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Evergreen trees 

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Evergreen trees include most conifers which are recognized by their needles or scale-like leaves and the cones they produce. A conifer should only have one dominant leader (a leader is the vertical branch or stem at the top of the tree). If your tree grows more than one leader, the other should be pruned out to prevent multiple leader development.  

When a tree's leader is lost due to storm damage or disease, replace it by splinting to a vertical position the upper lateral on the highest branch. Prune all laterals immediately below the new leader. Use wood or flexible wire splints, removing them after one growing season.

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Evergreen trees are categorized into two groups according to their branch arrangement.  Pines, spruces, and firs have whorled branches that form a circular pattern around the growing tip. The annual growth of a whorl- branched conifer is determined by the number of shoots that are pre-formed in the buds. Whorl-branched conifers usually have only one flush of growth each year in which these pre-formed shoots expand into stems that form the next whorl.


Fraser Fir

The Fraser Fir, Abies Fraseri, is a classy, tall, fir tree that has short dark-green needles with silver undersides. It is among the most classy of conifers. A great ornamental and Christmas tree because of its density and compactness. Fraser Firs will grow in most locations but must have good drainage. This dense evergreen tree has wood that is light, soft, not strong and coarse-grained. It is grown extensively for Christmas trees in North Carolina, where it is ranked as the number one Christmas tree by the Christmas tree industry


Black Hills Spruce

The Black Hills Spruce, Picea Glauca Var. densata, is noted for its dark green foliage and conical form. Black Hills Spruce trees are very dense and have a deep dark green color. It is a truly cold adapted tree and is very resistant to winter injury. Deer dislike Black Hills Spruce. This tree is commonly used for windbreaks, privacy screens and accent plantings. It will reach a height of six feet in nine years on a good site.


Canadian Hemlock

The Canadian Hemlock tree, Tsuga canadensis, is also called Eastern Hemlock or Hemlock spruce. This evergreen conifer is a fast-growing long-lived tree which unlike many trees grows well in shade. It may take 250 to 300 years to reach maturity and may live for 800 years or more. Shelter small plants from drying winds. They stand shearing and pruning well and are excellent as hedges. They are graceful and make great ornamental plantings.


Colorado Blue Spruce

The Colorado Blue Spruce tree, Picea Pungens, is a pyramidal shaped evergreen with steel blue foliage. It prefers heavier soils, full sun, and clean cultivation. Colorado Blue Spruce trees will reach a height of six feet in eight years on a good site, starting with a 2 year old seedling. The Blue Spruce is probably the most drought tolerant of all spruce trees. A handsome ornamental specimen for use as a dense, colorful screen or windbreak. Space 6 ft. apart when used as a screen or windbreak.


Concolor Fir

The Concolor Fir tree, Abies concolor, is also known as white fir, concolor fir, silver fir, Rocky Mountain white fir, Colorado Fir, Lows Fir, Pacific white fir. Concolor Fir trees are large, densely-growing, narrow trees with a dome-shaped crown growing to 50 feet or more. This evergreen conifer tree is native to the mountainous regions of the western United States It is a rapid grower after it becomes established. It makes a handsome ornamental and decorative Christmas tree.


Eastern White Pine

The Eastern White Pine, Pinus Strobus, is a beautiful landscape pine widely used throughout much of North America. This evergreen conifer tree is a truly magnificent tree attaining a height of 80 feet at maturity with a diameter of two to three feet. It carries long, soft bluish green needles with large brown cones. Eastern White Pine trees are widely used as a screen or windbreak. It is easily controlled, and is good for small properties as well as field plantings. Also widely used for Christmas trees and timber.


Fraser Fir

The Fraser Fir, Abies Fraseri, is a classy, tall, fir tree that has short dark-green needles with silver undersides. It is among the most classy of conifers. A great ornamental and Christmas tree because of its density and compactness. Fraser Firs will grow in most locations but must have good drainage. This dense evergreen tree has wood that is light, soft, not strong and coarse-grained. It is grown extensively for Christmas trees in North Carolina, where it is ranked as the number one Christmas tree by the Christmas tree industry


Loblolly Pine

The Loblolly Pine tree, Pinus taeda, is a fast-growing member of the yellow pine group. It is also called yellow pine, North Carolina pine, and oldfield pine and is the most commercially important forest species in the southern United States. Loblolly Pine trees can grow up to 100 feet tall and up to three feet in diameter; however, along the coast they seldom rise more than 50 feet. It thrives in a variety of soils, including well-drained upland areas with poor nutrient concentrations to poorly drained lowland areas and abandoned fields.


