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Instant Forest

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Fall Colour

Easy Care

Winter Interest


Micro Climate



Pine Beetle

Rejuvinating Poplar Bush

Southern Trees




Our Forests



Dream as if you'll live forever,
Live as if you'll die today.
James Dean

Typical Pine

The edge were tree meets field creates a haven for all sorts of critters.

Typical Pine

In terms of agriculture Alberta is divided into 4 blocks:

I cannot figure out what the dividing line between central and south corresponds to. Too far south to be the Red Deer River. Too far north to be the Bow. At any rate the line is fairly arbitrary. Use your judgement, and ask your neighbours what works.

Trees for Southern Alberta

This file is still germinating

Alberta agriculture has a page here describing trees for various parts of Alberta.


Northwest Poplar

Rating: Satisfactory Spacing: Minimum 12 feet. Optimum 16 feet. Plant a colorado spruce between at 16 feet.

Size 50-60 feet, 80 feet in good conditions. Spread 40 to 55 feet. 65 in good conditions.

Growthrate: 2 to 6 feet per year. Water well for good growth.

If you want a thicker shelterbelt with less water use, prune top to 4 feet after first year. This will force multibranch development.

Does well in same locations as grass does well.


Brooks Poplar

Rating: Satisfactory

Size: 20 to 50 feet by about 10 feet wide.

Spacing: Minimum 8 feet. Optimum 12 feet. Good tree for 2 row checkerboard with Colorado Spruce.


Griffin Poplar

Rating: Satisfactory


High susceptibility to canker

Plains cottonwood

Rating: Satisfactory




Laurel Leaf Willow

Acute Leaf Willow

Peach Leaf Willows

Rating Unsatisfactory.

Willows generally do not like dry conditions, and do not like alkaline soils.

Manitoba Maple

Rating: unsatisfactory. Reason unknown.

Green Ash

Rating: Recommended


Bur oak

Rating: Satisfactory

Size: 30-50 feet by 20 feet. (Ag Alberta) Other sources say 100 to 130 feet. But it won’t get that big in any hurry. A foot a year is normal growth.


Paper Birch

Rating: Unsatisfactory.

Even here in central Alberta, Birch usually needs an extra source of water.





Rating: Satisfactory

Size: 15-30 feet by 15-20 wide.


Blackknot fungus.


Rating: Satisfactory

Size: 12-25 feet by 10-15 wide.

Berries make good jelly.

Pink/orange leaves in fall.


Sea Buckthorn

Rating: Recommended

Size: 8 to 16 feet.



Red Elder

Rating: Satisfactory

Size: Shrub 10-13 feet by 6-8 feet



Rating: Recommended

Size: Shrub 10-16 feet by half that wide.



Vilosa lilac

Rating Recommended.

Prefers clay or loam soils. Doesn’t like sandy soils.

Requires more care until established. (4 feet high)


Common Lilac

Rating: Recommended.

Size 8-12 feet high by 6-8 wide. Suckers, forming thickets. Ok in sandy soils. Doesn’t do well in peaty soils.

Pros: * Showy flowers with strong floral scent.
* Drought tolerant. * Moderately tolerant of alkaline conditions.

Tatarian Honeysuckle

Rating: Satisfactory

Size: shrub 10 feet by 8 feet.




Hedge Rose

Rating: Satisfactory

Size: Shrub 7 to 10 feet by 6 feet.


Altai Rose

Rating: Satisfactory.

Size 4-5 feet by same width.

Prefers loamy soil, tolerates most soils.

Pros: * Long lived. * White 2 inche flowers * Tolerates flooding during growing season. * Moderate drought resistance.

Cons: * Not salt tolerant. * Damaged by freeze thaw cycles, late frosts in spring, early fall frosts. * Suckers freely.

Wild Rose, Prickly rose

A pair of native roses that grow thorughout the province. Botanists call them separate species, but they are hard to tell apart and hybridize freely.

Rating: Satisfactory

Size: 3-4 feet high by 2-3 feet acaross

Pros: * Pink flowers * Red/orange fall colour * Red hips (seed pods) give winter interest.



This is a collection of several shrubs that are all part of a single plant family.

Silver Buffaloberry

Large thorny bush with orange berries, silver-grey leaves about an inch long. Small yellow flowers in spring. Orange berries late in summer. Very sour. Pick after hard frost for jam and jelly.

Rating: Recommended in all regions.

Size: 5-10 feet by 3 to 6 feet. Forms thickets.

Grows about a foot a year.

Wolf Willow

Medium thorny bush 3-8 feet by half that. Silver grey leaves about 1.5 to 2 inches long with curved shape. Yellow flowers with strong scent in spring. Silver berries that are mealy unappetizing. Forms thickets.

Size: 7 to 15 feet

Russian Olive

Do NOT PLANT This species is invasive, and in drier parts of the province is declared prohibited noxious. The seeds float very well, and move downstream up to 15 miles a year. It crowds out the native poplar, and the local wildlife doesn’t adapt.

Cherry Prinsepia

Dense spiny shrub. This one looks interesting, but I’ve been unable to find a supplier.

Rating: South: Satisfactory Central: Recommended North: Satisfactory.

Pros: * Dense * Fruit -- Red cherry-like pit. * Very early spring bud break.
* Frost tolerant. * Fruit is edible, but overall ‘meh’ * Drought resistant.

Cons: * Slow growth reate 4-12 inches a year.


Rating: S

Size: 4 to 6 feet, rarely 8, by about same width. Forms thickets.

Pros: * Flood tolerant * Favoured deer browse. Can distract deer from more valuable plants. * Very long lived. Cut back to ground when it gets leggy. * Burgundy fall colour. * Dark red twigs through winter.

Cons: * Not drought tolerant.

Got something to say? Email me: sfinfo@sherwoods-forests.com

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Sherwood's Forests is located about 75 km southwest of Edmonton, Alberta. Please refer to the map on our Contact page for directions.