The Anatomy Of Evergreens

Coniferous trees stay green all year around because of their ability to preserve chlorophyll and photosynthesize quickly in the spring. Even when the trees and plants are no longer able to draw water from the soil as the temperatures grow colder, the small and wax-like coating – called cutin – makes it possible for the evergreen leaves to retain most of their moisture and stay green. Evergreen trees can survive in very little to no sunlight. The most common “leaf” on an evergreen tree are pine needles. The needles die and are replaced on a continual basis rather than by the season. 

One of the most popular evergreens in the Canadian wilderness is the pine tree. If you’re ever in a survival situation in the Canadian wilderness, it’s very handy to know that pine trees and the nuts in their pinecones are quite edible. Other conifers that are native to Canada include the cypress, hemlock, yew, juniper, cedar, and spruce. The biggest diversity of these conifers are located in the western provinces, especially British Columbia.

If you are looking for professional advice on taking care of your tree or trees, one of the first things you should know about evergreens is that it’s nice to water them on a regular basis during autumn. Even though conifers don’t require much water in general, that extra water supply serves as extra fuel during the winter. If you have just planted a conifer, make sure to water it on a regular basis right up until the winter kicks off. If you’re going to fertilize your evergreens, do so very lightly; a slow-release fertilizer or one designed specifically for evergreens are usually the most recommended. Evergreens are slow growers and often have difficulty absorbing nutrients in desert-like areas, and if your evergreen’s leaves are pale, that probably means that it’s lacking in nitrogen. 

In northern provinces, such as Manitoba and Alberta, coniferous trees are widespread specifically because their pine needles contain oils which essentially act as anti-freeze. Spruce trees tend to dominate Albertan forests, because they can photosynthesize and grow straight through the short window of growth in the spring. You may not realize this, but trees only have a few short weeks to grow each year, and if a tree needs to spend part of that time re-growing leaves leaves to receive the sunlight, it cuts into that crucial growth period. Thus, although coniferous trees are slow growers, they are steady, making use of the full growth window!


If/when, however, one or more of your trees becomes diseased, please do not attempt to remove it yourself! Without the proper equipment and experience, there are too many risks for falls, injuries, or even being electrocuted by power lines. Decaying wood usually degrades from the inside out and could fall at any moment. Worse, it doesn’t always fall in the direction that you’d expect it to. Contact an experienced tree removal service who is ISA certified. The International Society of Aboriculture requires that all of its members have at least three years of experience in the field of aboriculture before taking the exam.