Evergreen shrubs are shrubs that retain their foliage over the winter season and come in many forms from low groundcovers to spreading or globe-shaped to pyramidal or columnar. Some forms provide a nice backdrop for other plants like flowering shrubs, perennials and annuals. With trimming, you can create many unique ornamental forms such as spirals, pompons and tiered topiaries. These forms can be used as secondary focal points in a yard. There are also varieties that one can use for hedging that may require trimming to keep a more formal appearance.
The advantage to using evergreen shrubs is that they provide winter interest when everything else is looking barren. They also shelter birds and wildlife and taller varieties can provide privacy. The varying shades of greens, yellows and blues can provide beautiful contrasts.
Most evergreens prefer full sun to part sun, with the exception of yews and hemlock which can take part shade. Soil conditions depend on each plant.
Many evergreen shrubs will need regular pruning or trimming each year. Pyramidal junipers will need trimming to maintain the pyramidal form. Spreading junipers may need trimming to prevent them from spreading into other plants. Plants such as Fairview Yews are spreading, but can be shaped into globes or hedges. With an evergreen shrub, you never want to prune into old wood. It is best to trim just a few inches of new growth each year. Don’t wait several years to trim and then try to reduce the shrub by several feet. Plants will not fill in nicely to cover the old wood.
Fertilize each spring to keep vigorous and strong. Check watering throughout dry periods and even late into fall, if the season has been dry. Evergreens keep their foliage over winter and can windburn if there is not sufficient water present in the soil. Plants such as cedars are shallow rooted and will require more water.