Native Trees and Shrubs
White spruce (Picea glauca) is widely distributed across Canada and is characteristic of the boreal forest region. It grows in a variety of soils but is often found growing in well-drained but moist, silty soils. It is usually associated with trembling aspen, white birch and balsam fir but grows with other coniferous and deciduous trees. It has high shade tolerance and benefits from some shelter in the early establishment years. It is considered a climax species of the boreal forest region and is widely used for reclamation. Seed-propagated.
Black spruce (Picea mariana) can found in many different soils and climates in central and northern Alberta. It is found in association with eastern larch on poorly-drained soils but also with jack pine and aspen on more xeric sites. Seed-propagated.
Jack pine (Pinus banksiana) is native to central and eastern Alberta and may hybridize with the lodgepole pine that occurs in central and western Alberta. It grows well on sandy soils and survives on nutrient-poor, xeric sites. It prefers open sites. Seed-propagated.
Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) occurs on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains and extends eastward into central Alberta where there is there is some overlap and hybridizing with jack pine. It does well on a wide range of soil textures and soil moisture conditions. It is one of the most drought tolerant conifers and will survive in drought conditions that kill less tolerant species. The native pine in eastern Alberta is jack pine so lodgepole pine cannot be used for reclamation in that area. Seed-propagated.
Tamarack (Larix laricina) is a deciduous, soft-needled conifer that is generally found in cold, wet, poorly drained sites but produces the best growth on moist, well-drained soils. It often grows in association with black spruce, alders and willows. Seed-propagated.
Trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides) is a small to medium-sized deciduous tree (up to 20 m high) that is the most widely distributed tree in North America. It is found in association with balsam poplar, white birch, white spruce and balsam fir. Reproduction by root suckers is the main method of reproduction for trembling aspen, resulting in large clonal stands. It tolerates a wide range of soil moistures and soil textures but does best on well-drained, moist sandy or gravelly loam soils. Seed-propagated.
Balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera) is widely distributed across Canada and occurs in central and northern Alberta. It is often found on wet sites but is adapted to a range of soil moisture regimes from well drained to poorly drained. It has a relatively fast growth rate and can be very aggressive. It can be found growing in association with white spruce, black spruce, white birch, alder and other species of the boreal region. Propagated by seed or hardwood cuttings.
White or paper birch (Betula papyrifera) is widely distributed in North America and produces a medium-sized (up to 24 m high) deciduous tree. It tolerates a wide range of soils from well-drained to poorly drained ones that are waterlogged but does best on well-drained sandy or silty loam soils. Seed-propagated.
Green alder (Alnus crispa) is a long-lived deciduous tree or large shrub that grows up to 5 m high and has a rapid cover rate. Green alder is an important reclamation species because it fixes nitrogen and improves the fertility of the surrounding soil. Seed-propagated.
Red osier dogwood (Cornus stolonifera) is a large (up to 5 m high but generally 1-2 m high) multi-stemmed thicket-forming shrub. It can be found on a wide range of soil moisture conditions from well-drained to poorly drained soils. It will spread by root sprouts after it has established and has a moderate cover rate. Seed-propagated.
Pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica) is a small tree (12-15 m high) or, more often a shrub (3-4 m high), that grows singly or in groves along rivers. It is intolerant of shade and is usually found in clearings or cut-over areas. It is sometimes a nurse species for conifer seedlings. Seed-propagated.
Choke cherry (Prunus virginiana) is widespread throughout Alberta and is found in open areas of the boreal region. It can be a large shrub or small tree (0.6-6 m high). It has a good growth rate and self-propagates by suckering. Prefers moist soil conditions but will grow on drier sites. Seed-propagated.
Canada or russet buffaloberry (Shepherdia canadensis) is a small deciduous shrub that can grow to 2 m high. It is a nitrogen fixer so it will grow well on low fertility sites. Moderately tolerant of shade, it is often found growing in association with jack pine, prickly rose and cranberry. Seed-propagated.
Prickly rose (Rosa acicularis) is a native shrub that grows to 2.5 m tall and can be found in the woods, along river banks, roadsides and fields. It is found on a wide range of soil moisture conditions from well drained to poorly drained and on a wide range of soil textures. Seed-propagated.
High bush cranberry (Viburnum opulus) can be a shrub or small tree up to 4 m tall. It is shade-tolerant and is always found in the understory. Seed-propagated.
Saskatoon (Amelanchier alnifolia) is a multistemmed shrub or small tree (1-6 m high) that can be found in a wide range of habitats and climatic conditions. It is found on all types of soil except poorly drained and heavy clay soils. Seedlings have good drought tolerance. It spreads by stolons to form dense thickets. Seed-propagated.
Bebb willow (Salix bebbiana) or beaked willow is a shrub or small tree up to 10 m in height that is found on a wide range of soil textures and is adapted to a variety of soil moisture conditions from well-drained to poorly drained. It can withstand flooding during the growing season. It does not tolerate drought well and prefers moist sites. Bebb willow has low shade tolerance and grows best in full sunlight. Propagated by seed or hardwood cuttings.
Pussy willow (Salix discolor) is a shrub or small tree (up to 10 m high) that forms clumps and is found along streams and sloughs. Propagated by seed or hardwood cuttings.
Sandbar willow (Salix exigua) is a spreading shrub or small tree with narrow strap-like leaves.It is often found growing in ditches along roadways. It suckers readily and forms dense thickets. Propagated by seed or hardwood cuttings.
Dwarf birch (Betula glandulosa) is a spreading shrub that grows to about 2 m high in marshes or muskegs. Seed-propagated.
Wolf willow (Eleagnus commutata) is found throughout Alberta but occurs mainly in southern Alberta along stream banks, ravines and slopes. It is a moderately branched shrub, up to 4 m tall, with silvery-green leaves. It fixes nitrogen so it can do well on poor fertility sites. Seed-propagated.