Ask an Arborist: Five Tips to Keep Your Evergreen Forever Green

If there’s one thing we’re known for in the Evergreen State, it’s, well, the Evergreens. The vibrant and lush varietals of spruce, hemlock, fir, pine, and cedar keep our landscape looking like wooded wonderland all year long. But what if the green giant in your yard starts to lack luster?

We asked our arborist, district manager Rick Castro of the Davey Tree in Redmond, for tips and tricks to keep an Evergreen looking happy and healthy all year long. Here is his advice:

A little browning of leaves is normal, however Evergreens don’t brown with the change of the season, so too much could mean your tree is dehydrated. Courtesy of the Davey Tree

  1. Don’t panic. A little browning is natural. “At this time of year, cedars tend to shed interior foliage, so you may see some browning of needles,” Castro said. However, if your firs and hemlocks are turning brown, you may have an issue. These species don’t usually brown with the change of the season and may require some TLC.
  2. Make sure any dead branches are removed. Not only does this keep your tree healthy, making it more resistant to diseases and insects, but it’s helpful from a safety standpoint as well, ensuring you don’t have falling branches if you’re hit with heavy winter storms.
  3. Stay hydrated. “This piece of advice may sound odd since we have so much rain,” Castro said, “but give them a good soaking if we’re hit with a dry spell.” Dehydration can lead to unhealthy amounts of browning, so Castro suggests giving them a little extra water if the rain lets up.
  4. Maintain proper fertilizing. Evergreen trees have to compete with lawns and other plants. Regular irrigation and fertilization will ensure that they don’t fall by the wayside when contending with the rest of the garden.
  5. Have an arborist come out annually. “We’re happy to come check your Evergreen out and make observations and recommendations,” Castro said. “It’s a lot easier to keep the trees healthy than help them get well if they get stressed, so anything you can do to help them maintain that vigor is beneficial.”
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