Wondering what trees and shrubs to plant, but don’t know where to start? First step is to know your plant hardiness zone. This will determine whether or not a tree or shrub will survive in your area. Plants labeled zone 2 or 3, and sometimes 4 are hardy enough to survive Calgary’s weather. Next, it’s important to take note of your plant site. For example, spacing, sunlight, shade & drainage are important things to know about your site before choosing and planting your new shrub or tree so that it can thrive. Once you have figured out your zone and site requirements, it’s time to choose your plants!
Popular Tree & Shrub Choices in Calgary
Swedish Columnar Aspens (height 12m, width 2m) – When planted in a row (take note of spacing), these tall and narrow trees are an excellent choice for providing privacy. They grow quite quickly and once established, have a dense canopy.
Snowbird Hawthorn (height 6m, width 3m) – A good choice for small yards, with clusters of fragrant white flowers in the spring followed by sparse red berries.
Columnar Blue Spruce (height 6m, width 2m) – A great choice for Calgary’s climate – it’s drought tolerant and cold hardy. It’s a narrow, columnar tree with bright blue needles and is another great choice for smaller sized yards.
Schubert Chokecherry (height 8m, width 4m) – This fast growing, oval shaped tree has small white flower clusters in the spring, which turn to small black cherries in the summer that can be used for jellies or juice. The foliage colours are beautiful throughout the growing season – green in the spring, burgundy in the summer and a deep purple in the fall.
Cotoneaster (height 1.5m, width 1.5m) – This is Calgary’s most popular hedge because it’s super hardy, dense and easy to grow. The glossy green leaves turn a brilliant scarlet colour in the fall.
Hydrangea (height 1.5m, width 1.5m) – There are now a few choices when it comes to hydrangeas that will thrive in Calgary’s hardiness zone. The “Annabelle” has pretty white flowers that appear in summer and last until fall and the “Invincebelle Spirit” produces large clusters of beautiful dark pink flowers.
Goldflame Spirea (height 1m, width 1m) – This is a popular shrub choice because it has colourful foliage throughout the growing season – golden purple tipped summer leaves turn copper in the fall. Beautiful crimson pink flowers grow in the summer months.
Diablo Ninebark (height 2m, width 2m) – With its deep purple leaves and contrasting light pink flowers, this shrub is another popular choice. It’s very easy to grow and maintain.
For more information, check out these “yard smart trees & shrubs” as recommended by the City of Calgary.