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Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage.
Robert A. Heinlein

Patio Trees

Trees for places where you it's inconvenient to dig a hole

Could you please tell me if any of the maple, poplar, aspen or cedar trees are recommended or can grow ok in AB in containers? I also would like to know if they can winter outside or if I should bring them into my garage for the winter.

Also, I’m interested in some hostas. I didn’t get around to planting earlier in the season and not sure if I can plant any now.

Generally most trees that are hardier to 1 zone colder or are from climates that have cold winters but not much snowfall are good candidates. E.g. Our farm is zone 3. Zone 2 or Zone 1 trees are much more likely to do well. Mountain hemlock is nominally zone 3, but grows where it gets LOTS of snow in winter. I killed 500 of them learning this.

The larger the container, the better their chances in winter.  An insulated container is better. Best is a container on the ground, with insulation on the sides, but not the bottom. If on a deck, the bottom should be insulated too.

Contaner survival is a matter of how fast the roots cool.  Trees that I routinely overwinter in containers:

Tree candidates

Shrub candidates

Trees that don't work well:

Shrubs that don't work well

The Container

My tax preparer had a spruce tree on his deck in a 2 foot cube box. The box was lined with 1" of styrofoam, and had suitable drainage through the bottom. That tree was happy on the deck until it hit the deck 2 floors up. The depth is excessive. 12-16" is fine.

Having the container in firm contact with the ground will help it survive. The ground acts as a source of heat. On a deck, you can put it on a heat mat, then plug the heat mat into one of these plugs that has a thermostat set at -7 C. This will keep the roots warm enough. In this case the layering is:

If the heat mat runs, you should be able to plant anything hardy in zone 3, assuming we don't get another -53 C winter.

Typical Pine

Lodgepole Pine in our front yard.

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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.