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Top Tree Species for Calgary

​Calgary is a unique growing climate, with weather conditions and challenges specific to our area. We’ve picked these species as examples of trees that grow well in Calgary’s variable weather.

Shade | Fruit or Flowering | Coniferous | Columnar

 

Shade tree

Shade

Larger sized trees with a large canopy of leaves to provide shade.

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Row Count: 12
ListCat: Top Tree Species for Calgary - Shade
ID: 460

Common name: Green Ash

Latin name: Fraxinus pennsylvanica

Type of tree: Deciduous

Size at maturity: 18m tall, 12m spread

Growth rate: Medium to fast

Best growing conditions: Full sun, moist soil

Things to love: An extremely hardy tree; will grow in clay soil and survive extreme climates.

Things to keep in mind: Bark of younger trees may sunscald in winter, prone to splitting in weather events due to weak branch joint areas, subject to pests such as Emerald Ash Borer

Plant this tree if you're looking for:

  • A fast growing tree
  • Extremely hardy tree that can tolerate almost any  environmental stress

 

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Row Count: 12
ListCat: Top Tree Species for Calgary - Shade
ID: 461

Common name: Trembling/Quaking Aspen

Latin name: Populus tremuloides

Type of tree: Deciduous

Size at maturity: 15m tall, 9m Spread

Growth rate: Fast

Best growing conditions: Full sunlight, tolerates dry conditions and some standing water. Not highly tolerant of urban pollution.

Things to love: Very adaptable plant, native to North America. Smooth white bark with delicate leaves add visual texture, especially in fall when leaves turn brilliant gold.

Things to keep in mind: Aspens can be high maintenance trees, subject to pruning needs, suckering and insects / disease.

Plant this tree if you're looking for: A uniquely prairie tree, that grows quickly in large areas.





  

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Row Count: 12
ListCat: Top Tree Species for Calgary - Shade
ID: 462

Common name: Paper Birch

Latin name: Betula papyrifera

Type of tree: Deciduous

Size at maturity: 18m tall, 11m Spread

Growth rate: fast

Best growing conditions: Full sun only, does best on well drained sandy or silty loam soils. Needs some protection from wind.

Things to love: A highly recognizable tree with creamy white bark and delicate foliage. They attract a variety of wildlife, especially birds

Things to keep in mind: They prefer cooler conditions: long winters and mild summers. Birch can be susceptible to insects including the bronze birch borer.

Plant this tree if you're looking for:

  • A quick growing, showy tree
  • A tree with shallow root systems, making them good for roadside or yard locations

 

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Row Count: 12
ListCat: Top Tree Species for Calgary - Shade
ID: 463

Common name: Ohio Buckeye

Latin name: Aesculus glabra

Type of tree: Deciduous 

Size at maturity: 9m tall, 9m Spread

Growth rate: Medium

Best growing conditions: Full sun/part shade, moist well-drained soil.

Things to love: Brilliant red fall foliage.

Things to keep in mind: Prone to leaf blotch, leaf scorch, and powdery mildew.

Plant this tree if you're looking for:

  • Medium sized shade tree at maturity
  • right fall coloursright fall colours

 

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Row Count: 12
ListCat: Top Tree Species for Calgary - Shade
ID: 464

Common name: American Elm

Latin name: Ulmus americana

Type of tree: Deciduous

Size at maturity: 25m tall, 12m spread

Growth rate: Medium to fast

Best growing conditions: Full to partial sun, moist deep soil

Things to love: Broad green canopy provides extensive shade

Things to keep in mind:

  • Prone to elm scale
  • At risk for Dutch Elm Disease
  • Will be a large tree at maturity with broad canopy

Plant this tree if you're looking for:

  • Shade
  • Large tree
  • Warm yellow leaves at fall

 

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Row Count: 12
ListCat: Top Tree Species for Calgary - Shade
ID: 465

Common name: Brandon Elm

Latin name: Ulmus americana 'Brandon'

Type of tree: Deciduous

Size at maturity: 15m tall, 6m spread

Growth rate: Fast

Best growing conditions: Full sunlight, tolerant of city pollution and salty soil

Things to love: A more compact, slightly smaller version of the classic American Elm

Things to keep in mind:

  • Prone to elm scale
  • At risk for Dutch Elm Disease

Plant this tree if you're looking for:

  • A smalled sized elm perfect for yards 
  • High canopy shade
  • Bright yellow fall colours

 

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Row Count: 12
ListCat: Top Tree Species for Calgary - Shade
ID: 466

Common name: Dropmore Linden

Latin name: Tilia x flavescens 'Dropmore'

Type of tree:  Deciduous

Size at maturity: 10m Tall, 7m Spread

Growth rate: Slow - Medium

Best growing conditions: Full sunlight, average soil, well drained.

