During our long Northeast Ohio winters, it can seem like everything outside is hibernating. The trees have lost their leaves, the water is frozen over, and a blanket of snow covers everything.
That’s why it’s so helpful to remind ourselves of the things that are still alive, colorful, and vibrant during these gray winter months – like evergreen trees and shrubs. Not only do these trees and shrubs remind us that not everything is asleep all winter, but they have other benefits as well.
HOME FOR WILDLIFE
You may not see as much wildlife during the winter as you notice during the warmer summer months, but occasionally you might spot animal footprints in the snow, hear a birdsong, or catch a glimpse of a squirrel running up a tree.
Grey squirrels are known to build their nests near the top of evergreen trees, birds of all types (the non-migrating kind) will find shelter amongst the branches, and you might even spot some deer prints in the snow (a good reason to make sure that you have deer protection in place for your trees!).
Bird-watching experts will tell you that the trees not only provide a beautiful green backdrop during the snowy winter months, but they also attract different colors of birds. You might spot a blue jay or a robin, see the reddish white-winged crossbills searching for conifer cones, or notice the bright red of a cardinal brightening up your backyard.
Much like trees and their leaves provide shade and relief from the blazing summer sun, evergreen trees protect from harsh winter winds. They can also offer some sound proofing (up to 40%) and can act as an air pollution barrier, depending on the location and conditions. Because they keep their leaves or needles all year, evergreens also provide year-round privacy to your yard, and work as a natural fence.
ADD SOME COLOR
The color green is not only proven to produce a calming effect, but it is also shown to relieve eye strain. And some winter plants provide color of their own, such as bright red berries of holly and the blue of juniper. Certain types of holly, like winterberry, lose their leaves but leave bright, beautiful berries to bring a pop of color. As an added bonus, deer will generally steer clear of evergreen hollies.
SOME EVERGREENS TO TRY IN YOUR YARD
Here in Northeast Ohio, we have many evergreen shrubs and trees that can brighten the winter landscape, feed wildlife and/or provide protection.
Common evergreen conifers include shade-tolerant yews (Taxus), pine (Pinus), hemlock (Tsuga), northern white-cedar or arborvitae (Thuja), red-cedar or juniper (Juniperus), spruce (Picea) and fir (Abies). Some, such as yews and smaller junipers, are excellent foundation shrubs, while arborvitae can make a good privacy screen and Norway spruce can act as a good wind block. And don’t forget the many different types of holly (such as American holly and inkberry) for that extra pop of red or deep purple!
If you’d like specific evergreen suggestions for your yard, give us a call! We’ll even plant them for you.