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Coniferous Evergreen Shrubs and Trees


Coniferous Evergreen Shrubs and TreesBy "evergreen" we mean coniferous trees with persistent leaves, as pines, spruces, firs, cedars, junipers, retinosporas, and the like. They have always been favorites with garden lovers, as they have very distinctive forms and other characteristics. Many of them are of the easiest culture.

It is a common believe that, since spruces and other conifers grow so symmetrically, they will not stand pruning; but this is not true. They may be pruned with as good effect as other trees, and if they tend to grow too tall, the leader may be stopped without fear. A new leader will arise, but in the meantime the upward growth of the tree will be somewhat checked, and the effect will be to make the tree dense. The tips of the branches may also be headed in with the same effect. After the tree attains some age, four or five inches may be taken off the ends of the main branches every year or two (in spring before growth begins) with good results. This slight trimming is ordinarily done with Waters's long−handled pruning shears.

There is much difference of opinion as to the proper time for the transplanting of evergreens, which means that there is more than one season in which they may be moved. It is ordinarily unsafe to transplant them in the fall in northern climates or bleak situations, since the evaporation from the foliage during the winter is likely to injure the plant. The best results are usually secured in spring or summer planting. In spring they may be moved rather late, just as new growth is beginning.

Some gardeners also plant them in August or early September, as the roots secure a hold on the soil before winter.

In transplanting conifers, it is very important that the roots be not exposed to the sun. They should be moistened and covered with burlaps or other material. The holes should be ready to receive them. If the trees are large, or if it has been necessary to trim in the roots, the top should be cut when the tree is set.

Large evergreens (those ten feet and more high) are usually best transplanted late in winter, at a time when a large ball of earth may be moved with them. A trench is dug around the tree, it being deepened a little day by day so that the frost can work into the earth and hold it in shape.

Perhaps the handsomest of all the native conifers of the north eastern U.S.A. is the ordinary hemlock, or hemlock spruce (the one so much used for lumber); but it is usually difficult to move. Transplanted trees from nurseries are usually safest.

For neat and compact effects near porches and along walks, the dwarf retinosporas conifers are very useful. Most of the pines and spruces are too coarse for planting very close to the residence. They are better at some distance removed, where they serve as a background to other planting. If they are wanted for individual specimens, they should be given plenty of room, so that the limbs will not be crowded and the tree become misshapen. Whatever else is done to the

spruces and firs, the lower limbs should not be trimmed up, at least not until the tree has become so old that the lowest branches die. Some species hold their branches much longer than others. The oriental spruce (Picea orientalis) is one of the best in this respect. The occasional slight heading−in, that has been mentioned, will tend to preserve the lower limbs, and it will not be marked enough to alter the form of the tree.

The number of great coniferous evergreens now offered is large. They are slow of growth and require much room if good specimens are to be obtained; but if the space can be had and the proper exposure secured, no trees add greater dignity and distinction to an estate.

The following list contains the most usual of the shrubby coniferous evergreens:

Japanese arborvitae or retinospora, Chamoecyparis of various species.

Retinosporas under names as follows: Cupressus ericoides, two feet, with fine soft delicate green foliage that assumes a purplish tinge in winter; Cupressus pisifera, one of the best, with a pendulous habit and bright green foliage; Cupressus pisifera, with drooping branches and thread−like pendulous branches; Cupressus pisifera.

Juniper, Juniperus communis and garden varieties. The juniper is a partially trailing plant, of loose habit, suitable for banks and rocky places. There are upright and very formal varieties of it.

Dwarf Norway spruce, Picea excelsa, dwarf forms. Several very dwarf sorts of the Norway spruce are in cultivation, some of which are to be recommended.

Dwarf pine, Pinus montana, Pinus montana, There are other desirable dwarf pines. Wild yew, Taxus Canadensis. Common in woods; a wide−spreading plant known as "ground hemlock"; White Pine, Pinus Strobus. The best native species for general planting; retains its bright green color in winter.

Austrian pine, Pinus Austriaca. Hardy, coarse, and rugged; suitable only for large areas; foliage very dark. Scotch pine, Pinus sylvestris. Not so coarse as Austrian pine, with a lighter and bluer foliage. Red pine, Pinus resinosa. Valuable in groups and belts; usually called "Norway pine"; rather heavy in expression.