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Arbor Day trees are a symbol of the future just as our children are. If we nurture them and give them space to grow, we will see what a great contribution they make to our community.

Your Arbor Day Tree:  Learn More About Your Seedling!

The most common tree that is presented to Grade 1 students through the Province of Alberta is a White Spruce (Pinea glauca). These trees are native to Alberta and can grow in diverse soil conditions.

White Spruce - Picea glauca

Full Size: 20 – 25 meters
Form: Narrow pyramid
Foliage: Needles are single square, dark green to blue-green
Lifespan: Up to 100 years

White Spruce grows best in well-drained, moist soils. It can withstand flooding during the growing season, but it does not like to stand in water or be very dry. It has high shade tolerance. 

Plant tree at least 8 metres from any building or permanent structure, but NOT under power lines.

Another common tree that you may receive is the Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta). This evergreen tree is the provincial tree of Alberta and is recognized by its tall, straight, narrow crown.

Lodgepole Pine - Pinus contorta

Full Size: Up to 30 meters
Form: Tall, slender, straight trunk
Foliage: Needle bundles of 2 long and twisted, light green to yellowish
Lifespan: Up to 200 years

Lodgepole Pine is best grown on well-drained, loamy soils. One of the most drought-tolerant of our native conifers, it is found on a wide range of soils. It is tolerant of shade. 

Plant tree at least 8 metres from any building or permanent structure, but NOT under power lines.

You can tell the difference between the spruce and the pine by looking at the leaves (or needles): 

  • Lodgepole Pine has longer needles, in pairs of two per bundle that have a slight twist to each needle.
  • White spruce has single, short, square needles growing off the branch. Remember single, square needles for Spruce trees!

How to Plant Your Tree

  1. Select a good location for your tree that will allow plenty of space for it to grow tall as well as wide (at least 6 metres). Choose a location away from overhead powerlines and underground utilities. Spruce and pine trees like open areas and can also do well in shaded areas, so they are quite versatile.
  2. Call Alberta One Call before digging.
  3. Dig a hole 2.5 cm (1”) wider than the root ball and just as deep (about 3” for your seedling).
    Tree planting placement drawing
  4. Identify the root flare (where the trunk expands at the base of the tree) and check for proper depth. Once the hole is just deep enough for the root ball to sit even with the surrounding soil, you are ready to plant the tree. 
  5. Place the seedling into the hole, making sure it’s straight, and begin to fill the hole with soil. Press down firmly so there are no air pockets or spaces around root ball. Fill from the bottom of the hole to the top. 
  6. Firmly, but gently, pack the soil around the root ball. Use your hands to fill in the hole and pack the soil to ensure there are no air pockets and the plant has proper support.
  7. Water your tree and watch it grow.

Tree Seedling Placement

Ensure the hole the tree seedling is placed in is not too deep or too shallow. There must be no air pockets, otherwise root growth and tree alignment can be affected. The soil must also be fairly compacted (not too loose), and be of good quality.

Different placements of tree planting drawing

For More Information


In Edmonton: 311

Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311

Fax 780-496-4978

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