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Cannon: Use evergreens to spruce up dreary winter landscape
A common question asked of the Hall County Extension office, brought to you by Wanda Cannon
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How can I make my winter landscape less dreary?

In the fall, many trees in Georgia put on a show of color before dropping their leaves, but not the evergreens. These trees provide beauty and style when properly placed in a yard.

Think about what our landscapes would look like in winter if there were no evergreens.

While other plants rest and rebuild their energy for the coming spring, evergreens hold their foliage through all four seasons, which can help boost spirits during the dreary winter days.

They also help the wildlife by supplying food, plus shelter from enemies and harsh weather. Evergreens can handle the stress of cold temperatures and short growing seasons. Their trunks are filled with a concentrated "antifreeze" of sap and are insulated by extra thick bark.

Evergreens come in different shapes, sizes, colors and foliage types. Make sure you select one with some forethought. How big will it get? Is the soil and climate right for a particular type? Always purchase an evergreen with a well-established root system.

Some evergreens for the North Georgia area are American holly, loblolly pine, Eastern red cedar, bald cypress and Eastern hemlock. Specimen trees include the deodar cedar and cryptomeria tree, with their soft, feathery needles.

Evergreen accent plants are a also way to add color and contrast to your landscape. Look for blue foliage on different types of junipers and cypresses.

Evergreen privacy hedges are easily planted with a narrow variety like the Thuja green giant or emerald green. Arborvitaes and holly trees are also excellent choices.

Consider purchasing a live Christmas tree to plant after the holidays. Just remember a live tree should not be kept inside more than two weeks; a 6-foot and smaller tree will work more efficiently. Some lives trees for planting could be a Virginia or white pine, Leyland cypress or a Carolina hemlock. Fir and spruce will have difficulty surviving here.

Wanda Cannon is a Master Gardener trained through the Hall County program and also serves as Master Gardener coordinator and horticulture assistant for the Hall County Extension office. Phone: 770-535-8293.

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