In this blog, you can see and know a step by step guide on identifying trees and their diseases


This blog describes some of the trees name, Species, diseases and their prevention guide .


ALBERTA COMMON TREES and SHRUBS: An Albertan urban Arboriculture basic field guide. By Amanda Maxim:

1) Aspen
2) Ash (Green)
3) Barberry
4) Birch
5) Cedar
1) Crabapple (and Apple)
2) Caragana
3) Cherry(Amur, chokecherry etc)
4) Cotoneaster
5) Dogwood
6) Elm
7) Hawthorne
8) Horse chestnut / Ohio buckeye
9) Juniper
10) Larch
11) Lilac and Japanese Lilac
12) Linden
13) Nine-bark
14) Oak
15) Poplar
16) Potenttila
17) Pine
18) Mugo pine
19) Mountain Ash
20) Mayday
21) Maples. Silver, Manitoba, Autumn blaze, Amur and Ornamental
22) Russian Olive
23) Rose bush
24) Schubert chokecherry
25) Sumac
26) Spruce
27) Willow


  • Similar to Poplar(within the same family/closely related.)
  • Towering and non-towering
  • Softwood, susceptible to breakage
  • Check for borer bug infestation(holes in the trunk, sawdust, and “weeping”



  •  Straight “propellers” helps to identify tree
  •  Rigid bark

    aspen tree




  •  “Thorny” shrub
  • Burgundy/red color




  • Distinct leaf shape
  • Bark is like “paper”
  • Hanging catkins.
  • Short life span in Alberta (60 years)
  • Top dieback indicates tree’s decline




  •  Is susceptible to frost and sun damage. Can cover with burlap to help avoid this.
  • Cedar/Juniper/Hawthorne rust
  • If pruned improperly, will leave “holes” that will not grow back.


Crabapple and (Apple):

  • Distinct bark (for fruit trees, in general)
  • Flowers in Spring for a short period
  • If unsure, pierce fruit and will have the consistency of apple(firmer) or cherry(more squishy)
  • There are certain times of the year we can prune them to increase or decrease Apple production.
  • If apples are used or harvested, best to prune in early Spring or in Fall.
    Watch out for Firelight!




  • Often in hedge form or weeping
  • Yellow catkins help identify



Cherry (chokecherry(see Schubert chokecherry)/ other cherries :

  • Distinct Bark
  • Pierce fruit to identify
  • Flowers in Spring
  • Schubert and Mayday(same family of species) are susceptible to black knots.



  • Is often in shrub or hedge form
  • Blackish berries
  • “Waxy” leaves
  • Is susceptible to Oyster shell scale
  • Can cut back to rejuvenate Dogwood
  • In Shrub form(two common types.




  • Jagged leaves, distant leaf shape
  • Tree is usually Y shaped
  • Has “circular paper-like seeds”
  • Prune: Oct-March only (Dutch Elm Disease)
  • If removed, all tree debris and wood must be disposed of by us and stump must be ground as per by-law.



  • Distinct leaf shape
  • Flowering tree
  • Susceptible to rust
  • Thorny
  • Related to the rose family


Horse chestnut/Ohio buckeye:

    • Has large hard seeds(similar to acorns)
    • Distinct leaf shape
    • Slow growing

Horse chestnut/Ohio buckeye



  • Often has a blue tinge
  • Often has blue colored berries.
  • Susceptible to rust
  • Can be “Ground Juniper” or regular Juniper


  • AKA Tamarack
  • Soft needles
  • Small cones
  • Needles change colors like leaves (yellow/green)
  • Small needles

Lilac and Japanese Lilac:

  • Flowering shrubs and trees
  • Purple, white and pink petals
  • Distinct leaf shape and smooth bark
  • Best to prune when not flowering.

Japanese Lilac


  • Heart shaped leaves
  • White flower
  • Triangular round/ shape


Nine Bark:

  • Shrubs
  • Red and Green leaf
  • Small white flowers
  • “Woody” stalks/branches


  • Rounded edges, Multiple prongs
  • Acorns
  • Slow growing
  • Prone to Gaul



  • Towering and non-towering forms
  • Similar to Aspen (slightly different leaf shape)
  • Similar bark to Aspen
  • Fast growing/easy to break



  • Flowering Shrub
  • Yellow, white and pink flowers




  • Evergreen
  • Longer needles than Spruce
  • “Softer” looking than Spruce
  • Mugo Pine: Short version/more like a shrub


Mountain Ash:

  • Bright red/orange berries
  • Often has bark peel
  • Pointed and spaced leaf shape

Mountain Ash



  • Similar to Schubert chokecherry
  • Green leaves instead of purple
  • Small cherries
  • Produces white flowers in Spring
  • Prone to black knot



Maples:(1)Manitoba maple

  • Most common type
  • Propeller seeds
  • Similar leaf shape to other Maples
  • Often self-seeded



(2)Silver Maple:

  • Distinct leaf shape
  • Grey/silver bark and grey/silver on the back of the leaf


Ornamental Maple:

  • Smaller in size
  • Distinct leaf shape
  • Pink propellers

Ornamental Maple:

Autumn Blaze and Amur(less common):

  • See leaf shapes
  • Prone to tip dieback, as they sometimes do not do well in our zone/colder weather. AND Japanese Maple

Russian Olive:

  • Light green/silver leaves
  • Long, thin, slender single leaf
  • Olives
  • Has thorns
  • Distinct Bark


Rose Bushes:

  • See photos(dormant and active)


Schubert Chokecherry:

  • Similar to Mayday
  • Purple leaves
  • Dark small purple cherries
  • Prone to black knot



  • Distinct Leaf ShapeLarge Red/brown Cone-like Flower



  • Most common evergreen
  • Blue Spruce has a blue hue
  • Large, shallow roots
  • Needle shape
  • Rough Bark
  • Die Back under branches, where light does not reach(normal)



  • Waxy leaves
  • Shiny leaves
  • Long, thin, single leaf
  • Breaks easily/drops branches easily
  • Yellowish tinge to branches
  • Often “twisted” base



  • Hazards(See appendix A)
  • Possible risks. The riskier the higher the price.
  • Size of Wood(bigger wood, longer to cut)
  • Drag Zone(long or short drag zone affects timing)
  • Access(Climbing takes longer, sometimes needs rigging)
  • Decks and fences
  • Condition of tree and branches?


Anything weird?

  • Power lines ( both pole to pole and pole to house)
  • Cracks on trees
  • What’s under/around trees increases risk. (that cannot be moved)
  • Mushrooms on trees
  • Previously Topped Trees
  • Site Preparation (Remind customer)
  • Large dual stem at the top of the tree
  • Balance of tree
  • 30% pruning rule: no more than 30% live growth ( cut out ) at one time. More than this can stress the tree. As it is
  • trying to heal. This does NOT include deadwood/dead branches.


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