How to Care for Evergreen Shrubs
Evergreen shrubs are highly sought after because they add year-round color and interest to the landscape. I mean, who doesn’t love a plant that livens up a dreary winter landscape? There are endless options when it comes to evergreens. There are broadleaf evergreens like boxwood, holly, nandina, ligustrum, wax myrtle, and euonymus. There are flowering evergreen shrubs like camellia, azalea, gardenia, loropetalum, and tea olives. These 2 groups will look the most like traditional deciduous shrubs, but without that pesky naked winter thing! Coniferous evergreens are the needled plants (although many of them actually have soft foliage). This group includes cypress, juniper, pine, cryptomeria, arborvitae, yew, and more. Most evergreen plants are easy to care for and are low or no maintenance once they are established. Read on to learn How to Care for Evergreen Shrubs.
Picking the Right Plant
Determine your hardiness growing zone before choosing your evergreen shrubs. Once you know your growing zone you are ready to get started. Each of our plants has zone recommendations. Simply go to the webpage of the plant you are interested in and the information is right there for you.
Soil for Evergreen Shrubs
Evergreen Shrubs tend to like acidic soil. They are the healthiest when grown in acidic soils because they can absorb nutrients better. If you have basic soil you can acidify your soil (lower the soil pH) by amending with elemental sulfur. For healthy soil that is neutral or only slightly basic, adding organic material, like manure, peat moss, or compost, may do the trick. Mulching with pine bark or pine mulch also helps to acidify the soil as it breaks down. Be sure to keep the soil moist with a deep watering a couple times per week for the first 2 to 3 months while your bushes are establishing.
When to Prune Evergreen Shrubs
Complete heavy pruning in early spring before new growth begins to emerge. Avoid removing flower buds on evergreen flowering shrubs by pruning shortly after they are done blooming. An easy method for maintaining evergreen hedges is to prune them yearly in late spring after new growth has emerged.
How to Prune Evergreen Shrubs
If your evergreen shrub is happy and growing well there is no need to prune it. If you have a hedge, simply shear your bushes to your liking. Avoid over-pruning by limiting yourself to removing no more than ⅓ of your plant at a time, ¼ is even better, especially if you aren’t sure how your plant tolerates pruning. Most fast growing shrubs tolerate severe pruning while slower growing shrubs should be treated a bit more delicately. Severely overgrown bushes can be pruned by the rejuvenation or renovation pruning method. This is either pruning the entire bush all the way back to the ground or removing ⅓ of the height and ⅓ of the oldest canes yearly for 3 years.