Conifer (evergreen) Shrubs
- All evergreens lose some of their foliage each year. Broadleaved evergreens grow best in areas protected from winter sun, cold and drying winds.
- When selecting evergreens, consider soil and site conditions.
- Consider mature size when planting evergreens as overcrowding evergreens will affect their natural shape and beauty.
- Broadleaved evergreens generally require more consistent soil moisture than most narrow-leaved evergreens.
- Good soil drainage is essential for optimum growth.
Evergreens add year-round beauty and attractiveness to home landscapes. For practical purposes, evergreen shrubs are classified as broadleaved or narrow-leaved. Narrow-leaved evergreens such as pines and junipers have needle-like foliage. Evergreen plants that do not have needle-like foliage are known as broadleaved evergreens.
All evergreens lose some of their leaves each year. Most broadleaved evergreens lose some of the older leaves during the winter or when new growth resumes in the spring. Narrow-leaved evergreens can maintain foliage for two years or more. Eventually the innermost, oldest foliage drops off. Evergreens that are sheared, tend to be bare on the inside because the outer growth, promoted by shearing excessively shades the foliage towards the inside, causing it to drop.
When selecting landscape evergreens, consider soil and site conditions before deciding what to plant. Many broadleaved evergreens fare poorly in the mid-west when placed on a south or west exposure. This is due to the bright winter sun, and cold, drying winds.
Broadleaved evergreens do best if located on protected east or north exposures. Consider mature size when planting evergreens. If evergreens are planted too close together or too close to a structure, the natural shape and beauty of the plants can be affected.
Good drainage and soil aeration are essential for optimum growth. Where planting soils are mostly clay, amend soil with coarse organic material such as compost, sphagnum peat or aged barnyard manure. It takes about 3-5 cubic yards of organic material per 1,000 square feet to improve clay soil. Thoroughly mix the organic material into clay soil, to a depth of 8 to 10 inches.