Consider the tree you just purchased as a lifetime investment. How well your tree, and investment grows, depends on the type of tree and location you select for planting.
Proper tree planting will help ensure that your trees thrive and grow for many years.
*Remember to call Alberta One Call prior to planting any trees or shrubs to prevent any damage to underground utilities.
Start by shopping at a local nursery and enquire where their trees are grown. Since we experience chinooks, trees need time to adapt to our unique weather.
Inspect the tree thoroughly for roots, injury and form
- Healthy roots are essential to how well your tree will overcome transplant shock.
- Check the roots by gently removing the container to ensure large roots are not circling in the container.
- If they are, they can girdle other roots or the trunk and actually end up killing the tree (a few smaller circling roots can be cut back with a sharp tool).
- Look for an obvious trunk flare. The area at the base of a tree where the trunk transitions into the root system. Trunk flare should never be covered with soil or other materials, and will be an indicator of what depth the tree needs to be planted at.
- Inspect the trunk and branches for shipping injury and bad pruning cuts.
- Take any trunk wrap off for a closer look. Damage can be compartmentalized as the plant grows, but can create weakness or decay that can contribute to future decline.
- Good pruning cuts allow healthy tissue to completely encase the cut. (See Fig.1)
- Finally, be sure your tree has strong structural form.
- It should have evenly spaced branches, a strong vertical leader (main stem) and good strong branch attachments.
- The ideal branch attachment should have an angle of approximately 45 degrees, and is 40-50% the size of the main trunk.
- Look for vertical cracks near branch unions, caused by included bark that predisposes the limb to future failure.
Have your planting site in mind and tell the grower about its conditions (i.e. how much moisture, sunlight, wind exposure, dimensions). These details will help you chose the right tree that can beautify your yard for years to come.
If you plant a tree that is suited for the conditions, you will end up with a much healthier and more vigorous plant that will require less maintenance over time.
Consider the amount of space you have to work with and how big your tree will become, keeping in mind that a tree may not reach its mature potential for 30 to 40 years.
High headed canopy trees
These trees do not take up much space in your yard, but can potentially interfere with roof lines or overhead power lines as they can grow up to ten metres tall. They will provide excellent shade in the summer, while letting sunshine through in the winter.
- Brandon Elm: relatively quick growing, vase shaped canopy
- Bur Oak: slower growing, long-life,prairie hardy, interesting foliage and bark
- Green Ash: pollution tolerant, last to leaf out in spring
- Silver Maple: requires rich, moist soil and full sun
- Dropmore Linden: pyramidal form that can grow up to fifteen metres wide and ten metres tall
Smaller accent trees
- Columnar Mountain Ash: Requires good drainage. Can grow up to four metres wide and six metres tall
- Amur Maple: Requires full sun. Can grow four to five metres tall
- Ohio Buckeye: Slow growing, dense, round, low headed, large flowers, and ‘tropical’ looking foliage. Can grow six to seven metres tall
- Snowbird Hawthorne: Can grow three to four meters tall
Trees for wet sites
- Paper or Fountain Birch: Suited for large sites, as this tree can grow up to six metres wide and twelve metres tall
- Larch: Soft green needle clusters turning an attractive yellow in fall before shedding in winter.
- Willow: Suited for large sites with a spread of up to ten meters wide and twelve meters tall.
Trees for dry sites
- Russian Olive: Can grow four to five metres tall
- Colorado Spruce: Drought tolerant once established. Can grow six to seven metres wide and eighteen metres tall.*(consider a columnar spruce for smaller sites)
- Lodgepole pine: Our provincial tree. Can grow up to four metres wide and twenty metres tall
*Note: Removing lower spruce or pine branches will cause significant stress.