Shelterbelt Varieties for Alberta

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 Field shelterbelts conserve soil, protect crops, trap snow, provide wildlife habitat and beautify the landscape.

This information about shelterbelt species and recommendations for their suitability for various locations in Alberta. The recommendations are based on a 1991 survey. Recommendations are divided into three categories:

  1. Recommended Area (shown on map with triangles): species is best suited for planting in this area.
  2. Satisfactory Area (shown on map with lines): species is less suited for planting in this area due to one or more of the following:
      • moisture or climatic limitations
      • winter dieback
      • insect pests
      • additional care and management required
  3. Unsatisfactory Area (shown on map as white area): species performs poorly in this area
The recommendations are based on the plants being planted on non-irrigated sites with proper care and management practices being strictly followed. The Species Suitability Maps provide a general guide only.
Moisture and climate conditions, and insect and disease levels may vary within a given area.

Exceptions to the recommendations may apply if:
  • irrigation water is available for tree use or the planting site is a low lying area (higher soil moisture levels).
  • the planting site is a well protected area (excellent microclimate) and exceptional care and management practices are followed.
  • the planting site is in a "transitional zone" (a small zone along the boundary between two different recommendations).
Guide to Plant Characteristics
VarietyHeightUseful LifeGrowth Rate Spacing# of Bundles perComments
Northwest Poplar10-2515-3050-2003m/10ft5117Gall mites in south
Brooks Poplar10-2515-3050-2003m/10ft5117Not drought tolerant
Griffin Poplar6-1510-2030-1503m/10ft5117Cankers in moist areas
Cottonwood Poplar12-15100+30-1503m/10ftLikes moisture
Laurel Leaf Willow8-1525-6050-2003m/10ft5117Likes moisture
Acute Leaf Willow8-1525-6050-2003m/10ft5117Likes moisture
Golden Willow7-1225-6050-1503m/10ftLikes moisture
Peach Leaf Willow5-825-6015-1003m/10ft5117Likes moisture
Manitoba Maple7-1225-6010-603m/10ft5117Brittle wood
Green Ash12-2050-9010-602m/6ft7525
Bur Oak10-14100+5-303m/10ftLarge seed
White Birch6-1215-5010-452m/6ftLikes moisture
Mayday5-1012-5015-602m/6ft7525White blooms
Sea Buckthorn4-6renovate10-201.5m/4.5ftOrange fruit
Red Elder3-4renovate15-301.5m/4.5ft10234
Caragana3-550+15-450.5m/1.5ft300100Best in drier areas
Villosa Lilac3-550+5-301m/3ft15050Few suckers
Common Lilac3-450+5-301m/3ft15050Many suckers
Honeysuckle2-330+10-301m/3ft15050Severe aphid problems
Hedge Rose2-325+10-451m/3ft15050
Altai Rose2-325+10-451m/3ft
Silver Buffaloberry2-325+10-301.5m/4.5ft10234
Cherry Princepia2-425+10-301.5m/4.5ft4214Large seed
Dogwood2-3rejuvenate10-451m/3ft15050Best in moister areas
White Spruce10-2050-10030-603m/10ft5317Not good in hot areas
Colorado Spruce10-2550-10030-603m/10ft5317
Norway Spruce8-2050-10025-503m/10ft5317Not good in hot areas
Lodgepole Pine12-2550-10030-903m/10ftNot good in hot areas
Scots Pine12-2550-10030-903m/10ft5317
Siberian Larch10-15up to 10020-1503m/10ft5317Likes good drainage

Height at maturity, useful life, and growth rate depend upon moisture conditions, cleanliness, location and exposure

- the smaller numbers are the height, useful age, and growth rate that could be expected in FAIR growing conditions.

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Toso Bozic.
This document is maintained by Brenda McLellan.
This information published to the web on May 4, 2001.
Last Reviewed/Revised on December 18, 2017.