Rocking the Boat in a Sea of Green
Written by: Nathan Schuettpelz, Certified Arborist Municipal Specialist WI-0887AM
Evergreens (trees that maintain green foliage year-round) are commonly planted trees throughout our Wisconsin landscapes. They are an excellent choice for your property, providing stunning specimen features, borders that block wind and sightlines between you and neighboring properties, and habitat for a lot of wildlife. Unfortunately, just as prevalent as our evergreens are the presence of fungal diseases that affect their health and result in unsightly landscapes. The susceptibility of an evergreen to disease is a result of not only the species but also the growing conditions inflicted upon trees within our landscape.
Evergreens that will thrive and be vibrant within your landscape require full-sun and well drained soil. You can achieve this with a detailed planting plan. It is important to assess your site and determine the existing soils and soil pH, as well as compaction. If evergreens are planted in landscapes of recently graded clay soils that drain poorly, (prevalent here in Southeast Wisconsin) they will suffer throughout their lifetime. Also, if a screen of evergreens is planted too closely together they will eventually overgrow and shade out the existing lower canopy, reducing the quality of screening.
I would like to briefly introduce a short list of some diverse evergreen planting options to hopefully inspire you to think outside the box when it comes to planning improvements to your landscape. The following provide options for criteria such as unique plant specimens, pest resistant evergreen species, and small stature trees ideal for screening. As always, involve our Arborists early on in the planning process to ensure your landscape will thrive into the future!
- Picea omorika ‘Nana’
Growth habit: 50’-60’ Tall, 20’-25’ wide
Pro’s- Tolerates high pH soils.
- Picea orientalis “Atrovirens’
Growth habit: 50’-60’ tall, 10’-15’ wide
Pro’s- Tolerates infertile, clay soils.
- Metasequoia glyptostroboides
Zone 5-8 (South WI is northern range)
Growth habit: 70’-100’ tall, 25’wide
Pro’s- Unique, sparsely distributed across Southern Wisconsin landscape.
- Chamaecyparis pisifera
Growth habit: Varies with many varieties
Pro’s- Unique growth habits and colors vary by the selection of variety. “Stands out” in a landscape.
- Pinus cembra
Swiss stone pine
Growth habit: 30’-40’ tall, 15-25’ wide
Pro’s-Unique specimen, low maintenance.
- Picea abies
Growth habit: 40’-60’ tall, 10’-20’ wide
Pro’s- Native, more tolerant of fungal diseases.
- Thuja occidentalis ‘Hetz Wintergreen’
Hardiness to Zone 3
Growth habit: Narrow pyramid, up to 15’ tall
Pro’s- Strong central lead withstands snow loading.
- Juniper chinensis
Growth habit: Varies
Pro’s-disease resistant, many varieties to fit many landscapes, beautiful “feathered” growth.