8 Excellent Evergreen Trees That Will Thrive in USDA Zone 7

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Written By Shannon Campbell

Off-Grid Gardener & Food Forager

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Home » USDA Zone 7 » 8 Excellent Evergreen Trees That Will Thrive in USDA Zone 7

No matter where you live in the US, evergreen trees are a necessary part of landscaping gardening. Without their year-round foliage, your property runs the risk of looking bare and colorless in late fall and winter.

Fortunately in USDA hardiness zone 7, with its distinct seasons and 7-month growing period, there are plenty of evergreens suitable to this zone’s temperature range.

With the right care and growing environment, these trees will maintain their shape and color month in and month out.

These eight species are some of the best evergreen trees for zone 7 landscapes.

8 Gorgeous Evergreens For Zone 7

1. Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea)

Balsam Fir
Image by Doug McGrady via Flickr

Add some evergreen architecture to your garden with the balsam fir, a conifer with one of the widest growing ranges in North America. The balsam fir has a lot of aesthetic potential in landscape gardening, with its naturally symmetrical pyramidal growth habit that takes on a spire-like form in maturity.

Its short, dense needles are bluish-green with a white tint, which combined with its towering form will provide structure and color to your property all year round.

The needles of the balsam fir also release a pleasant aroma when crushed, and its seeds and buds are an important source of food for local wildlife. This fir makes a lovely specimen tree for zone 7 gardeners, and can also be used as a Christmas tree, shade tree, or in woodland planting.

Balsam firs have a few requirements for planting – namely moist, acidic, well-draining soil that is sandy or loamy, and exposure to full or partial sunlight.

Other Common Names: Canada Balsam, Balm Fir, Balm of Gilead

Growing Zones: 3-7

Average Size at Maturity: 50-75 feet tall, with a 20-35 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Early Fall

Available at: Nature Hills

2. Japanese Umbrella Pine (Sciadopitys verticillata)

Japanese Umbrella Pine
Image by Carl Lewis via Flickr

The Japanese umbrella pine is so singular that it is the only member of its genus, Sciadopitys, (which means ‘umbrella’). It is not a true pine, but its splayed needles and often conical growth habit means it is often seen as and sold as a pine tree.

It can also grow in a more pendulous or rounded shape and as a single or multi-trunked tree, depending on how you choose to prune or train it.

These trees have a highly unique appearance, with thick bunched needles that appear to look somewhat like plastic. While this can add significant visual interest to the landscape, particularly in winter, it doesn’t suit everyone’s tastes.

However, gardeners who enjoy its looks will be rewarded with a fine specimen plant, container plant, or foundation planting that can even be used as a bonsai tree.

Plant in rich, moist, well-draining soil with a slightly acidic pH in full sun.

Other Common Names: Parasol Fir, Parasol Pine, Umbrella Pine

Growing Zones: 5-8

Average Size at Maturity: 25-30 feet tall, with a 15-20 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees

3. Tea Olive Tree (Osmanthus fragrans)

Tea Olive Tree
Image by Ventilago via Flickr

Scent may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to landscape gardening, but the tea olive may change your mind! Not only is this evergreen shrub useful and attractive as a landscaping plant, but its delicate white flowers will fill your backyard with a lovely apricot fragrance. It even flowers twice – first through spring and again in sporadic bursts in fall.

The tea olive has a graceful, upright growing habit and can be pruned into a small tree or a hedge depending on how you want to use it. Its dense, glossy foliage provides color and covers through fall and winter, and though it is most popularly used as a hedge or screen it also makes an excellent accent tree, patio tree, and container plant.

This shrub is somewhat slow-growing, but will grow faster in the right conditions: though highly adaptable it will ideally be planted in moist, slightly acidic, well-draining soil in a spot with full to partial sun exposure.

Other Common Names: Tea Olive, Fragrant Tea Olive, Sweet Osmanthus

Growing Zones: 7-11

Average Size at Maturity: 10-20 feet tall, with a 10-14 foot spread

Flowering Season: Spring, and sporadically in Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

4. Sky Pencil Holly (Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’)

Sky Pencil Holly
Image via Nature Hills

Looking for a unique touch to add to your garden? Consider the sky pencil holly, an interesting holly cultivar hailing from Japan and East Asia. It is defined by its highly distinctive growing habit – it has a very dense and narrow form and typically reaches around 8 feet tall.

Since its unusual growing habit and asymmetrical branching add texture and interest to the landscape, the sky pencil is excellent as a specimen or container plant but is particularly visually effective in mass plantings. It can even be planted as a short privacy screen!

The sky pencil holly is very adaptable and can tolerate shade and air pollution, according to the NC State Gardening Extension, however, it should not be planted in alkaline soil or areas prone to high humidity or drought. Japanese holly varieties are considered invasive in some parts of the US, so make sure to check their status in your region before planting.

Other Common Names: Japanese Holly, Sky Pencil

Growing Zones: 5-8

Average Size at Maturity: 4-10 feet tall, with a 1-3 foot spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

5. Slender Hinoki False Cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Gracilis’)

Narrow and graceful, the Slender Hinoki False Cypress is a small evergreen tree with a pyramidal form, arched branches, peeling reddish bark, and whorls of feathery, deep-green foliage. Like the sky pencil holly, it is also a Japanese native. Aside from its obvious value as a landscaping tree, its wood has a history of usage in building Japanese shrines, theaters, palaces, and other cultural infrastructure.

