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The Snow Eater

I'm sure everyone knows that Calgary and the region are subject to the infamous "Snow Eater" or "Chinook" winds, but did you know they exist in a few other regions in Western Canada and the United States? Below is a map detailing the prevalence of Chinooks in areas beyond Calgary and the Foothills. I was surprised by their range throughout the Cascade Mountains of Washington, Oregon, California and Nevada. When it comes to what to plant in Chinook Country, not only the species of tree, shrub and perennial planted but also their nursery of origin, enter into the rate of survival for the newly planted specimens.

Chinook hardy plants can tolerate the harsh growing conditions of the Chinook wind belt, a region characterized by intense, warm winds that can occur in the winter months. This region is found in parts of western North America, including the Pacific Northwest and parts of western Canada, and is known for its cold, wet winters and dry, hot summers.

Plants that are considered Chinook hardy are typically those that are able to withstand high winds, drought, and fluctuating temperatures. Some examples of Chinook hardy plants include:

  • Evergreens: Douglas fir, western red cedar, and noble fir are just a few examples of evergreen trees that are able to tolerate the Chinook winds and other harsh growing conditions of the region.

  • Perennials: Many perennials, such as lavender, yarrow, and salvia, are also considered Chinook hardy, as they are able to withstand the dry, hot summers and cold, wet winters of the region.

  • Shrubs: Shrubs such as huckleberry, Pacific dogwood, and ocean spray are also considered Chinook hardy and are able to provide year-round interest in the landscape, even during the harshest weather conditions.

It's important to note that while these plants are considered Chinook hardy, they may still need some protection during extreme weather conditions, such as heavy snow or extremely high winds. Additionally, it's always a good idea to research any plant's specific needs and requirements before adding them to your landscape.




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