Selection, Care of Evergreen Trees
Japanese Umbrella Pine Trees
Japanese umbrella pine trees are fussy to cultivate, rather along the lines of golden chain trees. But oh, are they ever worth the effort! I explain why in this article and offer pointers to deal with their fussiness.
We do not associate Leyland cypresses with New England. But I wanted to learn about these evergreen trees -- which are a very popular selection in the Southeast -- so I've been growing one in my own yard. They grow fast, so one aspect of Leyland cypress care I wish to emphasize is the need to prune regularly.
Hinoki cypresses (Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Gracilis') are semi-dwarf evergreen trees. A more extreme dwarf is Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana Gracilis.' The scaly sprays of Hinoki foliage curl down for an interesting visual effect.
You have probably heard that mugo pines can work for you in a short hedge or as a ground cover. That is true, but the 'Mops' cultivar is the correct selection for this purpose, not 'Pumilio.' If you do end up stuck with the latter and you are pressed for space, you can minimize the impact of the mistake through proper care: stay ahead on the pruning.
Dwarf Pine Trees: Information on a Japanese Variety
What kind of tree comes to mind when you hear "pine." Probably a giant, right? I have a tall Eastern white pine that looms menacingly over my home. I'm always afraid an ice-laden branch will snap and come crashing down. But the dwarf evergreen trees presented here are slow-growers that work well in small yards.
Like Eastern white pines, Canadian hemlocks are massive evergreen trees -- when seen out in the woods. These giants would not be a good selection for small spaces. But do not think this fact rules out all hemlocks. Cultivars exist that have been designed for use in hedges.
Dwarf Alberta Spruces
"Dwarf" Alberta spruce is a bit of a misnomer. These evergreen trees can grow (over a long period of time) to be 12 feet tall (depending on conditions), so they are not a good selection if you're looking for something to stick in a small space and just forget about for decades. One aspect of their care is keeping an eye out for a certain insect that plagues them.
Information on Blue Spruce
A bigger spruce is the Colorado blue spruce. These low-care specimens will reach 30-60 feet tall. Many of you may be familiar with this evergreen tree as a staple in your living room at Christmas. But it is also a good selection for a windbreak outdoors.
Evergreen Tree Selection for Privacy: Arborvitae
These evergreen trees may be best-known today for their usefulness in hedges. But their name, which literally means "tree of life," derives from a completely different use: when Jacques Cartier explored the St. Lawrence region in the 16th century, the natives alerted him to their being a cure for scurvy.
More Selections for "Living Wall" Privacy Fences
When selecting a hedge plant that will screen out the public's view of your yard, evergreens have at least one huge advantage over their deciduous cousins: because they retain their leaves year-round, they can perform the screening function for four seasons of the year. Some of the best selections are mentioned in this article.
Broadleaf Evergreen Trees -- Holly
Now I turn to a distinct group of evergreen trees: the broadleaf kind. These plants grow more typical leaves on their branches, rather than needles. I open with holly, which is almost on the same level with blue spruce (see above) as a classic in Christmas decor. Outdoors, depending on your selection, hollies can be anything from large specimens to dwarfs.
Another Broadleaf Specimen: Nellie Stevens Holly
A fast-growing holly with pretty, dark green foliage, 'Nellie Stevens' can grow to be as tall as 30 feet. Pyramid-shaped, its width is about half that. Be aware of these rather hefty dimensions when you choose a location in which to plant it, lest you find yourself screaming "Whoa, Nellie!" somewhere down the line.
How to Select a Christmas Tree
Let's say selecting a Christmas tree is a decision suddenly dumped into your lap (you've never done it before). How do you proceed? Marie Iannotti helps you with just that problem. She begins by looking at the pros and cons of the basic options: artificial, pre-cut, cutting your own, and live evergreen trees. She also addresses the issue of care.