I live in Central Alberta and I am just wondering if
anyone is growing Oak trees in this climate zone ?
Do you start them indoors ?
Have yu tried starting them outdoors?
How well did they grow ?
Welcome to the FN forum, Innisfail. Jump in anytime.
I have a Bur Oak in my backyard and we purchased it from the nursery as one of landscape trees three summers ago. It's slow growing but filling out nicely. Our neighbor has one, also.
In the book Woody Ornamentals for the Prairies, there are writeups on White Oak, Northern Red Oak, Scarlet Oak, Bur Oak and Mongolian Oak. Although, I don't recall seeing these in the nurseries except for the Bur Oak. I'd be willing to give any of the mentioned ones a try.
Other than Burr oak, I'm not aware of other oaks that are hardy here ... I hope people can jump in and say otherwise! A neighbour does have a red oak of some size, but it often sustains winter damage and isn't looking too terribly good. Maybe, in Edmonton there might be some trees that are doing better.
Burr oaks are very common here in MB. They survive harsh conditions but grow quite slowly. Judging by their success in the wild, I bet an acorn would do well wintersown, if you have the patience to wait for a mature tree.
My parents are near Ponoka and they have a few Burr Oak growing their gardens, one really big, old one and several younger ones. If memory serves, my mom started them from acorns.
Also, I see that the City of Calgary has some Burr Oak planted as boulevard trees in one of the upscale business districts - if they can survive Chinooks, you should have no problem in Innisfail!
I have a few growing, Burr Oak, some are about 8 foot tall, started from seed about 10 years ago [outdoor]
I have burr oak in pots. Currently about 18" high. I'm near warburg. Contact privately if interested.
Don't know if you got the answer you were looking for (I just joined), but here goes.
The only oak trees that I have easily found in the nurseries, seem to be Burr Oaks. Some have spontaneously sprouted in my yard (acorns carried here by birds or squirrels).
I have seen other varieties growing at the Devonian Botanic Garden - Devon, AB. They have several species that they are successfully growing, however, none of them are very big yet. The nicest by far is the Red Oak, but it needs more acidic soil than we have here in central AB. (I find our soil tends to be rather alkaline - I'm in Edmonton.)
I find that the Burr Oaks within the city tend to suffer a lot from galls that are caused by the Cynipid wasp (Mealy Oak Gall). I don't know if that's a problem that all oaks suffer from but I know that some of the trees I have seen are rather stunted looking because of all the galls on the branches.
If you want to try growing a different oak and can't find anything other than Burr Oaks, you might want to try mail order.
There are multiple mature bur oak trees in and around Peace River, so they'd likely do well in central Alberta. I note that Cornhill Nurseries has both bur oak and northern red oak (Q. Rubra), so you might want to contact them about tree availability. I haven't seen any mature trees in the red oak group in Alberta, but there's no reason why Q. rubra shouldn't be hardy here, as it's native to northern New Brunsick.
A few years back, I did see a Mongolian oak at a local nursery, the tree is much like a Bur oak, though had good autumn coloring ... just too bad I hadn't picked it up, it was gone the next morning and the place hasn't gotten more in despite requests :(
It seems that honeytree nurseries in PEI offers scarlet oak (q. coccinea) on its website. That's probably not going to be hardy in your area, though.
The nurserys in Edmonton sell Pin Oaks. And the City of Edmonton tree nursery ( for their own use) have them as well. I live acroos the tracks from there and they have a real large assortment of hardy shrubs and trees for this area. Devonian Botanical Gardens would be a good place to see what's hardy for our zones.
Burr oak is widely planted throughout the prairies (native in Manitoba and I think SE Saskatchewan) and is now being used by the city of Edmonton as a boulevard tree.
Northern pin oak is a more recent introduction that has better fall colour than burr oak:
Don, 'Shooting Star' Northern Pin Oak looks like a very desirable selection.
This post was edited by twrosz on Fri, Feb 22, 13 at 23:43
As far as the Shooting Star Northern Pin Oak goes, I looked into getting one last year and did some research..there seems to be some evidence that there are problems with the graft as the tree gets older. I decided not to plant it.
I do have a fairly long row of Burr oaks planted in my yard. I planted them 2 summers ago, I got the small plants from the PFRA. They were probably about 4-6 inches tall when I got them, with a very long root already. Most of them have only gotten to be about 8 inches tall at most right now, I'm hoping they were just settling their roots in. We've also had some problems with the deer nipping the tops off, which is a big problem when you've got a tiny, slow growing oak!
We also have terribly hard, alkaline soil, so while I think they will eventually do OK, I'm expecting they will be slower than usual. I expect they won't reach their potential in my lifetime. (oh well)
In my reading, it seems that only Burr oak does well outside of the city in zone 2b/3a.
I started burr oak from seed last winter. Right now they are over wintering in a pot against a building. I'd put them roughly 4 or 5 inches in height. They have long taproots. I wanted them exposed to winter conditions to see if I could weed a few out and test their tenderness.
Be warned, burr oaks like growing in shade, as in tight against the north side of a house. I put them on the south side to direct sun last May and the leaves fried and fell off. I was about to throw them out but as soon as I stuck them in the shade they sprouted a new set of leaves.
I would consider giving a few away if the interest was there.
The parent tree grew fairly fast for an oak which is why I gathered the acorns. It is about 10ft tall in 12 years.
If I had the space I'd try Northern Pin Oak for exactly the reasons Don555 has stated.
Weeper what is your location? I'm curious what types of trees grow in alkaline conditions.
Burr oak definitely like full sun, but if you had them in pots they may have dried out, or else it may have been too bright up near the house. Mine are in full sun.
I live near Saskatoon, SK.
Maples grow well here, so do elm, green ash, birch if you have the moisture, willow, oak, poplar, crabapples and apples, lots of others. Amur maples don't like the alkalinity(although I have 2, which I started when they were very small. I'm hoping they'll "adapt" ha ha. They had chlorosis the first year or two, but since then they've been OK), tatarian/tartarian maples are a better choice for our soil...for a tree with good fall color and smaller size. Most conifers seem to do great here.