Choosing the right Evergreen
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Evergreen Screens

With winter approaching it brings evergreen screening to mind.

What do you do when you want to block a view or create a year-round border?  You plant an evergreen screen with a single or even two staggered rows.  Here are 3 of the best choices and why:

Green Giant Arborvitae

Where space is not an issue, this is a great choice because it gets big in a hurry.  Provided with adequate moisture and fertile soil you can expect to see it grow 2-3 feet per year.  It has attractive dark green color and thick lacy foliage.  The shape is pyramidal and it stays dense to the base when other types can get bare.  Usually avoided by deer but may occasionally get spider mites which are easily controlled.  Plants do best in full sun but can actually tolerate a bit of shade.  Sometimes they may have more than one trunk but they still stand up to snow where others split apart.  Installation should be no less than 10 feet apart (trunk to trunk) for long-term success.

Emerald Green Arborvitae

When space is limited you will need a narrow, columnar plant.  This very cold hardy cultivar was actually introduced from Denmark and has stood the test of time as the best selection.  Dense and full to the base with an amazing rich green color that just looks healthy!  Very cold hardy but can suffer from droughts so you need to pay attention to watering during summer months.  Periods of most soil are fine but soggy soil is to be avoided.  It needs full sun and protection from deer in winter or it will be devoured.  Fairly slow growing, you can expect to see up to 6 inches per year in optimal conditions.  Growing only 4 feet wide, you can space them at that width for an instant hedge.
Norway Spruce

Another option where space is not a concern is the Norway Spruce, although not native, its long list of attributes earn it a top position. It does not regularly escape cultivation and is extremely easy to grow tolerating any soil type and even moisture too.  Its tough and hardy and makes an excellent wind-screen.  Growing 2-3 feet in optimal conditions it will maintain a Christmas tree shape for many many years.  Eventually becoming a massive tree, you will want to give it 20 feet or more of spacing.  The needles are bright green and have a glossy shine to them.  Not fussy about soil types and drought tough after establishment, a Norway is one of the longest living screening choices.  Many other spruces, pine and fir suffer from insect and disease problems.
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