Choosing Shade Evergreens: Learn More About Evergreens For Shade
The evergreen shrub, which is native to North America, grows from sea level up to 3,000 feet (900 meters). They are tall trees with slender branches that have leaves that turn yellow or orange when they mature. Most species produce cones at different stages of their life cycle.
Some produce flowers only during certain times of year. Other species flower all year round.
Evergreens are popular because they provide shade in many climates. They can grow anywhere there is a source of moisture and sunlight. Because they do not require much water, they are good plants for areas where rainfall is scarce.
Evergreens tolerate low humidity well, but will thrive in high levels of humidity. They prefer full sun to partial shade conditions and can survive without direct light if provided with indirect sunlight.
Evergreens are drought tolerant and can live through periods of very little rain. However, they may need supplemental watering during droughts. Evergreens are often used as ground covers in areas where other vegetation does not grow well due to soil type or poor drainage.
They make excellent houseplants because they tolerate temperatures down to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10°C) and humidity up to 95 percent.
Evergreen shrubs are popular for use in borders. They look good around flower gardens or along walkways. Some evergreens are pruned into shapes and grown in containers.
Other varieties are allowed to grow naturally and used as hedges. Still others are pruned into globes, spheres and fans.
Evergreen shrubs protect gardeners and their crops from cold, wind and snow. They are usually mixed with deciduous shrubs to provide seasonal colour through the changing of the leaves. Evergreens are commonly used in the landscape as foundation plants, around the perimeters of large buildings and in groups to screen undesirable views.
Evergreens have evolved over thousands of years to adapt to their environment. Some varieties grow in shallow sands along seashores. Others thrive in mountainous regions with constant strong winds.
Still others grow on cliffs with poor soil. Evergreens are profusely found in Northern and Central Europe, where rocky terrain, cold temperatures, strong winds and ice storms occur regularly throughout the year.
Evergreen shrubs are popular around the world for their lush appearance and year-round beauty. A wide variety of colours can be seen throughout the year as many varieties change colours with the changing seasons. They are usually grown from cuttings or by dividing larger shrubs.
They can also be grown from seed, but this can take several years until the plant is able to flower and produce seeds of its own.
Evergreens are easy to maintain and typically pest free. They do not require pruning unless they grow larger than their space allows. Some people mistakenly think that evergreens do not need to be watered as much as other plants.
This is not true. Evergreens like water, especially evergreen trees that have a wide circumference. It is recommended to water evergreens as much as other plants in your garden.
Evergreen shrubs are susceptible to many of the pests and diseases that attack deciduous plants. They are prone to aphids, plant lice, caterpillars, leaf miners, mealy bugs, scale insects and others. Aphids are probably the most common pest of evergreens.
They are small, green, winged, soft-bodied insects that can be seen clustered around the bottom of leaves, stems and buds. They pierce the plant with their needle-like mouth parts and drain the sap. This causes leaves to curl, turn yellow or brown and wilts the entire plant if not treated.
Most evergreens are easy to grow and can tolerate a wide range of conditions. They prefer full sunlight, but can survive in less. They also need water, just like other plants.
If you have evergreens in your landscape that look unhealthy, it is because they are not getting enough water.
Water evergreens as much as you would other plants in your landscape.
Evergreens can have just as many pests as deciduous plants. One of the most common is the aphid, which are small, green, soft-bodied insects that cluster on the undersides of leaves. They can be controlled with a strong spray of water.
Clean up and remove plant remains in the fall to discourage pests and diseases that attack over winter.
Evergreens provide excellent screening effects in the landscape. They are usually mixed in with deciduous shrubs to add colour during the changes of the seasons. They are usually too large for most foundation plantings, but can be effective along the perimeters of buildings.
Evergreens are also commonly used to screen undesirable views. Evergreens should be spaced far enough apart to allow light to reach the trunk, but not so far that their widths cannot share each others’ shadows.
They are commonly grown from cuttings or by dividing larger shrubs.
Evergreen shrubs can provide colour throughout the year by different varieties of seasonal colour change, or by interesting and unique fruit and seed structures.
Evergreens are popular in the landscape for many reasons. They can provide a low, wide profile that is perfect for areas where view are obstructed, such as parking lots. They retain their foliage in winter which provides colour when most other plants have lost theirs.
Evergreens can also be used in foundation plantings. In the garden, they can be valuable as specimen plants or as backgrounds for other plants.
Evergreens are usually pest free and easy to care for. They do not need to be pruned like many deciduous plants. Evergreens can handle strong fertilization and an occasional overdose of fertilizer will not hurt them.
Evergreens should be watered as needed, but they do not need the excessive watering that deciduous plants do.
Evergreen shrubs are one of the most versatile landscape plants. They can be used in many different situations. Most evergreen shrubs are small and grow close to the ground, providing a low boundary or screen.
Other shrubs may be used as foundation plants or to screen out unattractive views. Common uses for evergreens in the landscape are listed below.
Evergreens are commonly used in foundations plantings, especially in urban locations. A combination of low-growing and dwarf shrubs can be used to create a foundation planting that prevents people from seeing into the basement windows of a home.
Dwarf conifers are most commonly used on concrete perimeters such as sidewalks and driveways. They prevent people from seeing the concrete and adding a little variety with their green colour.
Dwarf shrubs can also be used in rock gardens, or as bed edgings. They prevent soil erosion in areas where grass will not grow, and the shape and texture of the shrubs provides interest in an area that might otherwise be bland.
Evergreens are commonly used to create privacy screens. They block the view of unattractive sites such as garbage dumps, parking lots or highways. They also prevent people from seeing into your yard.
Evergreens can also be used as border plants. They can create a division between two distinct areas, or add colour and variety to a larger area.
Evergreens are commonly used in shrub borders or wildflower gardens. The green foliage provides a nice contrast to the multicoloured flowers of the wildflowers.
Evergreens can be used in many different ways in the landscape. They are very versatile plants and can be used effectively by the beginner and the expert gardener alike.
Sources & references used in this article:
Close association of RGR, leaf and root morphology, seed mass and shade tolerance in seedlings of nine boreal tree species grown in high and low light by PB Reich, MG Tjoelker, MB Walters… – Functional …, 1998 – Wiley Online Library
Reconciling species‐level vs plastic responses of evergreen leaf structure to light gradients: shade leaves punch above their weight by CH Lusk, Y Onoda, R Kooyman… – New …, 2010 – Wiley Online Library
Hydraulics and life history of tropical dry forest tree species: coordination of species’ drought and shade tolerance by L Markesteijn, L Poorter, F Bongers, H Paz… – New …, 2011 – Wiley Online Library
Global meta‐analysis shows that relationships of leaf mass per area with species shade tolerance depend on leaf habit and ontogeny by CH Lusk, DI Warton – New Phytologist, 2007 – Wiley Online Library
Diseases of trees and shrubs. by WA Sinclair, HH Lyon – 2005 – cabdirect.org