Make your yard attractive year-round with evergreens. When other plants go dormant or lose their leaves during the winter months, evergreens provide shades of green to the landscape. They also add textural interest and provide nesting spaces and even food for birds. Spring Hill carries a wide selection of evergreens – from slow-growing dwarf trees that are suitable for patio containers to fast-growing trees that'll create hedge rows. Some have arching branches, while others have narrow forms, making them ideal for small spaces.
What is an Evergreen Tree?
Evergreen trees include coniferous trees that keep their leaves all year long. The long-lasting nature of evergreens makes them standouts in the garden, as well as adding spots of nuance in the grays and whites of winter. Gardeners and landscapers find evergreens to be a wonderful investment for a variety of reasons:
- Evergreens are perfect for adding year-round greenness and structure to your landscape.
- The shape and texture of evergreen trees and pine trees stand out from deciduous, leafy trees, creating additional interest.
- Evergreen trees can be the best choice when you are looking to add privacy to your garden or yard, as they are commonly used as hedge plants.
- Coniferous plants are known for their resilience, low maintenance, and lack of disease.
With easy care and the ability to add color and interest to any garden, evergreens are a delightful addition and a true must-have basic, as well as a long-lasting investment in your garden.
How to Plant Evergreen Trees
Planting instructions may vary depending on the type of the evergreen plant. Climate needs are also dependent upon species, so it's important to pick the right evergreen tree for your growing zone. However, a few basic concepts hold true for most evergreens.
- Sun and soil requirements for evergreens: Most evergreen trees will require partial to full sun, about 4 to 8 hours, each day. These trees also require well-draining soil with good airflow, so a compact, constantly-moist planting site is not ideal for evergreens. Aerate the soil by adding peat moss or compost before planting.
- Planting time for evergreens: The best time to plant an evergreen tree is late fall or early spring. Springtime planting allows the plants to settle and the roots to establish in their new placement without the interference from severe heat or extremely cold weather.
- How deep to plant evergreens: Most coniferous plants are shipped as potted plants, or with wrapped root balls. To plant your evergreen tree, dig a hole that is at least twice as large as the tree's root ball, or as deep as the plant was potted. Once your evergreen is positioned in the hole, backfill halfway tamping the soil around the roots to remove air pockets. Now you can finish filling in the hole, tamping soil down as you go.
- After planting: These stately trees need firm, well-grounded rooting, so be sure to tamp the soil in as you plant the tree. If you have sandy or rocky soil, consider adding some amendments as you backfill. Once you finish planting, water well.
- Mulch for evergreens: While evergreens are usually cold-hardy, they have relatively shallow roots. Make sure to add a layer of mulch for protection.
How to Care for Evergreen Trees?
Evergreens are relatively easy-care trees, but keeping your growing evergreen tree healthy and thriving can require a bit of work. Here are some of our favorite tips for taking care of evergreens.
- Evergreens, especially large pine trees and shrubs, tend to take in a lot of nutrition. Make sure to add a layer of compost and organic fertilizer each spring.
- Address soil pH. Some trees will experience yellowed needles if the soil pH becomes too alkaline, so be sure to test your soil if you spot yellowing. Commercially-available soil acidifier, compost, or potash can help to maintain acidity.
- Leave your needles where they fall. Not only do pine needles provide natural mulch, but they also help to acidify and nourish the soil.
- Don't over-prune your pines or cypress hedges. These trees are not meant for heavy pruning and should be shaped minimally. Limit yourself to removing damaged branches only, especially while your tree is becoming established.
- Keeping the evergreen plant well-watered during the first growing season is essential. Water your evergreen plant about once or twice a week as needed.
- Regular rainfall watering is enough once the evergreen tree is well established in the planting site, as most evergreens can resist some drought.
- Keep an eye out for pests. Bagworms, aphids, mites, and bark beetles all love to munch on evergreen trees. Pre-treatment options are available or look for insecticides to spot-treat your trees.
Like any tree or large piece of landscaping, evergreens require care and maintenance each year. However, these trees can do incredible work as windscreens, privacy barriers, and simply beautiful specimens in the garden and landscape.
Evergreen Trees: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the fastest-growing evergreen plant?
If you're seeking fast-growing trees for shade or windscreens, you may be looking for evergreen hedges. These trees and shrubs provide full, thick growth year after year, creating a towering and sturdy structure in minimal time.
Arborvitae, especially giant arborvitae, is incredibly well-suited to this purpose, growing well over a foot in height each year. Giant arborvitae is among the fastest-growing evergreen shrubs. These plants can be used to create a fast-growing privacy fence that doesn't slack in beauty or form.
On the pine tree side, white pines will offer a growth rate of feet, not inches, each year. Our Eastern White Pine is a fast-growing favorite, providing quick shade without creating a weak or spindly trunk.
What is the best time to plant evergreen trees?
Evergreen trees should be planted in the early spring when the plant is growing at a slower rate. Spring planting allows the tree to take root before the harsh winter sets in and allows it to "wake up" in its new location. You'll often see landscapers setting pine trees in March or February across the Midwest and East-this is the reason why.
What is the hardiest evergreen tree?
In the United States, most evergreen trees will be hardy as far north as you can garden. Evergreen arborvitae, pines, and juniper tend to be hardy to Zone 2, and certain types of spruces can go to even colder temperatures. Most evergreens originate in cold temperatures, and they'll be happy to survive in the northern U.S.
If you're looking for the hardiest evergreen tree available to be shipped to you, the Norway Spruce
is one worth considering. This tree actually goes into the ground in fall, because it will thrive even in frigid temperatures. Originating from the coldest parts of Europe, a Norway Spruce will thrive at temperatures down to -30 degrees Fahrenheit.
What is considered an evergreen?
While we tend to equate the term "evergreen" with pine trees-and our Christmas carols do, too-evergreens actually include any plant that holds its functionality and growth through the winter. Evergreens do not undergo a dormant period. As such, evergreens include pine trees, yew trees, and juniper, but they also include eucalyptus and certain types of ferns. Holly and boxwood trees stand out as evergreens with leaves. And, some perennials, such as creeping wintergreens, hold their color through winter, too.