As evergreen trees don’t shed their leaves at any point in the year, they can provide a welcome sense of life in the dead of winter when everything else seems to be waiting for spring.
Connecticut experiences cold winters and as such evergreen trees can provide some visual respite.
There are many reasons for planting evergreen trees, including as a privacy screen, as a windbreak, for shade, as a hedge, or purely for the aesthetic appreciation of its natural form.
11 Evergreen Trees To Grow In CT
The Atlantic White Cedar is a dense columnar evergreen tree with ascending branches. The young leaves are green/blue and needle-like, whilst mature leaves become more scale-like. The branch tips produce an abundance of small cones and the reddish/brown fibrous bark is intersected with flat ridges.
Due to its native growing area, the Atlantic White Cedar can be planted in moist areas with poor drainage, along streams, or by ponds. Plant in full sun to partial shade and protect from strong winds. The Atlantic White Cedar requires no pruning. Small reddish-yellow/green flowers appear in the early spring
Other Common Names: Atlantic White Cypress, White Cedar, White Cypress, Swamp Cedar, Southern White Cedar
Growing Zones: 3-8
Average Size at Maturity: 30-50 ft tall and 12-15 ft wide
Flowering Season: March – April
The Eastern Hemlock is a straight trunked pyramidal tree with pendulous limbs and short-needled, flowing branches. The needles are dark green with a silvery underside. The Eastern Hemlock features a conical crown made up of slim horizontal branches, which can often hang down to the ground, whilst the leader is thin and often curved.
The Eastern Hemlock can be trained into a hedge, planted as a specimen, or function as a shade tree. Tea can also be made from the young twigs and branches. Plant in shade to partial shade in cool moist soil.
Other Common Names: Hemlock Spruce, Canada Hemlock
Growing Zones: 3-7
Average Size at Maturity: 40-70 ft tall and 25-35 ft wide
Flowering Season: April
The Black Spruce is a narrow growing tree with very little spread. The needles are bluish green and have upturned branch tips on the end of the descending branches. The crown is irregular, open or conical and comprises of horizontal and drooping branches. At the timberline, it can be seen as a small shrub.
The Black Spruce is one of the most prominent conifers throughout North America. Heavy snows force the lower branches towards the ground where they take root, often forming a ring of trees around a parent plant. Grows best in wet/moist acidic soils.
Other Common Names: Bog Spruce, Swamp Spruce, Shortleaf Black Spruce
Growing Zones: 3-6
Average Size at Maturity: 15-50 ft tall and 15-30 ft wide
Flowering Season: June
4. English Yew (Taxus baccata)
The English Yew is a dioecious evergreen tree, usually with a pyramidal crown that becomes irregular with age. The bark is thin and scaly brown and the dark-green leaves are arranged spirally.
The cones are 3-6mm in diameter and shed pollen early in the spring. The seed cones feature a single seed covered by a soft and small red aril. The arils mature 6-9 months after pollination and are dispersed by birds.
The English Yew is native to Britain to Northern Iran, and Southern Scandinavia to Northern Africa, and is naturalized in the USA. Yews are heavily entwined in mythology and folklore and are considered to be a long-lived species with some specimens believed to be over 5000 years old. The English Yew can be distinguished from other conifers by the fact that it has red berries instead of cones.
The English Yew will grow best in shade and is often found as an understory tree. It’ll tolerate rocky and compacted soils, and will grow in most soil types provided they are well-draining.
Other Common Names: Common Yew, European Yew
Growing Zones: 5-7
Average Size at Maturity: 20-25 ft tall and 15-20 ft wide
Flowering Season: March to April
5. Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
The Eastern Red Cedar is an aromatic evergreen tree with a narrow compact columnar crown, sometimes broad and irregular with age. In youth, its form is pyramidal, whilst its mature form varies. The scale-like foliage is fragrant and ranges in color from grey-green, to blue-green to light or dark green.
All colors brown slightly in the winter months. The single trunk is covered by a silvery bark and pale blue fruit occurs on female plants.
The Eastern Red Cedar is resistant to extremes of heat and cold and is one of the most widely distributed eastern conifers. The Eastern Red Cedar is very adaptable when it comes to soil types but prefers dry limestone-type soils.
Other Common Names Red Cedar, Virginian Juniper, Eastern Juniper, Red Juniper
Growing Zones: 2-9
Average Size at Maturity: 30-40 ft tall and 6-8 ft wide
Flowering Season: Late winter/early spring
6. Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida)
The Pitch Pine has an irregular globular form with gnarled, often drooping branches. The bark is reddish-brown and scaly, eventually becoming black with age. The needles appear in clusters of 3 and are yellow/green, eventually turning dark green.
Needle clusters often appear on the trunk itself. Horizontal branches form a rounded, irregular crown of this medium-sized tree. Cones appear in groups of between 3 and 5.
The Pitch Pine is suitable for dry rocky soil where other species would struggle. It becomes broad and irregular when grown in exposed situations. Pitch Pines have been a useful species throughout the years, and have been cultivated for various useful properties of the tree.
