As the name suggests, an evergreen tree is one that stays green throughout the year. It doesn’t lose its leaves during the colder months as deciduous trees do—it has leaves (that are green!) throughout the year. Because of this, evergreen trees are a popular choice for many when they choose which trees they want to plant in their yard. Your yard will always have beautiful color, you won’t have to worry about cleaning up dropping leaves come fall, and with most evergreen trees, you’ll have a fragrant yard too.
When it comes to planting trees, it’s important to know which types of trees will work well in the environment that you live in. For instance, even though the Pacific Northwest is known for being a lush and rainy region, the summers can be very hot and dry. Because of this, it’s important to plant heat-tolerant trees, including evergreen trees, in your yard. You want trees that will grow their healthiest in your yard, which is why choosing evergreen trees native to Oregon for your yard is a good idea.
Which trees are these? Well, we’re here to help you answer that question. Here are some native evergreen trees for Oregon yards.
Did you know that the Douglas fir is the official state tree of Oregon? It is! And it’s the most common tree found in Oregon too. The name of this tree comes from David Douglas, a Scottish botanist who worked to identify different plants in Oregon during the nineteenth century.
These trees are both fragrant and have a beautiful conical shape. The needles are flat and soft; however, they do have blunt tips. They grow to about 40 to 70 feet at full height, spanning a width of 12 to 20 feet. Their height increases about 13 to 24 inches per year. Douglas fir trees need both full sun and partial shade in order to reach this maturity, with a minimum of four hours in direct sunlight daily. Acidic or neutral well-drained soil is what they should be planted in. They’re extremely sensitive to drought.
Similar to the Douglas fir is the grand fir, also native to Oregon. These trees are taller, often growing to heights of 150 to 200 feet tall and widths of up to 40 feet. They have a narrow shape with upright or horizontal branching. They also have needles that are flat but blunt.
A variety of soils can support these trees; however, rich soils are where they truly flourish. They do prefer drier climates, as compared to other true firs. Grand firs can also grow well in full sun, part shade, and full shade.
The ponderosa pine is also known as the blackjack, yellow, western yellow, or bull pine. It’s a tall, straight tree with a yellowish to red-brown trunk and is one of the most recognizable trees you will see in Oregon. When mature, these trees can grow to a height of 60 to 100 feet tall and can spread as wide as 25 to 30 feet. However, they don’t grow too quickly, as their height only increases 13 to 24 inches per year.
To grow at its healthiest, these trees should get at least six hours of direct sunlight every day. It can adapt to various soil conditions at both low and high elevations. These trees are very drought-tolerant once they’ve established themselves. However, they aren’t tolerant of areas that are poorly drained or extremely wet.
Western Red Cedar
Also known as the Thuja plicata, the western red cedar serves as both an ornamental and timber evergreen. They grow in a pyramid shape and can reach about 80 to 90 feet tall and about 30 feet wide. The outer bark of these trees is quite thin and tends to be gray-red in color.
To reach maturity, these trees need a mix of sun and shade. They should be planted in soil that’s moist.
What distinguishes the Pacific madrone from other trees are the smoothness of its trunk, the orange-red coloring of its bark, and the white flowers and red berries that grow on it. It is a broadleaved evergreen tree that will bring more to your yard than other evergreen trees can.
These trees can grow to a height of 80 to 125 feet tall and a width of about 30 feet. They can tolerate warm and dry conditions much better than other native evergreen Oregon trees. It’s very drought-tolerant and extracts water from surrounding rocks or soil on its own. On the flip side, Pacific madrone trees are sensitive to snow and cold conditions.
The western hemlock may be the state tree of Washington, but it’s native to Oregon as well. These evergreen trees have branches that sweep down and have feathery foliage. They aren’t as tall as other evergreen trees, growing to only 80 feet at maturity, with a width of 20 feet, which makes it a great choice for most yards.
Finding a place to plant these trees is fairly easy, as they can grow well in areas of full sun to full shade. They should be in moist, well-drained soil.
As you can see, there are many native evergreen trees in Oregon. Which one is right for your yard? Be conscious of the size of your yard, how tall the tree you choose will grow at maturity, and the width it will span. Once you have this figured out, choosing which of the above trees you want to plant should be easier. If you’re still not sure, a professional arborist like Vernon Imel is here to help. Contact us at any time, and we can take a look at your yard and provide you with guidance as to which native evergreen tree will work best in your Oregon yard.