How to Care for Evergreen Shrubs


Evergreens add year-round interest and beauty to both country and urban landscapes. Drought tolerant, disease resistant and adaptable to many soil conditions, evergreens flourish in United States Hardiness Zones 2 through 9.

Often referred to as green, evergreens actually come in many shades of yellow-green, brownish green and blue shades. They are attractive as specimen plantings, in hedges or as foundation plantings.

Hardy evergreens will thrive with adequate light, water and just a little tender loving care.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Garden gloves
  • Organic compost
  • Organic mulch
  • Bone meal
  • Pruning shears
  • Pine bark or decorative rock chips
  • Test the soil. Take a sample to your local county extension office or landscape center to test the soil's nutrient content. Soil lacking in iron will benefit from an application of bone meal. Sprinkle bone meal around the base of the tree, following label instructions.

  • Prune dead branches to retain shape and conformity. Dead branches leach nutrients from the tree and are unattractive. Use well-sharpened pruning shears to make clean cuts.

    Evergreen shrubs and trees come in a variety of shapes: round, columnar, pyramidal, vase, weeping, upright and prostrate. Choose varieties that naturally grow to the height and shape you desire.

  • Water regularly. Although drought tolerant, evergreens will flourish in moist, well-drained soil. Soak the base of tree during periods of extended drought.

  • Fertilize the soil. Spread a 3 to 4 inch layer of organic compost around the bottom of the tree. Cover with a 2 to 4 inch layer of organic mulch. Straw, aged non-treated sawdust, shredded newspaper or torn strips of cardboard can be used. The compost will slowly decompose to add nutrients to the soil.

  • Top dress the mulch layer with a 2 to 4 inch layer of pine bark or decorative rock chips to retain moisture and control weeds.

  • Protect evergreen shrubs from ice buildup and fierce winter winds by mulching in winter. Evergreens grow best if located on protected north or east exposures.

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