As part our landscaping services, we supply and install a wide variety of shrubs to our Calgary customers. We are often asked to recommend plants that grow well in this zone 3 climate. There are a number of very hardy shrubs that do particularly well in Calgary's climate. There are also a number of shrubs that are very difficult to grow here like many cedars that are really meant for a more temperate zone 4 climates like British Columbia. Upright cedars are very popular and should only be planted in a well-sheltered area away from the wind. Cedars do well against houses in corners protected from harsh winds. If you take a look around at many properties you will see cedars being used as a windrow or a border. These cedars are often planted on the edge of peoples yards with no protection from the elements. That's why most of these cedars look beautiful for about a season or so before winter comes and they die off. You can spend thousands on cedar windrows and end up with 100% winter kill. If you need a good hardy hedge then try using cotoneaster, aspens, high bush cranberry, or a hardy juniper like Wichita or moon glow. The hardiest cedar for Calgary's climate is the holmstrup cedar. This cedar can be seen in many parts of Calgary and can grow up to 25 feet tall when planted in cedar friendly areas.
Instead of upright cedars, you may want to consider an upright juniper. Junipers are often mistaken for cedars and visa versa. Most junipers are much harder than cedars and do better in Calgary's climate. They can still experience winter kill though so they need to be cared for properly. Proper care includes watering them in well before winter, fertilizing in spring and fall and adding good mulch to the tree well to protect the roots from winter cold. There are a number of upright junipers to consider including moon glow, Medora, Cologreen Wichita, and skyrocket. Some of these upright junipers are often confused with cedars and many people cannot tell them apart. Like most shrubs, junipers prefer a protected environment but can do well in open spaces. Hedges can be created with a selection of junipers planted 6 feet apart center to center. Given this, it is much wiser to plant the hardy juniper instead of risking winter kill to the cedar. There are a number of specific things to consider when planting junipers so make sure you research this at your local garden center. You can also call us for shrub estimates and friendly, helpful advice 7 days a week. For photos of juniper options check out our ideas page. Consider using junipers in your landscape and chances are they'll be a part of your landscape for years to come.
If you would like a free landscaping estimate or consultation for tree and shrub plantings or any other landscaping project you are planning, call us at 403-452-8552.