Once you have chosen ornamental evergreens for your garden,
research how to care for them properly. Luckily, most evergreens
require little maintenance as long as they are planted in
the correct spot. When you're at the garden center, ask a
staff member if the plants like sun or shade, how much space
they need, etc. The person should be able to guide you, otherwise
find another garden center — evergreens can be expensive,
and you should know what you're getting.
There is some general maintenance information to keep in mind.
Because evergreens don't lose their leaves in the fall, they
can be more susceptible to drying winter winds. If you have
a very windy yard or if you have chosen a plant that is less
hardy, protect it from the wind, at least for the first few
years while it becomes established. Also, when dehydrated,
evergreens don't wilt the way other plants do. Most evergreens
are fairly drought tolerant, but keep an eye on them, especially
in the first year after planting.
distinctive architecture of the atlas cedar (Cedrus
Finally, pruning evergreens can be tricky. In most cases,
you should simply put away the shears. Many evergreens are
ornamental because of their distinctive structure, and pruning
without extensive knowledge of that structure can ruin the
shape of your plant forever. If you're unsure, don't do it;
simply give the plant enough space and let it grow. Choosing
slow-growing or dwarf varieties makes this hands-off approach
easier to live with, but keep in mind that even if the tag
says "dwarf," you should confirm this with a garden-center
staff member before you buy it. Plants never stop growing,
but some grow much more slowly than others. If you choose
those ones, you can let them grow to the shape nature intended
and enjoy the natural beauty of your garden without effort.
Morgan Blenk studied horticulture at the University of Guelph's
Kemptville, Ontario, campus. She has been an avid gardener
for close to 10 years and works full-time at a nursery and
part-time as a gardener.