Evergreens The highly adaptable, hardy and resilient cedar is so common we tend to take it for granted. Perhaps it would command more respect if referred to by the proper name of 'Arborvitae', which means 'tree of life'. Traditionally arborvitae was considered purifying and used by Native Americans for colds, fever, cough, headache, skin disorders, swollen extremities, and rheumatic problems. The powdered foliage can be used as an insect repellant. Aside from the regular cedar (arborvitae) that seems able to thrive anywhere from swampy areas to dry, rocky sites, the Thuja occidentalis family includes all sorts of varieties with different shapes and sizes, developed in the landscaping industry. One of the most popular applications is for hedging. Potted
Photo courtesy of Allen McGregor



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One of the most common evergreens is the good old spruce tree. There are, of course, numerous varieties within the species to 'spruce up' your lawn. If you have lots of space or are planning an all-season windbreak, the white spruce is a good option to consider. As a North American native it is well suited for practically all of us. As one tree guide describes it - 'Dense in youth (Hey, aren't we all?) but more open with age, it has a slim, conical outline. It is distinguished by deer resistance, and salt, drought and heat resistance.' Although white spruce has a slightly slower growth rate than Norway Spruce, it is more tolerant of alkaline or high pH soils and also of damp planting sites.
Since it also has fewer disease issues than Colorado or blue spruce, the white is becoming the spruce of choice for many people. Mature size is usually about 12-18 m (40-60') tall and 3-6m (10-20') wide. (Picea glauca)



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