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  • Writer's pictureDavid the Tree Guy

Dttg edited March 10 2023 David the tree GuyTop tree pics

The following trees have been selected by our team at David The Tree Guy. There are many other trees and cultivars available, however, these trees seem to be more favorable to Edmonton's climate and soil.

Autumn Blaze Maple Acer freemanii 'Jeffersred'

H: 30' W: 15' Zone: 3b Autumn Blaze Maple is a hybrid of the Red Maple (Acer rubrum) and Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum). It was selected for its superior shape and hardiness. It is right on the edge of hardiness in our Zone 3 Edmonton climate, but typically within the city, it has been thriving quite nicely. Many homeowners over the last decade have been rewarded by taking a chance on it, but if we get a particularly harsh winter it can have a little bit of tip dieback on the previous year's growth. The fall foliage is stunning as it turns red in late September against the silver bark.

Amur Maple Acer ginnala

H: 15' W: 8' Zone: 3 Hardy maple has grown as a small tree or large shrub. Striking orange to scarlet fall color for two to three weeks. Full sun will give this tree its best fall color but it can tolerate part shade. Produces pinkish winged samaras (helicopter seeds) in late summer. There are a few named varieties on the market now, we typically have the regular species variety and/or Ruby Slippers Amur Maple which has reliably pink showy samaras.

Sugar Maple Acer saccarum

H: 35' W: 20' Zone: 3-3b Not all Sugar Maples are hardy for our climate but they are beautiful large trees that are starting to be planted successfully here due to our warming climate and new hardy varieties being developed. Oval form and soil adaptable. Benefits from some shelter/wind protection. Produces large glossy green leaves that turn shades of red to orange to yellow (often all at the same time) in fall.

Ohio Buckeye Aesculus glabra

H: 20' W: 12' Zone: 3 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 stunning orange to red (depending on the genes of an individual) fall color that makes it stand out. The palmate leaves make it a choice like no other for our climate. The corky bark that forms as it ages makes it a true four-season tree that can be enjoyed year-round. If you want the look of the Horse Chestnut but want something more reliable or smaller this is a good choice.

Paper Birch Betula papyrifera species (including Chickadee)

H: 30' W: 12' Zone: 2 This is an extremely hardy birch native to Alberta with attractive peeling white bark adding interest even in the winter. It prefers moist, but well-drained soil. The golden fall color is really beautiful for two to three weeks each year. A shallow root system does not compete with turf grass so it is best to give it a large tree well or plant in a shrub bed with other selections. As with any birch, this tree can be susceptible to Birch-Leaf Miner.

Chickadee Paper Birch is a more upright variety that was originally selected from native Paper Birch in Northern Alberta. Cutleaf Weeping Birch Betula pendula laciniata

Cutleaf Weeping Birch Betula pendula laciniata

H: 40' W: 20' Zone: 2 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. A shallow root system does not compete with turf grass so it is best to give it a large tree well or plant in a shrub bed with other selections. As with any birch, this tree can be susceptible to Birch-Leaf Miner.

Toba Hawthorn Crataegus mordensis 'Toba'

H: 15' W: 10' Zone: 3 This variety of Hawthorn has slightly more orange-looking bark and is somewhat smaller than Snowbird. Clusters of rosette-shaped flowers emerge bright white in spring for a week or so, then fade to dusty pink over the course of a couple of weeks. Vase-like form and the trunk bark becomes uniquely twisted as it ages. Considered thornless although they have been known to produce the odd thorn here and there.