Other Common Names: Black Pine, Hard Pine, Torch Pine, Yellow Pine, Northern Pitch Pine
Growing Zones: 4-7
Average Size at Maturity: 40-60 ft tall and 30-60 ft wide
Flowering Season: March-May
The Japanese Cedar is a fast-growing evergreen tree with blue/green summer foliage and bronze/purple/green leaves in the winter.
It features a loose pyramidal shape and is a vigorous grower that can also be used for hedging or a green screening to block out unwanted noises or views. The Japanese Cedar is typical in Japanese-style plantings and is suitable for those in CT who may like the look of the Leyland Cypress, but whose yard is too shady.
The Japanese Cedar will grow in many different soil types and doesn’t need any pruning unless you want to train it into a hedge or screen. The Japanese Cedar looks great planted as a specimen, as well as when planted in a group.
Other Common Names: Sugi, Japanese Redwood, Peacock Pine
Growing Zones: 6-9
Average Size at Maturity: 30-45 ft tall and 15-20 ft wide
Flowering Season: N/A
The Serbian Spruce is a beautiful evergreen with a regal, pyramidal form and arching branches. Often with a slim and slender single trunk, the Serbian Spruce brings a calming sense of symmetry to the landscape. The main branches are lined with pendulous secondary branches.
The needles are short and are dark green on the top and silvery on the underside, lending the branches a sense of dynamism when you catch a glimpse of them flickering in the wind.
The narrow and relatively compacted form of the Serbian Spruce means it can be used in areas where other conifers would be unsuitable. The cones start out purple and age to a delicate cinnamon tone. Be sure to protect from harsh winter winds.
Spruce trees make spectacular specimen plants and look equally as good planted in groups in landscapes with enough space to accommodate them.
Other Common Names: Pancic Spruce
Growing Zones: 4-7
Average Size at Maturity: 45-55 ft tall and 15-20 ft wide
Flowering Season: N/A
Available at: Nature Hills
9. European Fan Palm (Chamaerops humilis)
If you’re looking for an evergreen tree to add a different sort of accent to your CT yard, then consider the European Fan Palm. Palm trees can add a tropical sense of calm to just about any landscape. The European Fan Palm is cold hardy, and tolerant of a wide range of conditions, making it suited for the changeable climate of zone 7 areas of CT.
European Fan Palms are a species of palm that grow in clumps naturally but can be trained into single specimens by removing the basal suckers. Doing so will give you a taller, single tree. They are also suitable for container cultivation, and grow in partial shade, so can easily be brought indoors in areas with harsher winters.
Other Common Names: Mediterranean Fan Palm, Dwarf Palm, Mediterranean Dwarf Palm, Dwarf European Fan Palm, Palmetto, Palmito
Growing Zones: 7-11
Average Size at Maturity: 6-15 ft tall and 6-20 ft wide
Flowering Season: Spring
10. Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum)
The Rocky Mountain Juniper is a narrow, somewhat rounded evergreen that is often seen in the wild with several stems. The foliage on juvenile trees consists of pointed needles with a scale-like appearance and a bluish-green to green-grey color and dark berry-like cones. The cones are covered in a white bloom and mature in their second year. The bark can be either brown/reddish or gray and exfoliating.
The narrow crown of this type of Juniper features drooping foliage, whilst different varieties have varying foliage and shapes. The berry-like fruit is favored by wildlife. Favors dry and rocky sites without too much humidity. The Rocky Mountain Juniper serves as a host for apple cedar rust, so you may want to avoid planting one in close proximity to any apple trees.
Other Common Names: Rocky Mountain Red Cedar, Mountain Red Cedar, River Juniper, Colorado Red Cedar, Western Juniper, Western Red Cedar
Growing Zones: 3-7
Average Size at Maturity: 30-40 ft tall and 10-15 ft wide
Flowering Season: April – May
11. Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa)
Ponderosa Pines are fast-growing trees suitable for use as a windbreak or planted in groups for a privacy screen. They begin their life in a pyramidal shape, but mature to an irregular cylindrical shape. The broad to pyramidal crown flattens with age, as the lower branches are shed.
The bark on young trees is dark reddish-brown and matures to a brown/yellow russet color, with deep ridges and long scaly plates. The needles are dark green to yellow-green/ olive and usually occur in groups of 3.
Ponderosa Pines can be grown at high or low elevations, and can even tolerate salt. They prefer well-drained sandy loam, or clay loam. They’re extremely drought tolerant but can’t stand wet sites or poor-drained soils.
They can also be planted for reclamation projects and to prevent erosion due to their ability to grow on dry rocky, poor soil. The Ponderosa Pine features a deep taproot, making them difficult to transplant once established.
Other Common Names: Bull Pine, Western Yellow Pine, Blackjack Pine, Western Longleaf Pine
Growing Zones: 3-7
Average Size at Maturity: 40-70 ft tall and 25-30 ft wide
Flowering Season: May – June
Available at: Nature Hills
Evergreens can be planted to help ensure you get your year-round dose of green when you gaze out your window into your yard, even in the harsh winter months. Evergreens can also be planted as green screens, as windbreaks, to block out unsightly views or to dampen ambient noise.
Many species also require little in the way of maintenance, unless you want to grow a hedge. The majority of the state of Connecticut sits in hardiness zone 5 and offers homegrowers plenty of choice when it comes to deciding which evergreen to plant at home.
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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.