How to pick evergreensIf you’re looking to add some greenery that will last all year long, then Evergreens are the way to go. Evergreens are a natural part of the Minnesota landscape and can make it through the harsh winters, but they are also great additions to any property regardless of climate.

Evergreens have green leaves year round, making them really “ever green”. This never ending foliage makes them a perfect candidate for landscaping. Evergreens lose and renew their leaves gradually not all at once, this is seen as an adaptation to seasons with low nutrients. This explains how the beautiful fir, spruce, pine, and arborvitae trees can flourish here in Minnesota.  

So how do you choose which evergreen and where to plant it?

Choosing the right evergreen can save you money and time. The amount of space available, soil, and climate are important to consider when making your decision. The majority of evergreens need full sun, while some can live in partial shade. Evergreens can also be natural heaters for the surrounding area, and a perfect place for birds and critters to frolic. It is also helpful to observe the trees and shrubs around your neighborhood to get an idea of what you like and what may work in your yard. Then, consider these factors before choosing your tree:

Size

Size matters when it comes to planting evergreens. The wrong size could take up too much space and sun. Placing too many evergreens together can result in a competition for resources, and a big green blob of foliage. Evergreens such as the fir, spruce, and arborvitae can cover a circle 30 feet in diameter when full grown. Therefore, unless you have a very large property, these trees may not be the best choice. Smaller evergreens like an upright juniper would be a better choice for smaller city lots. Evergreen shrubs can grow several feet out in only a couple of years, so think twice before placing them next to walkways or doorways.

Shape

Now that you’ve thought about size, pair it with a shape that fits the function and design you want. The shapes include globe, pyramid, spreading, low spreading, and cone. Cone shaped are good for bringing attention to walkways, while spreading evergreens can look great under windows. Big pyramid shapes such as pines, can be mass planted to bring privacy to your yard and/or to block wind. Some types worth looking into include the Norway pine, Eastern white pine, scotch pine, and the jack pine.

Color

Evergreens come in different shades of greens and may have various textures. Bark, cones, and berries are options to consider depending on your tree. Making sure you know what colors and textures your evergreen will bring to your landscape can ensure a beautiful yard year round.

Climate

Climate plays a huge factor when it comes to evergreens. The Minnesota climate can be a tricky one, and it’s best to go over your ideal tree with a nursery or certified arborist. The arctic air from Canada can kill exposed evergreens, so aim for a more durable evergreen such as the mugo pine that can handle such harshness alone.

Available moisture for the trees is also vital to survival. Luckily, Minnesota soil is suitable for evergreens except for the exotic types. The best way to ensure survival is to try and mimic forest conditions. Needles can fall down and create a type of mulch, or you can provide your own mulch. This allows protection from the elements and guarantees resources for your trees. As said earlier, the best way to make sure your exact tree or trees will survive in your area would be to contact your local nursery or arborist.

All in all, Evergreens can be a worthwhile and beautiful investment. For more information and detail on choosing the right trees and shrubs, check out the University of Minnesota Extension’s “Choosing Landscape Evergreens” page. You can also contact Precision at 651-484-2726.

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