We’ve discussed before that Calgary can, depending upon where your property sits, support plant life within hardiness zones 2-4. But what does that mean when it comes to trees? If you have found yourself wondering which trees are best for your Calgary garden, read on.
Here at Mirage Landscaping, we have over three generations worth of experience assisting our Calgary area commercial and residential clients with their decisions about trees. As you will see, picking a tree that will survive the winter here is only the first question in need of answering. Picking a tree, because they live for decades, is a big commitment. For your maximum enjoyment, you must choose wisely.
Types of Trees That Will Thrive in Calgary
Let’s briefly go over some of the trees that will endure Canadian hardiness zones 2 or 3. Though select spots down by the Bow River could support zone 4 trees in outdoor or greenhouse settings, choosing trees that thrive in the usual climactic conditions here are better choices over those that merely survive year to year.
In general, among the deciduous varieties, ash trees, aspens, birches, box elders, elms, maples, ornamental apple and crabapple, and larches do well in Calgary. In the evergreen varieties, cedars, junipers, pines, and spruces, along with their dwarf subspecies, tend to do well here.
If you want to be socially conscious, the City of Calgary’s Water Services Department would suggest the following trees to help limit your household water consumption: Amur Maple, Bur Oak, Ivory Silk Tree Lilac, Scots Pine, Siberian Larch, and Ussurian Pear.
You begin to see the problem. Some trees are resource efficient, others are not. Some grow to low or intermediate heights while others will come to dominate your landscape and cast shadows long and deep. Some will have rather narrow canopies or grow conically while others, such as oaks, are known for their sprawling growth.
Considerations to Make Before Committing to a New Tree
The foremost concern you should have whether the tree you are considering “fits” not only within your yard, but within your lifestyle. A poorly chosen or sited tree can quickly go from being a treasured addition to a seeming curse. For instance, that charming Norwegian Spruce you plant out front for Christmas decorating in the winter is going to eventually become a 10+ metre tree fit for a forest. If you don’t want such a tall tree dominating your landscaping, you have to lock in on how it will be when it is mature, not how good it looks when it is growing.
Likewise, some trees can be difficult to care for. As an example, many weeping birch trees are planted annually in Canada. They are popular for their white bark, and tall, yet narrow canopy. The weeping birch self limits its growth at about 10m, and the dense canopy, especially in the lower branches, is excellent for shading nearby windows for low morning or evening sunlight.
But there can be a downside. Weeping birches are among the messiest ornamental trees you can install. That’s no problem if you hire a dedicated lawn maintenance firm, such as Mirage Landscaping in Calgary to do your spring and fall clean up for you. However, caring for a weeping birch will means you can expect to have to pick up branches a lot, as their delicate boughs tend to drop during wind storms. They are also known to produce a lot of pollen.
It’s easy to think, “Wow, I’ll just get an evergreen.” Here too they are not all made the same. Compared to a cedar, a spruce will be relatively jealous of its needles. Some cedar trees shed needles from mid-summer until deep in the autumn, making them more difficult to live with even if they are prettier and aromatic than many other evergreens.
As trees are such a large commitment in time and study to get the choice right for both you and your landscaping, the absolute smartest step you can take when selecting a tree is to call in an expert who can tell you absolutely what to expect. We humbly suggest ourselves! Contact us about your desire for a tree suitable to both Calgary’s climate and your personal circumstances.