Evergreen Trees: How to Grow and Care for Them

The year-round green trees enduring the dry, cold, humid, and hot temperatures are a sight to behold. Low maintenance and a classic staple in most landscapes evergreen trees with their sweet-smelling fragrance and benefits do stand a place in your garden.

What are Evergreen Trees?

Evergreen trees have foliage all through the year. Sempervirens in Latin, botanists have always been curious about this plant species that boasts of functional and green foliage across the growing seasons.

The origin and the history of the evergreen tree are also interesting to know. Popular among Christians as a signal of an everlasting life with the Lord, fir trees were earlier used as Christmas trees. Evergreen trees were also planted in boxes and kept at home during the winter times.

Common NameEvergreen Trees
Plant TypeYear round
Plant Size & SpreadBigger species (50 to 80 feet tall and 20 to 40 feet wide). Columnar variety (20 feet in height and 14 feet in width). Dwarf variety (4 to 6 feet)
Bloom TimeThrough the year
Flower ColorVariety like red, yellow, pink, green, lavender, blue
ToxicitySome trees like American holly are mildly toxic. Those from the yew family are highly toxic causing death because of cardiac failure.

Types of Evergreen Trees

Evergreen trees are mainly conifers. These include,

  • Pine
  • Spruce
  • Fir
  • Yew
  • Juniper

The trees have a typical characteristic needle instead of leaves. The broadleaf plants that keep their foliage through the year are also included in the evergreen family. These include live oak, rhododendron, and southern magnolia.

Evergreen trees come in varied sizes and shapes so you definitely can choose one based on what you wish to grow in your garden.

Check out the article for complete guide on types of Evergreen Trees.

Things to Consider about Evergreen Trees

Growing Conditions for Evergreen Trees

  • When to Plant Evergreen trees?

Ideally, look to plan the evergreen tree in the early spring season, though you can plant it any time of the year. Planting in early spring gives it the entire growing season to establish. It reduces any transparent shock. You may plant the evergreen trees in the fall season too but there are chances that the root growth gets stunted when the ground starts to freeze.

If you have got your evergreen but it is still not time to plant it then just keep it in a pot in a shaded area and water it daily ensuring that the soil is neither dry nor soggy.

  • How Long Do Evergreen trees Take to Grow?
Evergreen trees Take to Grow

Nutrition, species, and environment play a key role in deciding how fast an evergreen tree will grow. Evergreen trees are mature when they start to produce cones along with seeds. You will notice growth in 6 years for some species while others may take even 30 years to grow. Depending on the soil and weather, the tree grows differently each year.

  • Preparation

Evergreen trees do not thrive in dry soil. These need slightly acidic and well-drained soil. Adding a few layers of mulch retains moisture in the soil in the harsh winter and summer months.

Keep in mind the size that the tree will grow to when mature. Choose a site that will be able to accommodate the tree when it reaches its full height. You do not want it to rub against obstacles. The tree should have the right soil pH and its sunlight requirements should be met.

Benefits of Growing evergreen trees in Your Garden

Here are some benefits of why one should choose to grow evergreens in their garden.

  • The trees have tall trunks that offer additional privacy
  • These are environmentally friendly improving the water and air quality 
  • They provide natural shade
  • These add to the aesthetics of your garden
  • Evergreens help to break wind 
  • They are low maintenance

Are Evergreen Trees Toxic?

Are evergreen trees Toxic?

Some evergreen trees are toxic to dogs and cats.

  • The yew shrub or tree with the genus name Taxus is toxic to dogs, animals, and even to humans.
  • Chinese evergreen is poisonous to pets causing a burning sensation in the tongue, lips, throat, and mouth. It causes swelling, choking, and difficulty in swallowing which could continue for over two weeks.
  • Pine trees are toxic to cats causing liver damage and even death.

Avoid planting these evergreen species in your garden especially if you have home pets. Else there are tons of safe evergreen tree species that can be a great addition to your home garden.

