You are currently viewing 11 BEST SMALL (UNIQUE) TREES FOR ALBERTA YARDS


What Makes A Good Small Tree?

Vibrant floral explosions, intoxicating fragrances, and landscape defining aesthetics. The remarkably hardy, yet delicately beautiful, trees on this list earn their keep by turning your sterile, urban yard, into a botanical experience.

*Note: since there isn’t actually a genetic distinction between a bush or a tree; most of these trees can be trained into either a bush or single trunk tree habit depending on preference. 

Click "Get A Quote" To Have Edmonton Arborist's Expert Tree Planting Team Bring Over And Plant Your New Tree

Inversa Norway Spruce

Why Its Great:
  • I mean come on… just look at it
  • Unique specimen attracts lots of attention in any landscape 
  • Hardy and low maintenance

The first time I experienced the friendly, comforting energy that seems to radiate from the Inversa Spruce, I found myself having to resist the urge to pet it.

This vigorous, hardy, and unique shrub enjoys staying close to the ground, begging the question; “why spend all that energy standing all day when you can simply lounge”. If propped up it can reach a height of around 20′, and requires no pruning. This all around well behaved yard friend makes an excellent conversation piece and property/privacy divider.


Click Photo For More Info

Hydrangea (Tree Form)

Why It’s Great:

  • Flowers almost all spring and summer
  • Compact low maintenance 

Hydrangeas are true juggernauts when it comes to flower duration. Bursting into magnificent floral displays in the spring with their peers; the later months of summer and early fall see the Hydrangea become a true rare seasonal gem, as the only trees still sporting their resplendent garb.


  • Not Fragrant-Flowers are not particularly fragrant. Especially compared to the lilac
  • Long Lasting Flowers: Flowers stick around for months after the lilac and other popular choices have dropped theirs
Click Photo For More Info

Red Rocket Maple

Why Its Great:
  • Gorgeous red foliage all summer
  • Narrow compact growth habit
  • Hardy and low maintenance 

Looking to add some colour to your yard? These red maples maintain their deep red foliage through most of the summer and fall, making them an excellent accent to your landscapes sea of green. They also grow in a narrow “columnar” like shape which makes them great for small spaces or heavily planted areas.

Tip: generally trees with purple and red leaves do well in partial sun and even shade.

Click Photo For More Info

Pagoda Dogwood

Why Its Great:

  • Extremely hardy and not susceptible to winter damage 
  • Flowers start later than many other trees allowing for a staggered longer bloom landscape 
  • Unique, exotic shape 

This flowering tree (15-25 feet mature height) graces your yard with creamy white blooms in late spring. It has a moderate growth rate and a non-invasive root system, making it foundation friendly.

Click Photo For More Info

Hot Wings Maple

Why Its Great

  • Striking color in mid summer and fall when flowers on other trees are gone
  • Small ornamental size gives a sort of Japanese garden appeal 
  • Hardy and adaptable 

Hot wings maple is a small ornamental maple that bears vibrant red seeds. The bright red against deep green leaves makes for a striking contrast that brings color to your yard long after the flowers are gone from other trees.

Click Photo For More Info

Penguin Pine

Why Its Great:
  • Compact uniform shape
  • Low mess 
  • Slow growth stays out of the way

The penguin pine is fantastic if you’re looking for a small character plant that minds its business while still adding a unique flair to the landscape. They’re very Alberta hardy and fairly uncommon in Edmonton yards.

Click Photo For More Info

Apple Tree (Flowering Crab)

Why Its Great:
  • Flower density on a flowering crabapple is unmatched 
  • Not prone to black knot
  • Free apples!

My personal favourite; the timeless apple tree is a remarkable bang for your yard-space buck. With some of the longest lasting and robust floral displays giving way to astounding quantities of  fruit. The generally higher maintenance required to keep an apple tree is well worth the investment. 

Note: For cultivars chosen for fruit harvesting; edible apple trees do require a second tree to pollinate. Although some crabapple varieties are chosen specifically for their long lasting spring flowers, and won’t require a pollination buddy. 

*Pictured is a Selkirk Flowering Crab

Click Photo For More Info

Alberta Spruce

Why Its Great:
  • Very unique cloud-like foliage
  • Compact and slow growing

The Alberta spruce is another fun little coniferous cultivar that’s sure to draw attention in your yard. The fluffy, almost cartoon like appearance of the foliage seems to just beckon for a closer examination from passersby 

Click Photo For More Info

Canadian Service Berry (Saskatoon Berry)

Why Its Great:
  •  Hardy (almost a weed)
  • Beautiful fragrant flowers 
  • Great berries 

An often over looked tree choice; Saskatoon berry is a powerhouse in all of our ideal small tree criteria. Delicious fruit, hardy, and stunning floral displays, that come in even before the leaves, this yard companion is the gift that keeps on giving.

Click Photo For More Info

Amur Maple

Why Its Great:
  • One of the hardiest maples for Alberta climate 
  • Small low maintenance size
  • Stunning signature maple red foliage

A true staple when it comes to hardy, dwarf, Alberta yard trees; the Amur Maple is legendary for its blazing autumn foliage and nearly indestructible Alberta climate resilience. 

Click Photo For More Info

Sutherland Caragana

Why Its Great:
  • Likely the hardiest plant on this list
  • Flowers and peas both edible and delicious 
  • Very long lasting flowers 

A single trunk variety of the long time favourite accent tree; the Sutherland Caragana adds a unique, almost dessert aesthetic, with its fine, textured foliage, beautiful yellow flowers, and glistening bronze bark. 

A sure-fire conversation piece.

Click Photo For More Info

Japanese Tree Lilac

Why Its Great:
  • Is there anything better than the smell of a lilac tree wafting down the block in the spring?

On the larger end of “small”, the Japanese Tree Lilac can reach a heigh of around 30′, making its breathtaking floral display, an almost overwhelming spectacle of luxurious fragrance and colour. 

Click Photo For More Info

Leave a Reply