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If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law.
Winston Churchill


Plant Local -- It Knows How to Grow Here

Cost limitations are making many municipalities look at planting natural parks, instead of formal parks for at least part of their green spaces. The idea has merit: The plants are native here, so except for foreign pests they should have little care concerns, once established.

You don't have to be a municipality to like this idea. Using local plants can make for a very low maintenance yard. Natives are frequently less expensive.

We have a selection of native species available in sizes from plug to #10 pots.

Naturalization doesn't have to mean 'native'. The idea is to establish a self perpetuating system with little or no input from outside (human) agencies.

Native Trees

Balsam Fir Uncommon. Favours north shady slopes. Naturally a secondary tree, coming in underneath poplar. Sizes: plugs available some years, #1, #2 pots.

White Spruce Suitable for all but dry sandy areas, and areas that are flooded for more than brief times in spring. Plugs either 80 ml for 125 ml most springs. (15/bundle 6/bundle) Styroblock 1 liter 2 year olds, #1, #2, and #5 and #10 in small quantities.

Black Spruce (aka swamp spruce) Another bog inhabitant naturally. Suitable for any non-alkaline soil with high water table. Most flood tolerant spruce. Plugs some years. 1 liter and #2 pots.

Tamarack Normally occurs in a labrador tea bog. Suitable for any non-alkaline area with a high water table. #2 Stuewe pots, styroblock. Plugs about every 3 years or special order.

Lodgepole Pine Normally found on sandy soils, southern exposures. Does not compete well with other vegetation when small. Plugs most years, Styro 1 liter, #2 pots. Small quantities of larger ones.

Birch & Alder Paper birch, Green & River Alder. Birch is a water lover, normally not found where there is not a subterranean water source -- channel, swale, creek, slough, spring, seep, etcetera nearby. Alder is shade tolerant, often found as an understory in poplar bush. Will grow on really bad soils, and is often used for mine reclamation for this reason. Paper birch plugs most years, #2 pots and 40 liter growbags; Alder: plugs most years, Styroblock 1 liter. Sometimes #1 and #2

Poplars Balsam Poplar, Trembling Aspen. Balsam normally grows near creeks and on flood plains. Tolerates long periods of saturated soil. Aspen is more upland, but will grow almost anywhere. Plugs some years. Balsam poplar plugs, #2 and #5 pots; trembling aspen: Styroblock 1 liter, ball and burlap from 6 feet to 12 feet.

Native Shrubs

Wild cherries We have two native -- chokecherry and pincherry. Opportunists that will grow anywhere. Plugs most years, styroblock #1 and #2 pots.

Redosier Dogwood Has a hard time establishing from seed in areas that are sunny and well drained, but establishes well from plugs. Shade tolerant. Wet tolerant. Often found as understory in poplar, and near drainage ditches. Does well if transplanted into sunny areas. Plugs, styroblock 1 liter, #1 and #2 pots.

Elaeagnaceae Canada Buffaloberry Silver Buffaloberry, Wolf Willow. All of these seem to do best in open sunny areas. Silver Buffaloberry not common in northern Alberta, but I expect it to move in next Tuesday as the climate warms. plugs and styroblock 1 liter, #2 pots. I have seen wolf willow in light shade.

Roses Wild Rose and Prickly Rose. Open sun to light shade. Commonly found with aspen as an understory shrub. Plugs some years, Styroblock 1 liter, some #2 pots.

Hazelnut Sporadic. These shrubs seem to have a hard time reproducing here due to squirrels eating all the seeds. I think the time from seed ripening to gone is measured in fractions of a second. Can transplant very small quantities from my own forest. None on hand.

Snowberry Another understory shrub. Only gets a bit over 2 feet tall. Plugs some years, styroblock 1 liter.

Shrubby Cinqfoil I've only seen it in rocky areas near the Saskatchewan river near Nordegg. I suspect it needs disturbed ground to sprout. Might belong in the Near Natives. None on hand. Contract growing only.

Wild Raspberry Ubiquitous understory shrub in poplar/spruce transition forests.

