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Here in Grande Prairie, we live in one of the northernmost agricultural areas in the world.  This presents some special challenges to us in choosing the proper ornamental trees, shrubs and plants for our yards and gardens.  It may be tempting for you to try and push the climate envelope and plant trees not fully hardy to Zone 2b.  However, sooner or later low winter temperatures or an early frost will cause severe winterkill or may even kill your tree outright.  In order to have a landscape full of healthy plants, use only what can live in this area.


Symptoms of drought include leaf margin burn and early leaf drop.  Many tree insect problems, such as bronze birch borer, western ash bark beetle, and yellow-headed spruce sawfly, occur in response to trees being drought-stressed.  During dry spells, it is recommended that you water your trees deeply once every two weeks to keep them healthy and growing. 

 Tip Kill on Pine

Early Frost

Early frosts may catch a plant before it is fully hardened off for winter, resulting in branch tip kill. This situation may be aggravated if trees are fertilized too late in summer or when heavy fall watering is coupled with unseasonably warm weather.  Never fertilize trees after August 1 and taper off your watering through late August and early September.  Only water in conifers for winter once cool temperatures have arrived that will prevent them entering a growth cycle.


May Snowstorm


Late Frost

Late frosts may catch plants after they start coming out of winter dormancy and sap is flowing. Shoot death or blasted flower buds may occur.  Watch for frost warnings and cover susceptible plants overnight.




Wind Damage


High winds can cause trees to lose limbs or even topple entirely.  Also, standing dead trees quickly begin to rot and become hazardous if left.  Contact a local tree removal company to remove any dead or weakened trees on your property as soon as possible to prevent them falling on houses, vehicles or people. 

Photo by City of Cheyenne, Wyoming  




Thin-barked trees, such as maple and cherry, are prone to a disorder called sunscald on the southwest side of their trunks.  This occurs in the winter on cold, sunny days, when rapid temperature fluctuations kills the cambium bark layer.  This eventually flakes off, leaving an unsightly cavity that compromises the tree's structural strength and provides entry points for insects and disease.  Prevent sunscald by wrapping the trunk from the ground up to the first set of branches from late fall until spring.

Photo by Ryan Lawn & Tree Care

Last updated: 1/8/2015 10:25:44 AM