berries in the fall. While it is part sun tolerant, you will get the best fall color with increased sun. Mature size depends heavily on pruning/hedging, and can be kept as low as 3’. If using as a hedge, remember to thin out the oldest branches every year or second year in addition to hedge trimming.


Winged Burning Bush and Dwarf Winged Burning Bush Euonymus alatus and Euonymus alatus ‘Compactus’

H: 3’-6’ W: 3’-5’ Zone: 3 Full to part sun. Soil adaptable. Small white flowers in spring appear to be ‘winged’ by the dark green foliage. Makes a great backdrop with its dark green serrated foliage during the growing season. Corky ridged bark adds winter interest and in fall the leaves turn brilliant scarlet hues. While tolerant of part sun and even light shade, the more sun this shrub gets during the growing season, the brighter the fall color will be. The larger version can easily be pruned into a small tree.


Sea Buckthorn (aka: Sea Berry) Hippophae rhamnoides (Male and Female)

H: 3'-10' W: 3' to Spreading Zone 2 Full sun. Good drainage is required. Prefers infertile sandy/rocky soils. Usually, large (smallest variety is called Silver Star). Female specimens produce stunning orange clusters of berries when a male pollinator is planted nearby. The berries are edible and can be used for juicing, jams, jellies, or fresh eating. Thin silver leaves give this shrub a unique look and texture. Can spread through suckering, particularly the larger varieties. Great for mass plantings or an informal hedge or accent shrub in large spaces. Ideal for acreages or as a wind block. Can be pruned into a small tree. An Alberta favorite! Multiple varieties available, make sure to plant at least one male for every three female plants if planting for fruit production.


Ninebark (Assorted Varieties) Physocarpus opulifolius

Zone: 3 (Varieties listed) Full to part sun. The name Ninebark refers to the interesting exfoliating bark that identifies this species. Somewhat adaptable to soil conditions and exposure but generally prefers sunny sites with adequate drainage. Fast-growing with finely toothed colorful foliage that adds texture and great colors in the fall. Produces clusters of small white flowers in spring followed by small red fruit capsules. Larger varieties are great as backdrop plants to make smaller shrubs and perennials planted in front pop. Humidity and powdery mildew can be a problem for Ninebarks when too dense so be sure to prune/thin out the oldest branches every year or 2 to encourage new growth and increase the airflow within the shrub. Many sizes and color choices available depending on variety, the following are some of the Ninebark varieties we carry:


Darts Gold Ninebark ‘Dart’s Gold’


H: 6’ W: 4' One of the first varieties on the market. Bright gold to lime-green foliage


Diablo Ninebark ‘Diablo’

H: 6' W: 4' One of the first varieties on the market. Dark purple foliage and a great track record.


Amber Jubilee Ninebark


H: 6' W: 4’ Beautiful gold to amber to bronze foliage often all at the same time. Great fall color


Panther Ninebark ‘N5’


H: 5' W: 3’ Newer selection with very dark almost black purple foliage


Summer Wine Ninebark ‘Seward’


H: 5' W: 4’ Dark wine-purple foliage that brightens to showy burgundy in fall.


Ginger Wine Ninebark ‘Smnpoblr’


H: 5' W: 3’ Foliage emerges from sunny orange maturing to burgundy


Tiny Wine & Tine Wine Gold ‘Smnpotw’


H: 3' W: 3’ Dwarf varieties with smaller finer foliage and smaller mature size. Foliage is dark purple (Tiny Wine) or Gold (Tiny Wine Gold).


Nanking Cherry Prunus tomentosa


H: 6' W: 4' Zone 2 Full sun. Prefers well-drained soil. A beautiful fruit-bearing shrub that is easy to grow and is self-pollinating. Rounded form with beautiful pinkish-white flowers in early spring (before the foliage emerges) followed by abundant small bright red cherries mid-summer. Cherries are tart but good for fresh eating, pies, wines, or jellies. A very beautiful shrub! Also can be used to pollinate certain plums. Pictured is a Double Flowering Plum that has been pruned into a small tree. Pruning/shearing should be done immediately after harvest to allow it time to set flower/fruit buds for the following season. A good substitute for Double Flowering Plum is a specimen that has been pruned into a small tree.


Silverleaf Buffaloberry Shepherdia argentea


H: 10' W: 10' Zone 2 Full sun. Prefers a well-drained soil with poor/low fertility. Very drought tolerant once established. Native species are often used for large areas or naturalization. Spreads quickly by suckers to form large "stands". Very salt-tolerant and a nitrogen fixer! Small yellow flowers in spring followed by small bright red fruit (if pollinator present). Smooth brown bark and thorns. The silver foliage is unique in color, texture, and shape.


Russet Buffaloberry (AKA: Canada Buffaloberry) Shepherdia canadensis