Russian Olive Elaeagnus angustifolia

H: 35' W: 20' Zone: 3 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 once established. One of the few trees in Edmonton that offer a true silver leaf. It does have strong 3 inch thorns throughout the tree so buyer beware. Requires good drainage and prefers poor sandy soils. Exposure is not a problem for this tree so it is great for windy slopes that are hard to keep watered. Prone to suckers

Green Ash Fraxinus pennsylvanica ('Prairie Spire', 'Patmore', 'Foothills', 'Trojan')

H: 40' - 50' (depending on variety) W: 15' - 30' Wide (depending on variety) Zone: 3 Green Ash has been one of the most commonly planted trees on the prairies for decades. It offers a large shade tree that is resistant to urban pollution and is cold-hardy. Many cultivars have been introduced over the years. The four listed above are what Sunstar Nurseries currently grows and what we feel do the best in the Edmonton area. They all differ a little in shape and size but they are all male selections which mean no messy seed. This is one of Edmonton's most commonly planted street trees along with American Elm.

Siberian Larch Larix sibirica

H: 40' W: 20' Zone: 3 The Siberian Larch is more drought tolerant than our native larch (Tamarack). This species is great for shelterbelts or as an individual specimen. It is very fast-growing and is considered low maintenance. Soft green needles turn beautiful gold and drop in autumn. The brilliant gold fall color makes this tree end the growing season with a bang

Courageous Flowering Crab Malus x 'Courageous'

H: 20' W: 10' Zone: 2 Courageous Flowering Crab is one of the newer flowering crabs on the landscaping scene. It offers an upright oval shape with light pink blossoms in the Spring for 2-3 weeks. Foliage emerges bronze-red in spring maturing to green as the season progresses. Produces sparse small fruit that is considered less messy than other crabs.

Gladiator Flowering Crab Malus x 'Gladiator'

H: 20' W: 8' - 10' Zone: 2 Glossy dark purple leaves and a narrow upright habit. Produces an abundance of bright pink flowers in spring followed by small ornamental fruit. Disease resistant. Great for smaller yards and tight spaces.

Royalty Flowering Crab Malus x 'Royalty'

H: 16' - 18' W: 16' Zone: 2 Edmonton’s favorite is seen all over town growing low and wide in parks and front yards. Glossy reddish-purple foliage and covered in stunning dark pink flowers in spring. Produces small hard dark purple fruit after flowers. Reddish fall color.

Swedish Aspen Populus tremula 'Erecta

H:40' W: 6' Zone: 3 This has been the most popular columnar tree for the last 20 years in Edmonton. Commonly used as a fast-growing privacy screen between neighbors or a vertical accent. Perfect for people who don't like to be patient with their trees. Prone to suckering and susceptible to Poplar Borer.

Goldspur Amur Cherry Prunus maackii 'Jefspur'

H: 20' W: 10' Zone: 3 This beautiful selection of Amur Cherry selected out of Manitoba offers a more upright, compact form with the orange/gold exfoliating bark that the species is known for. It is considered less prone to frost cracking. As with its parent Amur Cherry, this tree requires good drainage.

Midnight Schubert Chokecherry Prunus virginiana 'Midnight Schubert'

H: 20' W: 14' Zone: 3 Midnight is a superior chokecherry selection when compared to Bailey's Select. It has a larger, more ornamental leaf and it suckers less. It is an accent tree with green leaves turning a dark purple in late spring. Produces panicles of small white fragrant flowers in spring followed by small black edible fruit that is loved by birds. Fruit can be used for jams or jellies. This is a fast-growing tree and one of the few trees that offer red/purple leaves during the summer. Like all Schubert Chokecherries, Midnight is susceptible to Black Knot

Burr Oak Quercus macrocarpa

H: 40' W: 25' Zone: 3 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 slow-average growth rate (speeding up once established) and can live for hundreds of years. Great as a memorial tree. Will produce small acorns as the tree matures. The fall color is brownish-gold.