Mugho Pine

The Mugho Pine tree, Pinus mugo mughus, may also be called the dwarf mountain pine. This evergreen little dwarf conifer has branching, upright stems evenly covered in 2-inch-long needles of a deep, dark true green. It does require good drainage. Roots grow near the surface, so using a cover soil with a 2-inch-thick mulch to protect them is recommended. These trees are easily transplanted. They make a great landscaping evergreen tree because their shape and size are controllable by shearing.


Norway Spruce

The Norway Spruce tree, Picea Abies, is a fast growing tree that can grow to 150 ft. Norway Spruce trees, placed on a good site, should reach 5 ft. in 6 to 7 years starting with a 2-yr. seedling. It is one of the best conifers for shelters and windbreaks, as its branches grow densely into one another. For planting a windbreak, or for noise abatement, these trees should be planted 6 ft. apart. The branches of Norway Spruce trees droop gracefully as tree matures, making this a very attractive ornamental.


Ponderosa Pine

The Ponderosa Pine, Pinus Ponderosa, will grow on most soils including very sandy soils and sites with very little topsoil. Once established, it is very drought resistant. With good care, Ponderosa Pine trees will grow to a height of six feet in six years, starting with a 2 year old seedling. It is a tall stately tree that is widely used in windbreaks. This evergreen conifer tree thrives in full sun and poor soil, and it is one of the tallest and most important timber pines in the western states.


Scotch Pine

The Scotch Pine tree, Pinus Sylvestris, is a conifer that is a native of Europe and is widely used as a Christmas Tree. It is a fast growing, irregularly shaped tree. The evergreen foliage consists of short, twisted needles, which are bluish-green and often change to yellow-green in winter. When used in windbreaks, it should be placed in east or south inside rows and works best in partial shade to full sun. It is a hardy tree that grows rapidly for a pine tree.


White Spruce

The White Spruce tree, Picea glauca, has many common names including the Western White Spruce, Canadian Spruce, Alberta Spruce, Alberta White Spruce, Black Hills Spruce, Skunk Spruce, Cat Spruce, and Porsild Spruce. White Spruce trees can grow rapidly if placed in a well drained location and it is adaptable to many soil types. It makes a beautiful Christmas tree, ornamental specimen, when planted as a single, or it can be a steady windbreak when planted in rows.


Austrian Pine

The Austrian Pine, Pinus nigra, is a densely branched tree producing long dark needles. This evergreen conifer tree thrives in urban locations as well as in windbreaks in more rural settings. The spreading branches of a young tree form a pyramidal outline, but at maturity, it sometimes achieves a picturesque flat topped head. Also good for thick screens or windbreaks. When placed in a good site it should reach 5 ft. in height in 6-7 years starting with a 2 year old seedling.


Bald Cypress

The Bald Cypress, Taxodium distichum, is a lofty, deciduous conifer of slender, pyramidal habit. A stately tree, for parks, yards. Landscapers and land owners use this tree in wet areas. Bald Cypress trees have moderate water requirements. The needle like leaves are dark green in the spring and summer. The "cypress knees" only develop when grown in or near water for most of the year. This species is very adaptable to wet and dry sites and thrives in many soil types.


Douglas Fir

The Douglas Fir tree, Pseudotsuga menziessi glauca, is a splendid pyramidal evergreen. It has many common names such as, Interior fir, Rocky Mountain, Douglas-fir, Douglas, yellow or red spruce, Oregon pine, and Douglastree. Douglas Fir trees have dark green or blueish green needles. It is a rapid growing hardy tree that grows well in a variety of soils It is used as a windbreak tree and it can also be sheared as a hedge.


Balsam Fir

The Balsam Fir, 'Abies balsamea', exhibits a relatively dense, dark-green, pyramidal crown with a slender spire-like tip. The scientific name "balsamea" is an ancient word for the balsam tree, so named because of the many resinous blisters found in the bark. Balsam fir and Fraser fir have many similar characteristics. The species thrives in cooler climates and demands abundant soil moisture and a humid atmosphere. A large percentage of Christmas trees are Balsam Firs.

Serbian Spruce

The Serbian Spruce, 'Picea omorika', Serbian Spruce forms a narrow, pyramidal silhouette with graceful arching branches. The upper surface of the needles is glossy, dark green in contrast to the whitish lower surface. The Serbian spruce, with it's narrow pyramidal habit, allows its use in smaller scale landscape situations than most other conifer trees. It prefers moist well drained soils, and will tolerates alkaline sites.


