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Types of Evergreen Trees

snow covered tree image by Barbara Helgason from

Evergreen trees have the capability of retaining their colorful foliage and needles all year long, including the winter, when most plants lose their leaves and die down. There are a variety of evergreen trees to grow to add a commanding presence to the landscape. Some evergreens tolerate both sun and shade, while others require full sun. Some are also drought and heat tolerant, making these perfect for overly dry and hot climates.

Giant Arborvitae

Giant arborvitae is a rapidly growing evergreen tree with fine texture. Its conical, pyramidal shape is narrow to broad in form. Giant arborvitae grows 50 to 80 feet tall and 5 to 20 feet wide, creating a striking addition to the landscape. The dark green leaves on the giant arborvitae are marked with white spots on the underneath side. These tall evergreens retain their vibrant color all season long, including winter.

The erect cones on the giant arborvitae are small, growing just one-half inch inch wide. Giant arborvitae prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained moist soil. It also tolerates clay soil, which makes it an adaptable tree. The giant arborvitae is hardy to USDA Hardiness Zone 5 to 8.

Blue Atlas Cedar

The blue atlas cedar tree is a rapidly growing evergreen tree with medium to fine texture. The open shape is stiff when young, and matures to turn to a pyramidal flat-topped shape when mature. The blue atlas cedar retains its lower branches and grows between 60 to 100 feet wide and 40 feet wide. The blue atlas cedar tree has green to silverish blue needles that are narrow and spiraled. The needles grow up to 1 inch long and are thicker than most cedar trees. Blue atlas cedars have erect barrel-shaped cones that range from 2 to 3 inches long. This hardy evergreen prefers sun to partial shade and a wide range of soil types including clay, sandy and dry. It does not tolerate overly wet or poor drained soils. Blue atlas cedars are also drought tolerant. It thrives in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 to 9.

Balsam Fir

Balsam fir trees have a slow growth rate and medium texture. Its dense, pyramidal shape has 1-inch fragrant, dark green needles. Balsam fir trees grow between 40 and 70 feet high and 15 to 12 feet wide. The cones on the balsam fir tree grow up to 4 inches long and have a purplish color when young to turn to a grayish brown when mature. Balsam fir trees require sun to light shade and moist, well-drained soils. They do not tolerate heat and need to be protected from drying winds. The Balsalm fir is hardy to USDA Zones 3 to 6a.

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