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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 (Picea 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 students 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 2 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!

Arbor Day Tree Planting Instructions

Instructions on how to plant and space your Arbor Day seedlings so they grow tall and thrive.

Root for Trees Planting Sites Map

Need a location to plant your Arbor Day tree? Find a location on this map.

Interactive Map

For More Information


In Edmonton: 311

Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311

Fax 780-496-4978

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