Evergreens

Evergreens are plants that have leaves through all four seasons. These trees do lose leaves but not all at once the way that other deciduous trees will. Most often when evergreens are dropping needles, they are the innermost needles closest to the main trunk. The dropping of needles can cause concern but often is just part of the natural process. The length of time that evergreens retain their needles can range from two to 17 years, depending on the species.

 

The dropping of their needles contributes to a higher soil acidity and lower soil nitrogen content. These conditions help promote the growth of more evergreens and also help younger evergreen plants to survive cold and dry conditions.

 

When choosing evergreens, it is important to consider available space, soil, and site conditions, as well as weather factors. Conifers are versatile plants that can be used to make hedges, backdrops for flowering plants, or to deflect or break winds.


 

Arborvitae/Cedar

An evergreen with scale-like leaves, Arborvitae are also known as cedars and are popular choices for hedges because of their tall, narrow growth habits. It's thick, dark green foliage retains it's colour all year round. 

 

For the most part, arborvitae prefer sunny areas, and moist well-drained soil. 

Bonsai

Outdoor bonsai trees are less like the typically imagined bonsai tree, but are hardy evergreens that rarely grow more than a foot in height and are easily trimmed back. 

 

Evergreen bonsai trees excel in rock gardens and traditional Japanese gardens. 

Cypress

Cypress trees are a fast growing native North American species that have a prominent position in gardens. Cypress trees are excellent for moist areas such as bogs, rainwater runoff areas, or low-lying areas in a place that getes a lot of rain. Don't be discouraged though - cypresses grow equally as well in dry soil. 

False Cypress

False Cypress are similar to Cypresses, but are more known for their large stature. The majority of them have tall, conical shapes. With incomparable texture and ferocious colour, cypresess to wonderfully in mixed beds or as specimen plants. 

Fir

An evergreen coniferous tree, firs tend to be among the largest of the evergreens. Flat "leaves" or needles are attached to the base by a suction-cup-like attachment. They are also one of the most popular choice of Christmas trees due to it's rich fragrance. 

Heather

Heather is one of the only evergreens that bloom, with blooms that start in early spring and, depending on the species, last until the fall. This evergreen is low-growing, well-behaved, and easy to maintain. 

Juniper

Juniper comes in many different shapes and sizes with both columnar and groundcover varieties available. With bright berries during the summer, fall and winter, juniper berries are festive additions to most winter floral arrangements.

 

Junipers are extremely drought hardy once well established. The foliage is quite prickly. 

Larch

Depending on where you are located, larches, while coniferous, may be deciduous. The needles are only an inch long and grow in small clusters. 

Pine

Pine trees are the most common coniferous trees world-wide, and they love sunny spaces. Pine trees are also known for their pinecones, which are well known to crafters for holiday decorating. Pines are also known for their high-quality timber. 

 

Pine trees prefer acidic soils. They tend to be longer-lived trees and can grow anywhere from 3 feet to 100 feet depending on the species. 

Spruce

Spruce trees needles are arranged all around the twig. Spruce trees tend to prefer moist sites and would prefer full sun, though they will grow in partial shade. Spruces can grow quite large, though there are some smaller varieties available. The majority of them are conical in nature. 

Yew

Yews make excellent hedges and will tolerate growing in a wide range of soils and situations, such as shallow chalk and clay, making them excellent for anyone trying to plant an area with poor soil. Yews can also grow to be very old.