Evergreen trees are often seen as low maintenance since they remain green year round and don't seem as prone to pests or diseases as other types of trees. While this is true to an extent, it's also important to remember that low maintenance doesn't mean no maintenance. The following tips will help you keep your evergreen trees healthy and looking good.
Tip #1: Water year around
In the summer months, evergreen trees usually get sufficient water from your regular lawn watering routine, as long as you water near the trees at least once a week. The issue is in winter, when most irrigation practices stop. If you have dry periods in winter – these are periods with no snow on the ground and temperatures above freezing – then you should water your evergreen trees lightly about once a month until there is a freeze or natural moisture again.
Tip #2: Protect from the cold
Some smaller evergreen trees and bushes are prone to cold and wind damage. This is because cold winter wind sucks the moisture from the needles or leaves, desiccating them. Prevent this by erecting a burlap windscreen on the windward side of the tree, or by wrapping the tree in burlap until the end of winter.
Tip #3: Avoid flat tops
When have a bushy evergreen tree trimmed, avoid the flat top. Snow and moisture will sit on top of the flat top, which can cause the tree to collapse or split. Instead, opt for a more pyramidal or cone shape. This way things slide off the top of the evergreen. Also, a wider base ensures that even the bottom part of the evergreen will receive sufficient sunlight.
Tip #4: Don't over-trim
Most evergreens only produce new growth from branch tips. If you cut a tree branch back beyond where there are visible needles or leaves, then you will end up with a permanent bald spot because the branches in this area are incapable of leafing back out. When trimming to shape, maintain a light hand and never cut back too far.
Tip #5: Know your timing
Most evergreens have two prime windows for trimming – in midsummer when they enter a semi-dormant phase with no new growth, or in late winter when they are fully dormant. An exception is if you are shaping evergreens severely, such as shearing; wait until late spring to do this. This is because the tree needs to be actively growing to heal over the many cuts generated during shearing so disease or pests don't take hold.
Contact a tree trimmer or tree care professional such as Johnson's Tree Service & Stump Grinding for more help.