The Most Common Types of Trees in Alberta

October 22, 2018

One thing we Albertans have in spades of are trees. In fact, Alberta’s Boreal Forest is 465,000 kilometres in size. That’s an area larger than Sweden.

But you may not know what types of Alberta trees are native to this part of Canada. Even the various tree types that stand in your yard may be unknown to you.

We think it’s important to know the trees of Alberta since trees are so beneficial to our lives. Grab a fresh cup of Timmy’s coffee and take a seat. You’re about to learn about the most common types of trees in Alberta.

One of the Most Common Types of Trees Are Jack Pines

Jack Pines or Pinus banksiana are small shrubby conifers. These Canadian trees have a reddish-brown bark with irregular scaly ridges.

The leaves of trees are needles which are in bundles of two and are a yellowish green colour. These pines tend to grow between 9-22 meters in height when in decent growing conditions.

These pine trees of Alberta rarely grow straight and they prefer sandy or rocky soil. Hot temperatures associated with fires or heat waves will force the cones open where they spread their seeds.

Jack Pines are most commonly used for framing, scaffolding, sheathing, and interior woodwork.

Manitoba Maples

Manitoba Maples or Acer negundo are deciduous trees. They typically grow around 9 meters with an 8-meter spread. These Canadian trees tend to grow quickly.

Maples grow well in many soil conditions and can even survive droughts. Maples do prefer full sun exposure.

The leaves are compound with anywhere from three to seven leaflets. However, while these gorgeous maples provide great shelter from elements and help stabilize soil, they are susceptible to certain diseases and wind damage.

Maple is a softwood, which isn’t desirable for most uses except decorative, you can use it as a source for wood fibre for use in fiberboard.

Laurel Leaf Willows

The Laurel Leaf Willow tree or Salix pentandra are deciduous trees. At maturity, willows can grow up to 13 meters tall and spread just as wide.

They tend to grow quickly, especially when given partial or full sun exposure. These hearty trees can withstand some flooding but won’t tolerate soils that are alkaline.

These trees in Alberta are great to grow in your yard as it provides decent shade but isn’t as susceptible to pests or diseases as some other native species are.

Willows also support a wide variety of wildlife and they’re also a natural painkiller and its bark is used as a source of aspirin.

Balsam Fir

Balsam Firs or Abies balsamea only accounts for three percent of Alberta’s softwood. These Canadian trees tend to grow between 14 and 20 meters.

Their leaves are flat and needle-like and grow between 15 and 30 mm in length. The cones ripen in September and release their seeds.

These tree types are great for use as dimension lumber, to make sugar and butter tubs, boxes, and crates. It’s also used to make paper. The balsam oil is commonly used for aromatherapy but also has such great antibacterial properties it can also be used as a natural household cleaner.


Tamarack or Larix laricina trees are slender with a straight trunk. There is usually very little taper with these trees of Alberta.

Their bark is thick and smooth. Tamarack trees tend to grow 20 meters high and their trunks can grow as much as 30-60 mm in diameter.

Their leaves are needle-shaped and grow in feather-like clusters with 10-20 of the leaves growing together. Their leaves are shed in autumn.

You’ll typically find these tree types in the wetlands of central and northern Alberta but you can also find them in sites with better drainage.

Their bark was used by indigenous peoples to treat cuts, wounds, and even hemorrhoids. Animals use this tree for food and nesting.

It’s also great for use in poles, rough lumber and fuelwood.

American Elm Trees

American elm or Ulmus americana trees are deciduous. At maturity, they stand around 25 meters tall with a 12-meter spread. They tend to grow at a medium to fast rate.

Elms love full to partial sun exposure with moist deep soil to feed their roots. The leaves of trees provide great shade with their broad green canopy. In the fall, the leaves of trees turn a beautiful yellow shade.

However, they are prone to Dutch Elm disease. But, Alberta is home to some of the last healthy Elm stands in the world.

There’s not much commercial use for elm trees. Rather, they’re prized for planting on streets and in parks.

Beaked Hazelnut

Beaked hazelnut or Corylus cornuta is a shrub with many slender erect stems featuring many branches. It grows between one and three meters high.

Beaked hazelnuts are also a flowering tree. Their flowers are small and hang with yellow male catkins and small reddish female flowers located on branch tips. They also produce nuts which are edible.

These Canadian trees are found more commonly in forests. They prefer some shade but not too much.

Hazelnuts are used for food, medicine, and can even be used to make baskets.

Lodgepole Pine

Lodgepole pines or Pinus contorta are hard pines. And in Alberta, pines account for 41% of all coniferous growing stock.

This pine grows to about 40 or 50 meters in height and two meters in diameter. The crown of the tree is flat.

You’ll find these twisted, bent pines with their twisted needles in coastal areas.

Lodgepole pines are commonly used in making furniture, doors, panelling, siding, and mouldings. You’ll also probably notice that the fence posts and telephone poles in your neighbourhood are made of this pine.

When Trees Need to Be Removed

There are many types of trees found in Alberta. When trees are healthy and pose no threat to their environment, it’s easy to appreciate them.

However, sometimes due to blight or overgrowth, trees in Alberta can create problems. It’s at this point where removing the tree is the best course of action.

We can help remove these trees safely and efficiently. Click Learn more and discover more about what we do.