Trees are an important part of our environment. They provide us with shade, privacy, and beauty, and are a great addition to any backyard. Besides the aesthetic value they provide, trees also contribute to our health and the health of our planet. If you’re thinking about adding some to your property, take a look at the 5 best trees for Canadian backyards.
Things to Consider Before Planting
Adding trees to your backyard requires more than just picking a tree and planting it. You need to consider the climate you live in, what kind of soil is in your backyard, and the size and shape the tree will eventually mature to. You also need to consider the location of the tree within your landscape.
Before you start picking out what particular kind of tree you want, be sure to think about where this tree will go. That will help narrow down the size and shape of tree you can fit in your backyard. Be conscious of how tall and wide the tree will grow to. Will it eventually get caught in power lines? Will it block your bedroom window? Be sure to look these things up when planning where your new tree will go.
Consider when you plan to plant as well. Generally, the best time to plant trees is in the early Spring or Fall (early August to late October).
The 5 Best Trees for Canadian Backyards
An obvious choice for any Canadian home is a maple tree. There are many kinds of maple, but a common one is the Manitoba Maple. It’s the largest maple tree native to the Prairies, but also can be found in Southern Ontario and in the Northwest from Kenora to Thunder Bay. In the Prairies, these trees are tapped to make maple syrup.
Manitoba Maples grow quickly and at full maturity will be about 10-20 meters tall and 8 meters wide. They prefer full sun and can adapt to a wide variety of soils. They can grow erratically, so you need to stay on top of pruning for best results.
Oak trees in general are very popular across Canada. Bur Oak trees are a favourite simply because of how beautiful they are. With their massive tank and deeply furrowed bark, bur oak trees are a great addition if you have plenty of space to fill. Think suburban yards or a very large backyard property.
Bur Oak trees can grow to be 14 meters tall and up to 7 meters wide. They grow best with deep, moist soils and exposure to full sun. While they are slow to grow, they are strong and sturdy (they can even withstand Chinook conditions!) meaning once planted they will be around for a long time to come.
Lilac trees are beautiful and smell amazing. A true sign that Spring has arrived is the smell of flowering lilacs in the air. While not native to Canada, lilac trees can be found across our country. This is due to the fact they are hardy, easy to grow and require low maintenance.
They can vary in size and colour, but will usually grow anywhere from 1 to 5 meters tall. As an added bonus, the flowers can be cut and spread throughout your home, and are also known to attract butterflies.
When planning where to plant your lilac tree, make sure it’s in a spot with lots of sun. Ideally, your tree should get about 6 hours of sunlight per day. In terms of soil, lilacs do best in humus-rich, well-drained, neutral to alkaline soil.
There are many kinds of cedar trees, but they are all coniferous and evergreen. Smaller cedar trees or shrubs are commonly used to create privacy barriers in our backyards. They grow fast and are found in a wide range of climates. While not hard to grow, they do take a little bit of prep work and upkeep to get them going. Be sure to do your research ahead of time if you are set on adding cedar trees.
Cedar trees can grow to be very large, anywhere from 15 to 30 meters tall. Ideally, you should have a large space if you want to add a full-size cedar tree to your backyard. For smaller yards, consider going with shrubs instead.
A smaller and more narrow choice, black ash trees can be a great addition to your backyard. These trees have a light grey bark that is soft and almost cork-like when they’re young. As they age the bark becomes scaly. The leaves are a beautiful deep green that will drop in the fall.
Black ash trees are a great choice if you live in a wet or swampy climate, although they can grow almost anywhere (except the Far North). They’re most commonly found throughout Ontario, eastern Manitoba and as far east as Newfoundland.
Now that you have a better idea of ideal trees for Canadian backyards, it’s time to find a company who can help assist you with planting. Click here to find a tree service professional in your area and get quotes quickly and easily. Happy planting!
Cover image courtesy of Home Stratosphere.
Article Updated June 2022.