Top 10

Best conifers

Birds & Blooms - - Contents -

1 Nor­way spruce

PICEA ABIES, ZONES 3 TO 8

This well-known spruce has a pyra­mi­dal shape with shiny dark green fo­liage. It prefers full sun and moist soil, but it does tol­er­ate most gar­den soils. The aptly named weep­ing va­ri­ety adds a rus­tic, or­ganic el­e­ment when draped over fences or walls, or when grown in a rock gar­den.

Why we love it:

For years, Nor­way spruce has been a fa­vorite tree for large land­scapes. But now many dwarf va­ri­eties are avail­able, and they’re per­fect for smaller-scale home gar­dens.

2 Com­mon ju­niper

JUNIPERUS COMMUNIS, ZONES 2 TO 6

If you’re in the mar­ket for a small-space ev­er­green, look no fur­ther than the dwarf va­ri­eties of com­mon ju­niper. They need full sun, ad­just to poor soil and re­quire min­i­mal main­te­nance once they are es­tab­lished. Some mem­bers of this species max out around 15 feet high.

Why we love it: Com­mon ju­niper serves as a se­cure roost­ing and nest­ing site for many bird species. Fruit-eat­ing fliers like waxwings en­joy the berry­like cones in fall.

3 Bald cy­press

TAXODIUM DISTICHUM, ZONES 4 TO 11

You’re likely to find large va­ri­eties of this tree (which is de­cid­u­ous but bears cones) in the swamps of the east­ern U.S. It needs full sun and acidic soil to thrive, grow­ing best in moist, deep soil with good drainage. Slow-grow­ing species in­clude Se­crest, which reaches just 6 feet.

Why we love it: If you’ve got a soggy spot that col­lects wa­ter, this mois­ture-lover is the tree for you.

4 Mugo pine

PINUS MUGO, ZONES 2 TO 7

The mugo pine prefers full sun and cool sum­mer cli­mates but is one of the most cold-hardy conifers avail­able. It also adapts well to many con­di­tions and tol­er­ates wind and drought.

Why we love it: Mugo pine is ideal for foun­da­tion plant­ings or other small ar­eas around a home gar­den. Main­tain its com­pact habit with a lit­tle bit of an­nual late-win­ter prun­ing.

When you think of a conifer, that pic­turesque Christ­mas tree shape prob­a­bly comes to mind. How­ever, these pop­u­lar trees ac­tu­ally come in about 10 in­ter­est­ing shapes—from weep­ing to spread­ing to mound­ing.

5 Colorado spruce

PICEA PUNGENS,

ZONES 3 TO 7

Adapt­able and some­what drought-tol­er­ant, use this spruce as a spec­i­men plant, pri­vacy screen or shade tree. Reach­ing 50 feet, the sun-lov­ing con­i­cal conifer fea­tures densely packed branches full of green or bluish nee­dles. Re­search disease prob­lems be­fore you buy. Why we love it:

Birds love the tree’s thick branches and the prickly nee­dles that of­fer shel­ter, whether it’s from stormy weather or preda­tors.

6 Scotch pine

PINUS SYLVESTRIS,

ZONES 3 TO 7

Na­tive to the Bri­tish Isles, the Scotch pine has be­come nat­u­ral­ized in parts of north­ern North Amer­ica. This con­i­cal, long-nee­dled tree usu­ally reaches about 40 feet tall in ur­ban con­di­tions. It prefers acidic soil but adapts to other soil types if they are well-drain­ing. Dwarf va­ri­eties of this ev­er­green are avail­able.

Why we love it: Scotch pine is fast-grow­ing and fea­tures unique or­ange or red­dish brown bark.

7 East­ern white pine

PINUS STROBUS, ZONES 3 TO 7

With long, deep green nee­dles and a quick grow­ing habit, white pines are a solid choice for most yards, par­tic­u­larly sunny ones. This clas­sic conifer reaches 50 to 80 feet tall, so its ver­dant sil­hou­ette is sure to be no­ticed in win­ter. Prune it into a hedge or give it room to grow into an el­e­gant spec­i­men.

Why we love it: Deep branches are hos­pitable to birds dur­ing harsh weather, and the cones are a go-to food source for nuthatches and other seedeaters.

8 Canada hem­lock

TSUGA CANADENSIS, ZONES 3 TO 7

A densely branched 70-foot sil­hou­ette and soft nee­dles give the Canada, or east­ern, hem­lock a grace­ful look. It’s a slow grower, tol­er­ates shade and is most suc­cess­ful in moist con­di­tions. Give it shel­ter from win­ter sun and wind. Once mature, after a cou­ple of decades, shade-tol­er­ant Canada hem­lock be­gins to pro­duce small brown cones.

Why we love it: It makes a good hedge, es­pe­cially when it’s young.

Pur­chase trees from rep­utable lo­cal nurs­eries and grow­ers who carry the plants best suited to your grow­ing zone. Be­fore you buy, con­sider the tree’s light needs and mature size—you don’t want to have to move it later.

9 Hi­noki false cy­press

CHAMAECYPARIS OBTUSA, ZONES 5 TO 8

For unique form and tex­ture, this false cy­press is a top choice. It has fan- or shell-shaped golden-green fo­liage and in­ter­est­ing bark. Smallspace gar­den­ers should look for the slow-grow­ing cul­ti­vars like Min­ima, golden Nana Aurea, Gra­ciosa and green Nana Gra­cilis. Nurs­ery-grown cul­ti­vars are shorter than 10 feet tall. Most of the false cy­press tol­er­ate full sun to par­tial shade and pre­fer moist soil that drains well.

Why we love it:

Tightly packed, swirly fo­liage makes hi­noki false cy­press an ab­so­lute rock star, es­pe­cially in the win­ter.

10 Ori­en­tal spruce

PICEA ORIENTALIS,

ZONES 4 TO 7

A unique al­ter­na­tive to the ever-pop­u­lar Nor­way spruce, ori­en­tal spruce boasts short nee­dles that are glossy dark green and soft to the touch. The droop­ing branches grow hor­i­zon­tally, giv­ing the tree a clas­sic pyra­mi­dal shape. While you might have to pro­tect it a bit in win­ter, it tol­er­ates some shade and drought.

Why we love it:

Look for dwarf types of this ev­er­green to thrive in small home gar­dens. It main­tains its dark green color bet­ter than many spruces. Birds and other wildlife rely on this spruce for win­ter cover.

1

3

2

4

7

6

5

Dainty Doll hi­noki false cy­press 9

10

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.