Keeping Your Evergreen Trees Healthy

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If you have coniferous trees in your yard, you should know that these trees have different needs than deciduous trees that lose their leaves each fall. Sometimes, because people are unfamiliar with the care evergreen trees need, the trees can struggle to remain healthy.

Here's a guide to help you care for your evergreen trees.

Shape them while they are young.

One major difference between a conifer tree and a tree with broad leaves is the way they grow. When they are young, coniferous trees have whorls of branches that spiral their way up the trunk in a pattern that causes the branches to layer, which gives the tree's own foliage plenty of shade, even in bright sunlight. Once the tree is fully grown, these branch patterns cannot be altered, and the tree does not produce new branches like a deciduous tree might. 

In order to shape a coniferous tree in an attractive way, the branches can be encouraged to grow tightly and neatly in their spiraling pattern while the tree is still young. If you are worried about how your tree might look when it reaches a mature height, contact a tree trimming service about how to encourage the best possible foliage growth as your tree ages. 

Don't try to control their height.

One mistake that people make with pine, spruce, and fir trees is trying to control how tall they get. Before you plant these kinds of trees, make sure you understand how tall they become. There is almost no way of making a tree shorter, but people still try to make these smaller by cutting off the top of the tree. Coniferous trees have a very strong central leader that all the other branches attach to. It's the main highway for water and food distribution. When you cut it, the tree cannot heal the wound, and the leader is compromised. Cutting the top is almost always followed by infection, insect infestation, rot, and eventually death.

Never prune before or during dormancy.

Adult evergreen trees only need pruning to remove dead or diseased branches, but when you notice a dead branch, make sure it's the right time of year to remove it. Because evergreen trees are green year-round, people forget that they still have a dormant period that is similar to trees that lose their leaves. Coniferous trees will become dormant in the fall and wake up to a new season of growth in the spring.  Pruning directly before dormancy does not give the tree time enough to recover from the trauma, and pruning during dormancy will delay the healing the tree needs. The best time to prune your tree, if it needs pruning, is in the spring so that the tree has a long time to heal and develop new growth in the summer months.