The sizes and type of foliage differs on the evergreen trees native to North America, but almost all are appropriate for some type of landscaping job. Small and medium-sized broadleaved evergreens function as specimen plants, screens and hedges, while the taller, needled evergreens are suitable shade and lawn trees. Capable of growing in cold and warm climates, these evergreens have an assortment of features that prove to be assets for the landscaper.
Colorado Blue Spruce
The Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens) makes an attractive specimen tree and serves as a shade tree, with some able to grow to 120 feet. Native to states such as Colorado and Utah, this tree can handle the climatic conditions from U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 7. This allows it to be an ornamental species in many regions across the continent, where people appreciate its bluish-green needles. Plant this tree in damp, acidic areas of your property in the full sun. Ask for blue spruce at nurseries, advises the Ohio Department of Natural Resources; it is a common and popular landscaping tree.
Consider that a live oak (Quercus virginiana) can expand to widths of as much as 100 feet before choosing a site for this southern broadleaved evergreen tree. Live oaks will grow to 60 feet, but their massive branches can spread out in many directions, making it necessary to employ this species in wide-open areas, including parks and large landscapes. Live oak foliage has smooth borders and the leaves are shiny and leathery in texture. The tree will not survive north of USDA zone 8. Plant live oak in full sun locations. Its acorns develop to maturity in a single growing season and are a large part of the diet of many mammals and birds.
Used extensively to reforest cutover areas of woodlands, the red pine's (Pinus resinosa) range is greater now than in colonial times. The tree grows from USDA zone 2 through 5, with most concentrated in the Northeast and around the Great Lakes. Red pine's bark is an appealing aspect of this evergreen needled tree, with colours such as orange, grey, red and brown combining to make it attractive. Use red pine in places where the ground has a low pH level, is gravely and loose and typically stays dry. Red pine will not tolerate exposure to windy sites or salt.
Known to tolerate urban conditions and poor quality soils, the white fir (Abies concolor) adds evergreen colour to your landscape with its blue-green needles. White fir grows in the high elevations of many western states, including California, Colorado and Utah, able to survive in the frigid temperatures associated with USDA zone 3 winters. White fir is easy to transplant, according to the University of Connecticut Plant Database and the species is fitting for use as a specimen tree. Cultivars of this evergreen include Violacea, renowned for its silver-blue needle colour.
- University of Connecticut Plant Database: Picea Pungens
- Ohio Department of Natural Resources: Colorado Blue Spruce
- Ohio Department of Natural Resources: Red Pine
- University of Connecticut Plant Database: Pinus Resinosa
- University of Connecticut Plant Database: Abies Concolor
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Quercus Virginiana
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images