How to Plant Evergreen trees?

Planting Evergreen Tree

Here are the steps to plant and grow evergreen trees.

  • Remove the tree from the packaging as soon as it arrives.
  • Water the tree. 
  • Choose a site where you wish to plant the tree, ensuring that the spot will cater to the needs of the tree.
  • Prepare the soil well by mulching it and adding water to it.
  • Dig a hole deep enough to fit the pot.
  • Place the tree in the hole and replace most of its soil.
  • Water the tree well, then let the water drain. 
  • Once completely drained, put the rest of the soil back
  • Put mulch around the tree and water it once a week for the first season

How to Grow Evergreen Trees?

Until the tree has spread its roots and is well established you will have to water it regularly. How often you should water it is dependent on the weather but a slow and good soaking once in the week is the best. If the weather is warm then you may want to water the place twice a week.

For a proper and well growth of the plant, check below the ideal growing conditions and caring tips.

How to Care for Evergreen Trees?


Certain trees need direct sunlight while others thrive well in shady areas. Moisture and sunlight are the key things to consider when planting your evergreens. You need the right ratio of the sun in the summer to shade in the winter for the plant to grow well. Consider planting them on the northern side of your property.


Water the plant directly, when it is still young, all through its first growing season. Once the tree is well established you should water it on the outside perimeter of the canopy. This will let the roots spread outwards and give the tree a solid foundation.


Evergreens survive in all temperatures but avoid planting them when it is either too hot or too cold outside. They need full sun in the summer months and shade in the winter months.


Plant the evergreen in an area where it does not dry out in the winter months. The waxy coating helps to conserve water which prevents the needles from drying when exposed to the winter sun and the wind.


The plant needs a well-drained and acidic soil condition. Clay and wet soil is a challenge. Know the pH balance of the soil before you purchase an evergreen tree since some prefer acidic while others prefer alkaline soil.

Alkaline soils are dry and are thus best for trees that are tolerant to drought.

Acidic solutions are capable of holding moisture which is something that most evergreens prefer.


  • Frost cracks are common in evergreens where the trunk cracks due to expansion and contraction. This happens when the temperature drops at night and then warms up in the day. This quick temperature fluctuation creates frost cracks which can be prevented by spreading mulch around the roots. 
  • Snow can also weigh the trees down snapping the branches. Tie the weak branches so that they face up around the tree trunk.
  • Sunburn or sunscald is also a concern in the winter months causing the evergreens to burn when the sunlight bounces from the snow. This causes the needles to turn yellow or brown. A burlap barrier prevents the harsh sunlight from hitting your tree.


Pruning is easy where you eliminate the damaged and dead branches. It lets you establish the leader branch. Pruning is also necessary to stimulate growth so make sure to not prune before the winter months.


Evergreens do not usually need fertilizers but if you want to give the little tree a push then choose a fertilizer that contains more nitrogen component in comparison to potassium or phosphorous. Follow the instructions as mentioned. It is best to fertilize in mid-April to early summer.


Broadleaf evergreens usually grow well with cutting or asexual propagation also known as vegetative propagation. The cutting should be done during the growing season after you notice any new plant growth. The technique is easy. Length is important since long cuttings take time to form roots as compared to short cuttings. Short cuttings however take long to reach a suitable planting size. Cutting should be done using a sharp and clean knife

Pests & Diseases

Spider mites, at times, attach to the evergreens during the summer months. To prevent this, spray the trunk with a hose or turn water in the foliage. This will dislodge the mites not letting them multiply. This is an easy, organic, and non-toxic fix.


That is all about it. Your evergreen tree is well planted and taken care of ready for a great and healthy life ahead.

About Jennifer Igra

Growing up in Brooklyn, New York City known for it’s green gardens. Jennifer, a 30 year old gardener and green living fanatic started Igra World to share her gardening journey and increase gardening awareness among masses. Follow Igra World to improve your gardening skills.

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