Things to love: Tolerant of urban pollution, the Dropmore Linden is hardy, providing fragrant butter-yellow flowers in summer.

Things to keep in mind: Flowers will attract bees and other pollinators.

Plant this tree if you're looking for:

  • a great tree to support pollinators such as bees,
  • a highly fragrant tree
  • low maintenance tree
  • shade

 

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Row Count: 12
ListCat: Top Tree Species for Calgary - Shade
ID: 467

Common name: Manitoba Maple

Latin name: Acer negundo

Type of tree: Deciduous

Size at maturity: 9m tall, 8m Spread

Growth rate: Fast

Best growing conditions: Wide soil adaptability, can survive drought fairly well, prefers full sun.

Things to love: Fast growing, provides shelter from elements quickly and is extremely hardy against adverse conditions.

Things to keep in mind: Manitoba maples can grow erratically, during their shorter life spans- meaning vigilance in pruning to ensure good structure. Susceptible to wind damage, aphids and certain diseases.

Plant this tree if you're looking for: Soil stabilization and windbreaks

A YardSmart recommended tree.

 

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Row Count: 12
ListCat: Top Tree Species for Calgary - Shade
ID: 468

Common name: Bur Oak

Latin name: Quercus macrocarpa

Type of tree: Deciduous

Size at maturity: 14m tall, 7m spread 

Growth rate: Slow

Best growing conditions: deep, moist soils with full sun

Things to love: Bur Oaks have strong tap roots, making established trees more tolerant to drought. Able to widthstand Chinook conditions well.

Things to keep in mind: Not recommended for transplant due to deep tap root.

Plant this tree if you're looking for:

  • a slow growing tree that is hardy to our climate,
  • a tree that provides food and shelter for wildlife
  • can be enjoyed by generations to come.

Did you know: Bur Oak acorns are a favourite food of bears- among other animals; but the tree only produces seed crops every few years- to ensure the predation of acorns is outweighed by the volume of the seeds grown.

A YardSmart recommended tree.

 

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Row Count: 12
ListCat: Top Tree Species for Calgary - Shade
ID: 469

Common name: Balsam Poplar

Latin name: Populus balsamifera

Type of tree: Deciduous

Size at maturity: 25m tall, 5m spread, (NEED CANOPY SPREAD)

Growth rate: Fast

Best growing conditions: Full sun, sandy to loamy soil, well drained

Things to love: A fast growing, large canopy tree, native to Alberta. Resin coated buds in spring release a fragrant scent. Supports a variety of wildlife and encourages native biodiversity.

Things to keep in mind: Has shallow root systems that can create uneven ground, is a short lived tree compared to other species (~70 years in city environments)

Plant this tree if you're looking for:

  • One of the hardiest deciduous trees in Canada
  • Quick growing tree well adapted to Alberta weather
  • Wind or snow breaks

 

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Row Count: 12
ListCat: Top Tree Species for Calgary - Shade
ID: 470

Common name: Northwest Poplar

Latin name: Populus x jackii Northwest

Type of tree:  Deciduous

Size at maturity: 25m Tall, 20m Spread

Growth rate: Fast

Best growing conditions: Wide soil adaptability, requires generous watering to establish but can tolerant some drought. Plant in full sun, or partial shade.

Things to love: This tree is fast growing, provides excellent shade and wind breaks, and is adapted and bred to thrive on prairie climates.

Things to keep in mind: Short lived – approx 30 to a maximum of 60 year life span under ideal conditions. Aggressive root system can create underground utility issues in older lots.

Plant this tree if you're looking for:  A quick growing shade canopy tree in larger new lots or acreages with much space for the tree to grow.

 

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Row Count: 12
ListCat: Top Tree Species for Calgary - Shade
ID: 471

Common name: Laurel Leaf Willow

Latin name: Salix pentandra

Type of tree: Deciduous

Size at maturity: 13m tall, 13m Spread

Growth rate: Fast

Best growing conditions: Full to partial sun, not drought tolerant but can withstand some flooding. Does not tolerate alkaline soils.

Things to love: A fast growing tree with limited pest and disease concerns, good for shelter from elements. Most basic pruning is needed: limited to removing dead, diseased or broken branches.

Things to keep in mind: Somewhat susceptible to die back, esp in the crown of younger trees. Will not survive drought.

Plant this tree if you're looking for:

  • Wind/snow break
  • Fast growing foliage
  • Tree that does well in wetter conditions ree that does well in wetter conditions

Did you know:

  • This tree supports a large variety of wildlife
  • Used in production of asprin and other medications

 

 

Flowering Tree

Fruit or Flowering

Trees that are usually smaller sized, grown for decorative purposes.

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Row Count: 8
ListCat: Top Tree Species for Calgary -
ID: 473

Common name: Schubert Chokecherry

Latin name: Prunus virginiana ‘Schubert’

Type of tree: Deciduous

Size at maturity: 8m tall, 5m spread

Best growing conditions: Full sun for production of fruit, tolerant of drought and shade.