US landscape gardeners will get the most out of the Slender Hinoki by using it as an accent, specimen plant, or informal screen or hedge. It also fits perfectly in zen gardens, rock gardens, and other Asian-influenced stylized arrangements.

This false cypress variety is slow-growing and relatively low-maintenance. Only minor pruning is needed to maintain the shape you want, and mulching is recommended for insulation and moisture retention. Plant them in moist, well-draining soil with an acidic pH.

Growing Zones: 5-8

Average Size at Maturity: 12-18 feet tall, with a 5-6 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

6. Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

Bull Bay Magnolia, Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) Tree, Flower and Seed Pods
Images by Fern Berg, Own Work, for Tree Vitalize

A true classic amongst US flowering evergreens, the southern magnolia is one of the showiest trees that still provide year-round foliage.

The tree itself is tall, soaring up to 80 feet in optimal conditions, and its leaves are large, glossy, and leathery to the touch, adding essential color and texture during the winter months. But most of all the southern magnolia is known for its enormous, ornate white blossoms that provide incredible ornamental appeal.

No surprise that this lovely evergreen is used most often as an ornamental specimen in landscape gardening. It can also be planted in rows as a flowering screen or property boundary. They are easy to grow with minimal pest or disease issues – just make sure you plant them in an area that can accommodate their considerable size and shallow root system.

According to the University of Florida Gardening Solutions, due to transplant shock, you should expect a significant amount of leaf drop during the southern magnolias’ first season.

Other Common Names: Bull Bay, Large Tree Magnolia

Growing Zones: 6-10

Average Size at Maturity: 60-80 feet tall, with a 35-40 foot spread

Flowering Season: Late Spring to Early Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

7. Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo)

Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo)
Image by Bernard DUPONT via Flickr

Why not opt for an evergreen tree that also produces edible fruit? The strawberry tree is named for its light red textured fruits that look like strawberries.

Its fruits are highly ornamental and though their taste is a little bland, they have been favorably compared to pears and can be used well in jams, jellies, and preserves. The tree itself is a small Mediterranean evergreen that grows in warm climates as low as zone 7.

The strawberry tree also produces flowers, but unlike the vast majority of fruiting trees, its white bell-shaped blossoms appear at the same time as its fruits, making a standout display in any fall landscape. It makes a fantastic specimen tree, screen, and even a small shade tree.

These trees are tolerant to shade, urban pollution, salt spray, and drought. Plant them in a sheltered place or provide winter protection in the first year – as they will be sensitive to strong winds and severe weather until fully established.

Other Common Names: Madrono, Strawberry Madrone, Killarney Strawberry Tree

Growing Zones: 7-10

Average Size at Maturity: 10-35 feet tall, with an 8-20 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

8. Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens)

Colorado Blue Spruce
Images by Lyrae Willis, Own Work, for Tree Vitalize

A truly magnificent coniferous evergreen, the Colorado blue spruce will stand out in any landscape due to its pale, silvery-blue foliage and highly ornamental form with bold, horizontal branches.

It maintains its beautiful color and shape throughout the year, making it an ideal specimen tree for larger landscapes. It also works well grown in groups, particularly as a dense screen, windbreak, or shelterbelt. Plant in threes for a loose focal point.

Ideally, the Colorado blue spruce should be planted in fertile, moist, well-draining soil with a neutral to slightly acidic pH. However, it can tolerate a range of soil types and pH levels.

Zone 7 is at the end of this spruce’s temperature range, so make sure to provide heat protection for these trees during hotter-than-average summer spells. Mulching and regular water will help to retain moisture and keep the soil cool.

Other Common Names: Blue Spruce,White Spruce, Colorado Spruce, Green Spruce, Colorado Blue Spruce

Growing Zones: 2-7

Average Size at Maturity: 75-100 feet tall, with a 25-30 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Winter

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

Evergreen Trees For Year-Round Color

Whether you choose from more classical coniferous evergreens like the balsam fir, or unusual fruiting evergreens like the strawberry tree, these are just some of the many quality evergreens that can thrive in USDA zone 7.

These trees can keep your property bright and lively in the otherwise dormant winters, or provide strong shelterbelts and privacy screens that maintain their utility in every season.

If you’re looking to plant trees that provide more color to your landscape, consider some of these zone 7 flowering trees.

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Photo of author

Shannon Campbell

Off-Grid Gardener & Food Forager

Shannon has always loved looking after trees and plants since as long as she can remember. She grew up gardening with her family in their off-grid home and looking after her neighbor's plant nursery. As a child she also participated in native tree replanting, and as an adult has volunteered in reforestation programs in northern Vietnam. Today, she puts her horticultural efforts into tending her vegetable and herb gardens, and learning about homesteading and permaculture. When she’s not reading, writing, and gardening, she’ll be out fishing and foraging for edible flora and fungi in the countryside around her home.

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