Columnar Oaks (Regal Prince, Kindred Spirit) Quercus robur x bicolor 'Long' & 'Nadler'

H: 30' W: 6' - 9' Zone: 3b Narrow/columnar in growth habit. A good accent or screening tree for smaller yards. Beautiful dark green leaves with the silver underneath which turn yellow in the fall. This tree becomes more oval as it matures. It leaves out in late spring. Can be hard to find sometimes. Slow-growing (part of what keeps it compact) and long-lived. Kindred Spirit is the narrower selection

Laurel Leaf Willow Salix pentandra

H: 40' W: 20' Zone: 2 A very fast-growing willow with very dark green glossy leaves. A more rounded willow tree that is known for its 'tough' foliage that stays on late into the season. It is easy to grow and adaptable to a wide range of soils. It can be used as a large single specimen shade tree or even as a multi-stem tree in a shelterbelt application. Like most willows, it leaves out early and holds its leaves very late in the year. It tends to self prune smaller interior branches in wind storms.

Black Hawk Mountain Ash Sorbus aucuparia 'Blackhawk'

H: 25' W: 15' Zone: 3 A medium-sized accent tree for the landscape with white flowers followed by orange-red clusters of berries that provide fall and winter interest. Nice oval-shaped tree with striking red-orange fall color. Good drainage is essential for any Mountain Ash.

American Lindens (Redmond & True North) Tilia americana 'Redmond', 'True North'

H: 30' - 35' W: 15' - 20' Zone: 3 Large, stately shade trees with a broadly pyramidal shape. They have large, heart-shaped leaves which are very attractive. Produces fragrant, small yellow flowers which appear in late spring. American Lindens are great for creating shade in a large yard, or they can be used in parks and boulevards. They are long-lived and give a nice option that is less common than some of the other large shade trees.

Dropmore Linden Tilia x flavescens 'Dropmore'

H: 35' W: 15' Zone: 3 This tree is a legend among prairie tree lovers. Originally selected by Frank Skinner over 80 years ago it is still the most commonly planted Linden today in Edmonton. It is a cross between Little Leaf Linden and American Linden. It holds its beautiful shape with almost no pruning. It is the hardiest of all the Lindens and has the fragrant flowers that Lindens are known for. A noble tree that will live on for many years if planted in the correct spot. A true prairie success story

Brandon American Elm Ulmus americana 'Brandon'

H: 40' W: 25' Zone: 2 A vase-shaped tree is known for its popularity on Edmonton's boulevards. In fact, Edmonton boasts the largest healthy stand of American Elms in all of North America. Alberta is still Dutch Elm Disease-free after all these years. It is very fast growing with toothed foliage that is dark green, accented by bright green new growth. Tolerant of almost any soil condition and urban situation, it is a spectacular large shade tree that will establish quicker than almost any other species. A perfect tree for a large yard, acreages, or boulevard planting. It is known to live hundreds of years, so consider planting for future generations to enjoy as well as yourself.

Evergreen Selection

Upright Junipers Juniperus (upright varieties)

H: 10' - 15; (Variety Dependent) W: 2.5' - 5' (Variety Dependent) Zone: 2-4 (Variety Dependent) Upright junipers vary in size and color. Some are green and others are a beautiful blue color. They are ideal for privacy screens or wind blocks or can be used as a focal point as a single specimen. They have a medium to slow growth rate and can tolerate hot and dry conditions, unlike Cedars. Most varieties are not susceptible to winter burn.

Columnar Norway Spruce Picea abies 'Cupressina','Christina','Pyramidalis'

H: 18' W: 5' Zone: 4 Generally, we have not found Columnar Norway Spruce to be reliably hardy in our climate. Therefore; we rarely if ever carry any in our inventory. As our climate changes and hardier selections become available we may try it again, but for now, we include it on our plant search for information only. The specimen in this picture resides in the Forest Heights neighborhood of Edmonton

White Spruce Picea glauca

H: 45' W: up to 15' Zone: 2 Full Sun to Part Shade. A very hardy spruce; native to Alberta. Fast-growing and adaptable to a variety of soil conditions. This tree is ideal as a large specimen tree or in parks, shelterbelts, or in mass plantings. The needles are a beautiful green all season long. This is a very dense tree that is very low maintenance.