Things to love:

  • Unique leaf colour
  • Fruit supports wildlife

Things to keep in mind:

  • Prone to black knot fungus
  • Prone to tent caterpillars
  • Can sucker- may require clean up pruning around trunk, annually

Plant this tree if you're looking for:

  • Smaller, ornamental tree
  • Variety of bird life on your property
  • Colourful foliage

 

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Row Count: 8
ListCat: Top Tree Species for Calgary -
ID: 474

Common name: Crabapple

Latin name: Malus

Type of tree: Deciduous

Size at maturity: Vary – 1.5m – 8m tall, 1.5m – 6m tall

Growth rate: Medium

Best growing conditions: Full sunlight, average to moist soil, tolerant of urban environments and pollution.

Things to love:

  • Blossoms ranging in colour from creamy white to blush pink to brilliant crimson in spring, depending on variety
  • Fruit supports wildlife and can be consumed by humans
  • Smaller tree, perfect for small yards or densely developed areas

Things to keep in mind: Plant away from streets and sidewalks to ensure easy fruit clean up.

Plant this tree if you're looking for:  

  • Highly decorative blossoms in spring
  • Fruit for human and wildlife consumption
  • Smaller sized tree for yards or denser development areas

Did you know: Because of the plentiful blossoms and small fruit, crabapples are popular for use in bonsai culture.

 

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Row Count: 8
ListCat: Top Tree Species for Calgary -
ID: 475

Common name: Hawthorn

Latin name: Crataegus

Type of tree: Deciduous

Size at maturity: 6m tall, 6m Spread

Growth rate: Slow to Medium

Best growing conditions: Full to partial shade, adaptable to most types of soil, tolerant of dry or moist conditions – but not standing water.

Things to love: As this tree doesn’t get extremely big, it’s a good choice for smaller yards, or under utility lines.

Things to keep in mind: Hawthorn does indeed have thorns, and they can be quite sharp. Avoid planting in areas where pets/children may frequent.

Plant this tree if you're looking for:

  • A showy spring tree with colourful blooms showy spring tree with colourful blooms
  • A species that attracts birds

A YardSmart recommended tree. 


 

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Row Count: 8
ListCat: Top Tree Species for Calgary -
ID: 476

Common name: Mayday, Asian Bird Cherry

Latin name: Prunus padus var commutata

Type of tree:  Deciduous

Size at maturity: 6m tall, 8m spread

Growth rate: Medium - Fast

Best growing conditions: Full sunlight, average soil conditions with no standing water. Highly tolerant of urban pollution.

Things to love: First to leaf out in spring, with large bunches of creamy white flowers.

Things to keep in mind: Susceptible to Black Knot Fungus.

Plant this tree if you're looking for: A showy tree that provides flowers in spring, bird food in summer and bright fall foliage.

 







 

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Row Count: 8
ListCat: Top Tree Species for Calgary -
ID: 477

Common name: American Mountain Ash, Rowan

Latin name: Sorbus Americana

Type of tree: Deciduous

Size at maturity: 8m tall, 5m spread

Growth rate: Slow to medium

Best growing conditions: Full sun, acidic soil.

Things to love: Bright red fall foliage, supports wildlife with clusters of small red berries.

Things to keep in mind: saline or water logged soil will kill this tree. It is short lived at ~80 years.

Plant this tree if you're looking for:

  • a true “four season” tree – with something to offer year round:
  • colourful fall leaves
  • bird life on your property
  • good shade tree

 

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Row Count: 8
ListCat: Top Tree Species for Calgary -
ID: 478

Common name: Ussurian Pear, Harbin Pear, Manchurian Pear

Latin name: Pyrus ussuriensis

Type of tree:  Deciduous

Size at maturity: 10m Tall, 6m Spread

Growth rate: Medium - Fast

Best growing conditions: Full sunlight, even moisture- will not tolerate standing water. Highly tolerant of urban pollution.

Things to love: This showy tree produces rich flowers in mid spring, with leaves turning to burgundy in the fall. Has good resistance to fire blight.

Things to keep in mind: Fruit can be messy and will require occasional clean ups.

Plant this tree if you're looking for: An accent or shade tree that produces fruit for both human and wildlife consumption.

A YardSmart recommended tree.

 

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Row Count: 8
ListCat: Top Tree Species for Calgary -
ID: 479

Common name: Princess Kay Plum, Flowering Plum

Latin name: Prunus nigra 'Princess Kay’

Type of tree:  Deciduous

Size at maturity: 4m Tall, 2.5m Spread

Growth rate: Medium

Best growing conditions: Full sunlight, even moisture, no standing water. Tolerant of pollution.

