Over one hundred species of conifers are found in North America, and thirty are native to Canada. These beautiful trees are extremely popular for landscaping because they give your property a year-round show of colour and elegance. Because they keep their foliage all winter, evergreen trees complement any landscape for dressing up your property with interest and style.
A first consideration for choosing a tree for your yard is to select a type that will look with your particular surroundings and landscape. In addition to the year-round beauty that they provide, conifers lend a sense of structure to your landscape. Since they vary considerably, you should consider each tree’s size at maturity, shape, colour, and texture before you plant.
Most conifers are part of the pine tree family, and all have needles on their branches. The most familiar species of evergreens include hemlock, cedar, spruce, blue spruce, fir, Douglas-firs, and white pine. Because these trees are both beautiful and beneficial, it is not surprising that many homeowners choose to incorporate them into their landscapes.
Conifers are not only stunning, but they also serve to reduce chilling winds in the winter, provide shade in the summer and act as a sound and air pollution barrier for our homes. These mammoth giants offer much-needed shelter for many species of wildlife. From the grey squirrels building their nests deep within the top limbs of the trees to the white-tailed deer bedding bed down under the wide branches at the base in stormy weather, these trees offer crucial protection. The trees also provide a safe haven for numerous species of native non-migrating birds that take cover in their branches.
Conifer trees are unique because they produce pinecones while remaining alive and full-bodied during all seasons. The pinecones that drop off the conifers in the fall and throughout the winter are exceptional gifts. The pinecones come in various shapes and sizes depending on the tree species. Some tiny cones are smaller than an inch long and one-half inch wide all the way up to the four to six-inch curved, sap-saturated sticky ones. The most desirable cones are two to three inches round, and the wide, medium-sized cones are ideal for displays in Christmas baskets, holiday crafts and wreaths.
And, with the holiday season upon us, there is nothing more stunning and traditional than decorating your outdoor conifer trees with the festive lights of the season. The Frasier Fir is a top landscape tree and a favourite Christmas tree. It offers beautiful dark green needles and a wonderful pyramidal shape.
Tree Planting & Maintenance:
Planting and caring for evergreens requires a considerable investment of time and money, so choose wisely by knowing two basic pieces of information:
- The ultimate size of the space that you want filled by the evergreen.
- The species you are considering can thrive in the climate and site conditions of your property.
Most trees will require pruning when they are planted. Since the roots have been disturbed, the branch structure must be balanced with the remaining root system. The best results for growth come from pruning a young, vigorous tree; if well pruned in its early life, a young tree will require minimal pruning in later years. Most conifers have a strong central leader that requires no training for shape development. If there are multiple leaders, they should be thinned to favour the strongest individual leader. For established trees, an annual inspection will determine if pruning or other tree maintenance is necessary.
Conifers are a favourite for landscaping, particularly for homeowners who want a year-round garden that is scenic, environmentally friendly, low maintenance, and contributes to the value of the property.