Alabama is a state that offers the home gardener a lot of options when it comes time to decide what to plant.
Whether you’re in the cooler northern reaches of the state or the warmer far south, there are a plethora of different evergreen trees to choose to plant in your yard.
People often want evergreen trees to provide privacy, and luckily AL provides many interesting options for the home gardener to choose from.
Let’s take a look at some evergreen trees for you to grow in Alabama’s hardiness zones.
6 Evergreen Trees To Grow In AL
The Leyland cypress is the most popular evergreen privacy tree in the US. It grows at a fast rate, giving you the privacy you want quickly.
Its rapid growth, and its uniform shape that requires little to no pruning to maintain makes it a popular option throughout the country. Unpruned, the Leyland cypress has an oval, pyramidal shape. Many people also choose to prune it into a hedge.
The Leyland cypress will grow well in a wide range of climates and soil types. It also makes a wonderful windbreak and remains an attractive color throughout the year.
Other Common Names: Leylandii
Growing Zones: 6-10
Average Size at Maturity: 60-70 ft tall and 15-25 ft wide
Flowering Season: ½ to ¾ inch cones made up of 8 scales
2. Dahoon (Ilex cassine)
The Dahoon is a small, single-trunked tree with an open, oval to pyramidal canopy. The leaves are alternate 2-3 inches long, dark and shiny, and are particularly resistant to pests and disease. The dahoon is dioecious, meaning male and female flowers are on different trees.
Spring sees a flourish of green/white flowers followed by a considerable amount of attractive small red berries on pollinated female trees.
The fruit ripens in fall and remains on the tree until winter if they’re not devoured by birds and small mammals beforehand. Both male and female trees are needed if you want to ensure the production of berries.
Full sun to partial shade suits the Dahoon best, as do average-to-moist soils. It can tolerate some drought and small amounts of salt spray, as well as urban pollution.
The Dahoon is a good choice if you’re looking for an easy to care for small-sized, native evergreen that provides interest throughout the seasons.
Other Common Names: Dahoon Holly, Cassena
Growing Zones: 7-11
Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 ft tall and 8-12 ft wide
Flowering Season: Spring
3. Yaupon (Ilex vomitoria)
The Yaupon is a small tree or dense evergreen shrub, with dark and lustrous leathery leaves with toothed margins. It’s dioecious, with male and female flowers on different trees.
Spring sees the appearance of greenish-white flowers, followed by dark red berries on pollinated female plants, which provide substantial visual interest. The berries ripen in the fall and remain on the tree throughout the winter or until eaten by birds and small mammals.
The Yaupon is a common plant in its growing range and is often trained into an evergreen shrub or screen. The leaves and twigs contain caffeine and used to be made into tea by Native Americans before it was ceremonially vomited up again, hence its botanical name Ilex vomitoria.
The Yaupon will grow in full sun or partial shade, and tolerates a wide range of soil conditions, from average to wet soil. It’ll also tolerate dry sites with acid to alkaline soil. You’ll need a male and female plant if you want the production of the attractive white berries.
Other Common Names: Yaupon Holly, Cassina
Growing Zones: 7-9
Average Size at Maturity: 10-20 ft tall and 8-12 ft wide
Flowering Season: April-May
Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees
4. Long Leaf Pine (Pinus palustris)
The longleaf pine is a tall and broad coniferous evergreen native to Alabama. It has a tall habit, with short, stout branches and an open irregular crown. The needles of the longleaf pine are 14”, the longest of any pine native to the northeastern states. They occur in bundles of three and are extremely flexible, and lend a weeping character to the tree.
The cones on the longleaf pine are also the longest, measuring between 6-10” and remain on the tree for several years. The large size of the longleaf pine will make it more suitable for those with big yards, or those wanting to add a wild element to their garden.
Longleaf pines remain in a small tuft-like grassy stage for their first 5-7 years whilst they’re developing their long taproot.
Once established, they require no irrigation and tolerate seasonal poor drainage. They grow best in full sun in acidic soils and are suited for coastal regions. They provide an appealing tall and airy canopy.
Other Common Names: Hill Pine, Hard Pine, Heart Pine, Pinus Australis, Longleaf Yellow Pine, Georgia, Southern Yellow Pine, Longstraw Pine
Growing Zones: 7-10
Average Size at Maturity: 80-100 ft tall and 30-40 ft wide
Flowering Season: March to April
Available at: Nature Hills
5. Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
Italian cypress are slim, slender, and stylish upright evergreen trees. They have an upright columnar shape and are often seen planted in formal gardens and grand homes. In their native Mediterranean, they’re an extremely popular landscaping choice. They have a rapid growth rate and can grow up to 3ft a year.
The dense, columnar crown of this tree and symmetrical shape has helped shape this evergreen’s popularity. In the right conditions, they are capable of reaching great heights of 115 ft tall, but usually only around reach half this height or less. The bark turns a striking white color when the tree matures.
Italian cypress requires full sun to grow and can tolerate sandy, clay, loamy, alkaline, or acidic soil.
Other Common Names: Mediterranean Cypress, Tuscan Cypress, Persian Cypress, Pencil Pine
Growing Zones: 8-10
Average Size at Maturity: 40-70 ft tall and 3-10 ft wide
Flowering Season: N/A
6. Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria Japonica)
The Japanese Cedar has the unusual combination of a densely packed habit with feather-like, wispy leaves. These trees look good as stand-alone specimens or grouped as a privacy screen. They’re also fast-growing, capable of 3-4 ft of growth a year. The Japanese cedar is tall, wider at the base, and tapers off towards the top.
The foliage is soft, provides a calming flowing effect in the wind, is densely packed together, and is also fragrant. The Japanese cedar can grow in a wide variety of soil types, even compacted clay.
It can be planted in either full sun or partial shade, and when established is quite drought tolerant. It also has the benefit of being pest-resistant and does exceptionally well with neglect.
Other Common Names: Japanese Cryptomeria
Growing Zones: 5–8
Average Size at Maturity: 50-70 ft tall and 20-30 ft wide
Flowering Season: N/A
Whether you’re new to the state, have moved home, or are just looking for a new evergreen tree to provide you with a dose of green throughout the year, Alabama’s climate offers you many options regarding what to plant.
The state’s mild winters mean you can plant species from many different areas to suit the size of your yard and your aesthetic preferences.
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Thomas worked for a number of years as the head of plant propagation for a horticultural contractor taking care of many different species of ornamental trees & shrubs. He learned how to propagate certain endangered endemic species and has a love of permaculture, sustainability and conscious living. When Thomas isn’t hiking in nature he can be found playing music, reading a book, or eating fruit under a tree.