Things to love: Princess Kay Plum is an extremely showy tree in spring, blooming with blankets of flowers. In fall, the leaves turn bright yellow.

Things to keep in mind: this tree bears no fruit, meaning minimal clean up.

Plant this tree if you're looking for:

  • an accent tree that stuns in spring
  • a smaller tree to plant under overhead utility lines



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Row Count: 8
ListCat: Top Tree Species for Calgary -
ID: 480

Common name: Japanese Tree Lilac

Latin name: Syringa reticulata

Type of tree:  Deciduous

Size at maturity: 7m Tall, 5m Spread.

Growth rate: Medium

Best growing conditions: full sunlight, average to moist soil- don’t dry this tree out. Tolerates urban pollution well.

Things to love: A showy, smaller tree that blooms with white creamy flowers in spring / early summer. Maintains its shape with minimal pruning.

Things to keep in mind: Needs full sun and consistent watering.

Plant this tree if you're looking for:

  • Attracts butterflies, but does not encourage deer, who prefer other species.
  • A good shade and accent tree.

 

 

Spruce Tree

Coniferous

Evergreens with needles that grow year round.

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Row Count: 4
ListCat: Top Tree Species for Calgary - Coniferous
ID: 481

Common name: Siberian Larch

Latin name: Larix sibirica

Type of tree: Deciduous conifer

Size at maturity: 15m tall, 6m spread

Growth rate: Medium

Best growing conditions: Moist, light and well drained soils are best- it does not do well in drought conditions. Very low shade tolerance – needs full sun. Hardy against winter climates.

Things to love: This bright green tree has delicate needles that regrow every spring. Fall sees Larches turn bright yellow, then lose their needles – making them an ideal shade tree in summer, and allowing light through in winter.

Things to keep in mind: This tree must be planted in full sun, and does not transplant well once initially planted.

Plant this tree if you're looking for:
  • a tree to support diverse wildlife
  • shade in the summer and sun in winter

A YardSmart recommended tree.

 

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Row Count: 4
ListCat: Top Tree Species for Calgary - Coniferous
ID: 482

Common name: Colorado Spruce

Latin name: Picea pungens

Type of tree: Coniferous

Size at maturity: 20m tall, 7m spread

Growth rate: Medium

Best growing conditions: Full to partial sun, with moist acidic soil

Things to love: Silvery blue needles, survives pollution and seasonal drought well- once established

Things to keep in mind: Will be large at maturity, subject to spider mites, spruce gall aphids and yellowheaded spruce saw flies

Plant this tree if you're looking for:

  • A large tree at maturity,
  • Hardy against city growing conditions,
  • Windbreaks
  • Similar appearance in all seasons
A YardSmart recommended tree.

 

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Row Count: 4
ListCat: Top Tree Species for Calgary - Coniferous
ID: 483

Common name: Norway Spruce

Latin name: Picea abies

Type of tree: Coniferous

Size at maturity: 39m tall, 10m spread

Growth rate: Medium to rapid

Best growing conditions: Full to part sun, moist, well drained acidic soil

Things to love: one of the most adaptable evergreens to harsh conditions, tolerates seasonal drought and city pollution well

Things to keep in mind: this tree likes drier conditions – wet soils will kill it. Subject to specific spruce pests such as galls and mites.

Plant this tree if you're looking for:

  • a large tree at maturity to provide wind or snow breaks
  • a quick growing tree
  • a tree resilient to wind events- Norway spruce have deep spreading root systems able to tolerate high winds
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Row Count: 4
ListCat: Top Tree Species for Calgary - Coniferous
ID: 484

Common name: White Spruce  

Latin name: Picea glauca

Type of tree: Coniferous 

Size at maturity: 25 m tall, 6m spread

Growth rate: Medium

Best growing conditions: Full sun, moist acidic soil

Things to love: Adapts well to a variety of harsh soil and sparse moisture conditions, survives drought and pollution well once established.

Things to keep in mind: Subject to spruce related pests such as galls and aphids.

Plant this tree if you're looking for:

  • a large tree at maturity
  • slower growth rates
  • extremely hardy species to cold temperatures

 

Columnar Tree

Columnar

Narrow, tall trees that take up less space.

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Variables

Row Count: 1
ListCat: Top Tree Species for Calgary - Columnar
ID: 472

Common name: Swedish Columnar Aspen

Latin name: Populus tremula 'Erecta'

Type of tree:  Deciduous

Size at maturity: 12m tall, 2m Spread

Growth rate: Fast

Best growing conditions: Full sun, well drained soil with even moisture

Things to love: Tall, slim and fast growing, these trees provide excellent wind, sound and snow breaks in urban settings.

Things to keep in mind: At risk for Bronze Leaf disease. Space between columnar aspens and planting a variety of tree species will help reduce the risk.

Plant this tree if you're looking for:

  • A privacy screen
  • Sound or wind breaks
  • Shade