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Dallas Morning News - March 5, 2020

Best Evergreen Choices for Your Landscape


Leyland Cypress is not a good evergreen choice for your landscaping here in north Texas. It's pretty when healthy but has a weakness – a fungal disease called seiridium canker that makes brown spots in the foliage and takes the plant down and out quickly. Italian Cypress is subject to this same malady. "Experts" will tell you there is no cure for these problems, but there is. It's called the Sick Tree Treatment and the formula is under Guides on the home page of A better route is to plant evergreens that don't have built-in weaknesses.


Leyland Cypress - when healthy

Italian cypress with fungal canker


Here are my recommendations for some of the larger evergreen plants that will behave themselves much better for you.


Live oak and magnolia need to be on this list but there's a jillion of them out there already and they really get too large many residential properties – but good plants.


Savannah holly

East Palatka holly


Nellie R. Stevens Holly is also used a lot but is hard to beat for carefree durability. Large leaves and red berries in the winter after small white flowers in the spring. Other excellent hollies include East Palatka, Dwarf Burford, Needle Point (also known as Willow Leaf), Wirt Winn, Savannah, Yaupon and Dwarf Yaupon. Most of these can take some shade but are best in lots of sun.


Eastern red cedar


Eastern red cedar becomes a pest when growing too thickly on farms and ranches but is an excellent tree for residential property in sun or shade. Try to get females that have the blue berries in winter although the allergy causing pollen coming from males is mostly blowing up from south Texas from Mountain Cedar.


Cherry laurel is a native evergreen that has showy and very fragrant flowers in the spring. It has soft evergreen foliage and some of the new cultivars available in nurseries are denser and darker green. Can take some shade but prefers sun.


Cherry laurel


Needle palm is a great evergreen and bushy palm that is completely cold hardy and appears to have zero problems. It's a little slow growing but that's a benefit long term on residential properties. Like all palms it will do well in sun or shade.


Chinese Photinia is 10 times better than the Red Tip Photinia that has all the disease problems. The white flowers are large and dramatic in the spring and the foliage is dark green. Harder to find in the nurseries but worth the effort. Will work in sun or shade.


Walter's viburnum

Walter's viburnum, close-up


There are several evergreen viburnums worth trying but two of my favorites are Leatherleaf Viburnum and Walter's Viburnum. The Leatherleafs are more open growing and have large, dramatically rough-textured leaves. Walter's Viburnums are denser and grow into large masses or can be trimmed into small trees. Both like sun but can take some shade.





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