How to Grow Evergreens


Evergreens come in an interesting variety of colors, sizes and shapes, making them a versatile addition to the home landscape. Lower evergreens can be used as a hedge, and taller ones can provide privacy and act as a windbreak. Evergreens can be the focal point in the landscape or they can serve as a backdrop or shelter for flowers. Evergreens take a little effort to get started, but once they're established, they require very little attention.

Step 1

Remove the sod in the area where you intend to plant the evergreen. Be sure the planting area has excellent drainage. Although evergreens require plenty of water, letting their roots sit in water for an extended time can kill them.

Step 2

Dig a hole at least double the width of the evergreen's root ball or container and loosen the soil on the inside walls of the hole so that roots will be able to spread. If the evergreen is in a plastic container, cut the container away carefully because pulling the evergreen out of the container can damage the roots.

Step 3

Spread the roots out and set the tree in the hole with the top of the root ball about an inch above ground level. If you live in a cold climate, plant the evergreen slightly deeper. Make sure the evergreen is straight and then let a hose trickle water into the hole while you fill it with soil. Tamp the soil down with a shovel, and then add about 3 inches of mulch around the evergreen. Once the evergreen is planted, water it again.

Step 4

Give the evergreen a good soaking around Thanksgiving each year to ensure it will have moisture to survive the winter, especially if the summer and fall have been dry. An extra layer of mulch will help to keep moisture in through the winter months.

Step 5

Shape the evergreens in early spring, if desired. This is done by clipping the new growth. Never prune the evergreen down to bare wood unless you are sure you don't want the foliage in that area to grow back.

Step 6

Fertilize the evergreen during spring or fall of the second or third growing season, if the tree shows signs of lack of moisture, insect damage or poor drainage. Don't water until the evergreen is well established, because doing so can injure young roots. Most healthy evergreens don't require fertilization.


  • What it Takes to Grow Evergreens
  • Selecting Landscape Plants: Needled Evergreens
  • Tips for Planting Evergreens
Keywords: evergreen, windbreak, landscape

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a longtime writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the "East-Oregonian Newspaper" and "See Jane Run" magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.