How to Add Evergreen Trees to Your Landscape

In winter, when most trees are bare, evergreens serve as much-needed columns of green, which dramatize wind and appear even darker when cloaked with snow. Birds need evergreen trees for shelter, and people need them for the same reason. Planted on the north side of your house, an evergreen tree can shelter it from biting winter winds, and its shade pattern won’t block the warming rays of the Southern sun. From large American hollies to cypress, pines,magnolias, or yews, every landscape should have a space for a carefully selected evergreen tree.

How to Add Evergreen Trees to Your Landscape

When to Plant?

When to plant? In most climates, set out new evergreen trees either before growth starts in early spring or after the tree has finished growing in early fall. If planting in the fall, make sure the roots will have time to establish themselves before the ground freezes.

In Mild-Winter Areas

In mild-winter areas where the ground doesn’t freeze, fall is preferred for planting evergreen trees. Fall-planted trees can take advantage of winter rains and should be well rooted by the time stressful summer weather arrives.

Sun or Shade?

Sun or shade? Most evergreen trees need full sun for at least three-quarters of the day.Those planted in the shade-including shade-tolerant hemlocks, arborvitaes, and yews-sprout fewer branches and have less attractive shapes.

A Backdrop for Flowering Vines

A backdrop for flowering vines. Brighten evergreen foliage in summer by training colourful climbing vines, such as clematis, nasturtium, morning glory, and cup-and-saucer vine to twine prettily on the tree’s south-facing side.

Not all Evergreens Have Needles

Not all evergreens have needles. The southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), or bull bay, is a fixture in the Deep South.Newer dwarf forms, such as the award-winning ‘Little Gem’ variety make magnolias much easier to fit into the landscape.

An All-Round Favourite

Yews (Taxus spp.) are among the world’s most popular needle-leaf evergreens.Hundreds of species and cultivars are available, and they range in size from 40-foot (12-meter) columnar trees to sturdy, dense shrubs good for hedges and 2-foot (60-cm) spreading shrubs,which are wider than they are tall.

Reduce a Conifer’s Spread

Reduce a conifer’s spread by pinching back or pruning the new green shoots that appear each spring. Be careful not to prune past the point where leaves are growing, since only a few conifers can produce new growth from branches without live foliage present.

A Winter Mulch

A winter mulch. Branches pruned from evergreen trees-especially conifers-make ideal winter mulch for perennials, small border shrubs, and strawberries. Either shred the branches with a wood chipper or lay pieces of whole boughs atop the soil.

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