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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - October 06, 2008

From: Rockville Centre, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Small native evergreen tree for Long Island, NY
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi, I am looking for an evergreen tree to plant on Long Island NY. I plan on planting it in my front yard. At maturity to about 10-15ft about 5 ft wide. Not sure about soil, the area gets good AM sun and a bit of PM sun. Thanks for your suggestions

ANSWER:

Okay, tough assignment. Most trees, evergreen or otherwise, will eventually get a lot taller than 10 to 15 ft. Most shrubs and trees in your USDA Hardiness Zone are going to be deciduous, except for the firs and pines. Most firs and pines get REALLY tall. And that's not a whole lot of sun. But never fear, Mr. Smarty Plants is here! We began with selecting shrubs that grow or can grow to the 10 to 15 ft. height, and are evergreen. Some of them are multi-trunk and should probably be allowed to grow that way. Some can be trained to be single-trunked, with the lower branches pruned off in the appropriate season (probably early Spring in New York). Some of the evergreen trees that we found can get much bigger than you want, but in cultivation usually don't get so large. And most of them grow pretty slowly, so maybe you could get used to the height, or move away before they become overwhelming.

When you think you have found some plants you are interested in, go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, type your town and state into the "Enter Search Location" box and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed companies and landscape consultants in your general area.

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush) - 6 to 12 ft. tall, occasionally taller

Morella pensylvanica (northern bayberry) - To 12 ft tall, persistent, if not completely evergreen, leaves

Ilex opaca (American holly) - to 25 ft. tall

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar) - to 30 ft. tall, taller in the wild

Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas-fir) - 15 to 150 ft.

Picea pungens (blue spruce) - 50 to 100 ft. in wild, usually shorter in cultivation Pictures

Thuja occidentalis (arborvitae) - can grow 40 to 60 ft. tall, but under cultivation probably no taller than 30 ft. Pictures.


Cephalanthus occidentalis

Morella pensylvanica

Ilex opaca

Juniperus virginiana

Pseudotsuga menziesii

 

 

 

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