Ribes Wild Current and Wild Gooseberry. I've only seen one wild current, but gooseberries are having a turf war in my spruce forest. #2 pot, transplanted from my local colonies.

Saskatoon Most often found on south slopes, but can be found in small quantities everywhere. Plugs some years, styroblock 1 liter & #2 pot very limited quantity on hand.

Viburnum High and Low Bush Cranberry HBC plugs most years, #2 pots. LBC seeded last fall.

Willows pussywillow, coyote willow, beaked willow, yellow willow, bog willow, chubb willow. These four native willows are usually associated with wet areas. Most will do fine in dryer areas, but won't compete as seedlings on their own. A few of these available as plugs. Styroblock 1 liter, #1 and #2 pots.

Near Native Trees

These are trees that are not quite local. Some, due to our changeable climate may become native.

Alpine Fir Presently limited to elevations above 4500 feet. Suitable for park use or as a landscape ornamental. Normally grows on very well drained thin soils on rocky substrates. May not do well on clay soils.

Jack Pine Supposedly only in north eastern Alberta, I know some local trees that look more Jack than Lodgepole. The two hybridize where their ranges overlap, and I suspect that their range overlaps more than the books admit to. Plugs most years, #2 pots. Not much demand, so quantities are very limited.

Ponderosa Pine Native to Alberta near Crowsnest pass. Does well in several park sites in Edmonton. Slow to get going. Bare root seedlings some years. #7 and #10 growbags currently.

Manitoba Maple Normally native to Manitoba and Saskatchewan. It will establish, but is not invasive. Can be a nuisance near gardens. 1 liter styroblock & #2 pots.

Burr Oak Another Manitoba and Saskatchewan tree. Very good habitat tree for deer turkey, deer. #2 pots & #10 growbags.

White Oak Garden tree that is going feral. 1 liter styroblock.

Green Ash Native in creek bottoms, and disturbed sites through a band close to the border stopping a few miles on this side of the Alberta Saskatchewan border.

Near Native Shrubs

Wild plum Not currently native, but has been used in southern Alberta for deer habitat. Native of souther Manitoba.

Non Native Trees

These are species that I think would adapt well, and except as noted have no obvious invasive tendencies.

Siberian Larch Similar in appearance to Tamarack, but grows on drier soils. Rule of thumb: if grass grows there, so will siberian larch. Used to be able to get this all the time. Lately it's been hard to find. Plugs (2016) larger ones in the next few years.

Scots Pine Tolerates heavier soils than our native pines. Plugs, 2 year old bare root, #2 and #5 pots.

Colorado Spruce More drought tolerant, and more alkali tolerance. Plugs, #1, #2, #4 pots. Styroblock on request. Note: Seed run colorado are variable in colour.

Other Ash Trees Green ash has been used for decades as both a shelterbelt tree and as an ornamental. Black ash and Manchurian ash can also be considered. Black ash is native to eastern Canada. Manchurian ash is asian, as you might guess from the name. The latter is resistant to Emerald Ash Borer. Crosses between green ash and Manchurian ash are available commercially.

Maples Silver Maple, Sugar Maple, Red Maple, Amur maple are all candidate trees particularly to replace dying poplar bush. Sugar maple needs to be source from northern Minnesota seed. at present my only source is for bare root 4 foot trees from Manitoba.

Hybrid Poplars Can provide a shelter crop for other trees and shrubs. Most are fairly short lived.

Siberian Crabapple Holds onto it's fruit in winter. Good tree for fruit eating birds.

Hawthorns PFRA used to sell their own hybrid, and there is a native one too. (I'll grow it if I can find seeds) The haws (fruit) are reported to have medicinal properties. Birds like them. Grown as a hedge nearly impenetrable. Vicious thorns.

Non-Native Shrubs

Lilac Both the common (Syringa vulgaris) and the late lilac (S. villosa) have been used both as a decoration on farmsteads and in shelterbelts. I've yet to see it grow where it wasn't planted. Vulgaris suckers.

Carigana Use with caution -- can be invasive. At this point recommended only where it is mowed on both sides for spread control.

Sea Buckthorn See note on Carigana.

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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.