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Growing Enviable Evergreens

No landscape is complete without evergreens, but caring for them can be tricky; luckily, if you're not sure how to care for your evergreen trees this spring, we've got you covered! In this guide, we're looking into some common evergreen challenges faced by gardeners in Allentown and the Lehigh Valley Region, including common diseases, pests, and those pesky winter burns, so dig in and let us help you transform your trees into the envy of the neighborhood!



Lehigh Valley- Garden Center-Allentown-Pennsylvania-American Holly bush evergreen

Growing Evergreens in Pennsylvania

Evergreens are essential for Pennsylvania landscapes, providing vital habitat for wildlife, improving air quality, preventing soil erosion, and beautifying our outdoor spaces with their lush, year-round greenery. Although many species of evergreens thrive here in the Lehigh Valley region, here are a few of our particular favorites:


Eastern White Pine:

Known for its graceful appearance and soft, bluish-green needles, the Eastern white pine thrives in Allentown's climate and soil conditions, providing year-round beauty. Being a native species, this tree is more resilient to pests and disease. 


American Holly 

The American holly features glossy, dark green foliage and vibrant red berries in winter, making it a stunning addition to any Pennsylvanian landscape. It is also adaptable to various soil types and tolerant of urban conditions, making it an ideal choice for Allentown gardeners.


Arborvitae 

The Arborvitae offers dense foliage and a narrow, columnar growth habit, making it ideal for creating privacy screens or windbreaks in Allentown landscapes.


Canadian Hemlock 

The Canadian hemlock showcases lush, dark green needles and a graceful, pyramidal form. It prefers partial shade and moist, well-draining soil, making it particularly well-suited to our Lehigh Valley climate.


Colorado Blue Spruce 

The Colorado Blue Spruce impresses with its striking blue-green foliage and conical shape, adding a touch of effortless elegance to Allentown backyards. It is also drought-tolerant once established, making it an ideal pick for a low-maintenance garden or landscape. 



Lehigh Valley- Garden Center-Allentown-Pennsylvania-Evergreen care-trees with brown needles from disease

Common Problems and Solutions

Evergreen shrubs and trees are cherished for their year-round beauty and resilience, but they're also susceptible to common issues like diseases, pests, and winter damage. Let's look into some of the most common problems faced by Allentown and Lehigh Valley gardeners and explore some effective solutions to overcome them:


Evergreen Disease Prevention Tips

Evergreens in Pennsylvania, particularly in the Allentown area, often fall victim to various diseases, such as needle blight and root rot. To give your trees and shrubs a shot against these nuisances, it is crucial to be able to recognize their symptoms early so you can implement timely treatment measures. Here are a few signs to watch for this spring: 


  • Needle blight symptoms: Browning or discoloration of needles, needle loss, and stunted growth.

  • Root rot symptoms: Yellowing or wilting foliage, stunted growth, and root decay.


To combat these diseases, promptly remove and dispose of any infected plant material, improve air circulation around affected plants, and apply evergreen-recommended fungicidal treatments. 


Managing Pests

Allentown evergreen care often involves dealing with pesky insects that can wreak havoc on your plants. Common pests like spider mites and bagworms can defoliate evergreens if left unchecked, compromising their aesthetic appeal and overall health. Monitor your trees and shrubs closely this spring for these signs of infestation:


  • Spider mite infestation signs: Webbing on foliage, stippling or discoloration of needles, loss of foliage, and premature leaf drop. 


  • Bagworm infestation signs: Spindle-shaped bags attached to branches, defoliation, and twig dieback.


Implementing natural pest control methods such as introducing predatory insects or applying insecticidal soaps can help manage these pests without harming beneficial wildlife or the environment, making them your best weapons against infestation this spring.



Lehigh Valley- Garden Center-Allentown-Pennsylvania-Evergreen care-evergreen shrub with frost

Preventing Winter Damage

Allentown's harsh winters pose a significant threat to evergreens, causing winter burn and desiccation. If you fear your evergreens may have been damaged this past winter, inspect them for these common symptoms: 


  • Winter burn symptoms: Browning or bronzing of foliage, especially on wind-exposed sides of plants.


  • Desiccation symptoms: Wilted or dried-out foliage, particularly during prolonged periods of freezing temperatures and low humidity.


While winter damage may seem like an unbeatable foe, you can easily safeguard your plants from irreversible harm with proper protection and care during the colder months. To prevent winter damage, install windbreaks, apply anti-desiccant sprays, and water during dry spells to provide adequate moisture. Mulching around the base of your evergreens in the fall can also help insulate their roots and retain soil moisture.


Year-Round Care Tips for Evergreens

Maintaining healthy evergreens requires consistent attention and care throughout the year. Let's explore some essential tips to keep your trees and shrubs thriving in every season: 


Watering Wisely

Proper hydration is crucial for evergreens, especially during periods of drought or extreme heat. Specifically, evergreens demand a balanced watering schedule, ensuring they receive enough moisture without waterlogging their soil.


We recommend:


  • Watering your evergreens deeply and infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings.


  • Applying water directly to the root zone, keeping their foliage dry to prevent fungal diseases.


  • Adjusting watering frequency based on weather conditions and soil moisture levels and prioritizing hydration during hot and dry periods.


Soil Health and Fertilization

Healthy soil lays the groundwork for vibrant evergreen growth. Because of this, we recommend conducting soil tests to assess your soil's nutrient levels and pH balance, enabling you to make informed decisions about fertilization and soil amendments. We also recommend the following to keep your evergreen trees and shrubs happy and healthy:


  • Use fertilizers that are specifically formulated for evergreens and well-suited to Pennsylvania's soil conditions. If you’re not sure what to look for, stop by any time to chat with us about our selection—we have the best evergreen fertilizers for Pennsylvania right here at the garden center!


  • Apply your fertilizer in early spring or late fall, following recommended dosage rates to avoid over-fertilization.


  • Incorporate organic matter such as compost or aged manure into your soil to improve its structure and fertility over time.



Lehigh Valley- Garden Center-Allentown-Pennsylvania-Evergreen care-gardener pruning evergreen tree

Seasonal Maintenance

Each season presents unique opportunities and challenges for evergreen care; however, by adapting your maintenance routine to seasonal fluctuations, you can ensure optimal growth and performance year-round! Here are a few season-specific care tasks we recommend adding to your year-round maintenance routine:


  • Spring: Prune dead or damaged branches, monitor for signs of emerging pests or diseases, and apply mulch to conserve moisture and suppress weeds.


  • Summer: Monitor soil moisture levels and increase watering frequency during hot, dry spells. We also recommend applying mulch in the summer to insulate roots and conserve moisture.


  • Fall: Continue watering until the ground freezes, apply anti-desiccant sprays to reduce winter moisture loss, and protect vulnerable plants from harsh winds.


  • Winter: Monitor your plants for signs of winter damage, especially on wind-exposed sides, and water them during dry periods to keep them hydrated.


Ready to transform your garden into a lush oasis of evergreen beauty? Visit us at Lehigh Valley Garden Center today to learn how to care for evergreen trees and explore our wide selection of evergreen varieties, gardening tools, and landscaping must-haves. Together, we can keep Allentown green!





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