Colorado Spruce - Green and Blue Picea pungens

H: 40'+ W: up to 20' Zone: 2 Grown from seed and available in blue or green; Colorado Spruce is a large evergreen tree with a pyramid shape that is very hardy in Alberta. The parent species of all varieties of Blue Spruce. Considered low maintenance with a strong central leader. Good as single specimen trees or in mass plantings for shelterbelts or in parks. Drought tolerant once established. Usually deer resistant. Interest all year round. This species is native to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Foliage color is brightest in full sun. Prefers good drainage. Somewhat slower growing than White Spruce

Fat Albert Colorado Blue Spruce Picea pungens 'Fat Albert'

H: 30'+ W: 18' - 20' Zone: 2 A cultivar of Colorado Spruce, it is selected for a dense growth habit while providing a beautiful blue color. Good for general landscape uses or in mass plantings. Strong central leader and requires very little pruning in general. Adaptable to a variety of soil conditions. As with all varieties of blue spruce; the more sun you give this tree, the bluer it will become.

Montgomery Blue Spruce Picea Pungens glauca 'Montgomery'

H: 10' W: 8' Zone: 2 This is one of the most compact versions of Colorado Blue Spruce. It offers all the benefits of regular Colorado Spruce but is more compact for smaller spaces and the modern yard. It requires almost no pruning or maintenance. Slower growing but that is part of what keeps it so compact. As with all varieties of blue spruce; the more sun you give this tree, the bluer it will become.

Swiss Stone Pine Pinus cembra

H: 25' W: 15' Zone: 2 Narrow pyramidal pine with soft beautiful dark green pine needles. Absolutely stunning slower-growing pine known for its soft needles and dense look. Slow to establish but the growth rate will increase once established. Great medium-sized specimen tree perfect for any yard. Very hardy & resistant to winter injury. Usually attracts deer. Long-lived and prefers good drainage.

Scots Pine Pinus sylvestris

H: 40' W: 20' Zone: 3 This variety of pine is absolutely stunning. It has a beautiful orange bark as it matures. It is known for its variety of shapes at maturity. It is very durable and very low maintenance. This tree is used in large landscapes, parks, or shelterbelts. As the tree matures, the branches become more spaced, giving the bark a chance to stand out

Ponderosa Pine Pinus ponderosa

H: 35' W: 18' Zone: 3 Large, faster-growing pine is ideal for large landscapes. Softer dark long green needles add great color and texture. Ideal for sunny or part sun locations. Beautiful cinnamon-brown bark. Can be used in windbreaks or shelterbelts.

Brandon Pyramidal Cedar Thuja occidentalis 'Brandon'

H: 20' W: 6' Zone 3 Part Shade to Full Sun. Prefers free-draining soil with adequate and consistent moisture. Upright cedar is great as a privacy screen or a vertical accent. Soft dark green foliage is nice and full and adds interest all year round. Adequate soil volume is important for a shallow netted root system (doesn't compete well in clay). Nice texture to add to any landscape. As with all Cedar varieties; Brandons, while hardy, are susceptible to winter damage caused by drying wind and sun glare (sunlight reflecting off snow or white buildings) over winter. Best in a protected area or consider wrapping with burlap in the winter months even for the first few years. With care and proper site selection, Cedars can be quite long-lived.

Skybound Cedar Thuja occidentalis 'Skybound'

H: 20' W: 6' Zone 3 The Skybound variety was selected from Brandon parents for improved winter hardiness. Many landscapers and homeowners alike swear by Skybound's improved winter performance. We usually recommend going with whichever one is available in the size desired as they look almost identical to the tried and tested Brandon Cedar. As with all Cedar varieties; Skybounds are susceptible to winter damage caused by drying wind and sun glare (sunlight reflecting off snow or white buildings) over winter. Best in a protected area or consider wrapping with burlap in the winter months even for the first few years

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