Bristlecone Pine

The Bristlecone Pine, 'Pinus aristata', is a type of pine tree that can reach an age far greater than that of any other living thing known - up to 5,000 years. It is dense in growth, the shoots set with dark, short needles, five per bundle. The cones which occasion its names are indeed tipped by slender spines or bristles. Looks aside, bristlecone pine is famous because in its arid mountain home of Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona, it can live for thousands of years. In cultivation it proves slow, bushy, dark and enduring of difficult sites.


The second group of evergreens are those with a random branching habit. Yew, arborvitae, cedar, false cypress, and juniper are all random-branched species.

American Arborvitae

The American Arborvitae, Thuja occidentalis, is a conifer evergreen tree that is widely used as an accent tree or as a privacy hedge tree. American Arborvitae trees have a broad pyramidal shape with erect branches that are dense and crowded together. The leaf color is bright green above and pale green below and they may turn a yellow brown is some winters. When established it can stand considerable heat and drought. It may be sheared and shaped to fit into most every landscaping need.


Globe Arborvitae

The Pygmy Globe, Thuja occidentalsis, is a globe shaped dwarf arborvitae tree. These Arborvitae trees have bright green foliage. This slow compact growing evergreen tree does not need to be sheared to maintain the globe shape. The Pygmy Globe tree or shrub thrives in full sun or light shade. It has great appeal as a specimen planting or as an accent shrub in a yard or garden area.


Pyramidalis Arborvitae

The Pyramidalis arborvitae, Thuja occidentalis, is a tall, slender and compact grower. This evergreen conifer tree is ideal for entrance or corner plantings. The bright green foliage is attractive all year. This evergreen species grows best in fertile, well-drained but moist soil, in full sun to light shade. Pruning is seldom required due to the dense growth habit. The moderate growth rate provides an attractive accent tree for your landscaping plans.


Eastern Red Cedar

The Eastern Red Cedar, Juniperus Virginiana, is a small to medium-sized aromatic evergreen tree. Typically, the trunk is straight and the tree has a pointed, dense, conical crown that may be varied or irregular, depending on ecotype or competing vegetation. The fruit, or cone, is berrylike and dark blue. Its deep roots and small leaf surface make it very drought resistant. The wood of the Red Cedar is fragrant and is used extensively for furniture. The foliage is bright green to dark green.


Green Giant Arborvitae

The Arborvitae Green Giant, 'Thuja plicata 'Green Giant', is a giant arborvitae that has bright green, fern-like foliage. This plant is very adaptable to wet or dry soils. The Green Giant is fast growing for an arborvitae and it is also very dense and they are used extensively for borders, screens, windbreaks or as an accent tree. When used as a hedge, the Green Giant can be trimmed and kept to a dense 6 foot hedge.


Spring Grove Arborvitae

The Arborvitae Spring Grove, 'Thuja plicata 'Spring Grove', a Proven Winners selection, was selected for its superior winter color and hardiness. It maintains a rich green color even in Midwest winters. The tight, pyramidal habit works nicely for landscape designs, borders, screens, and windbreaks. This plant is also very deer resistant. The Spring Grove is fast growing for an Arborvitae.


Woodward Arborvitae

The Arborvitae Woodward, 'Thuja occidentalis 'Wiidwardii', is a compact round plant that never needs trimming to maintain its shape. The Woodward is an excellent foundation plant and it is well suited for a short border or lining a sidewalk. This plant is fast growing for an Arborvitae and it displays bright green foliage. Place the Woodward in moist, acidic, and well drained soils.


Techny Arborvitae

The Techny Arborvitae, Thuja occidentalis, is a fast growing Arborvitae tree that grows well in full sun or light shade. Techny arborvitae trees are very winter hardy. This cultivar is the most resistant to winter and drought damage and is the Arborvitae of choice for tougher conditions. This beautiful evergreen species has a deep dark green color. It can be sheared to shape when used as a hedge or privacy screen.



Pruning of evergreen trees should only be done to remove dead, diseased, or damaged branches.  If you are removing diseased branches make thinning cuts into healthy wood well below the infected area.  Make sure to disinfect your tools between each cut as to not spread the disease to other areas.  Never prune a bare area where there are no needles or leaves because that will prevent new branches from growing.  When pruning evergreen trees, be careful not to tear the bark of the tree.  It is not necessary to cover the cuts with paint or dressing except if you want to control a disease or insect infestation.




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