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The juniper family is useful in planting, in tall forms such as formal columnar juniper and upright juniper, and as a spreading evergreen — remarkable Pfitzer juniper—for banks, ground cover and edgings. The green feathery foliage grows rapidly; can stand crowding. Height at maturity is 8 feet, spread up to 12. Ground-covering junipers include prostrate, Sargent, Waukegan and creeping varieties.
Another evergreen with feathery foliage is hemlock. The Canadian hemlock can be sheared in a symmetrical manner. Hemlock is most effective when planted in a grove with others.
Yew, with its thick glossy needles and dense, upward-reaehing branches, is useful as both shrub and tree, growing well in sun and shade. Try using it not in usual manner as foundation planting only — but as a single handsome specimen against a wall of garden. The low-spreading bushy dwarf yew can be clipped well. Other varieties are upright yew and Japanese yew, a tapering or conical tree or shrub used for hedges.
Evergreens tend to be adversely affected by hot, dry summer weather and should be watered every 10 to 14 days at this time. Be sure water reaches deep-root growth, at least 6 inches deep.
A mulch of grass clippings or peat moss will also protect tree from loss of water in dry weather. Pruning in late spring before new buds appear seems to help an evergreen thrive. Prune so that inner branches can develop and tree or shrub is more compact.
Formal trees can be kept trim, with no ragged branches sticking out, and badly shaped or deformed trees can be corrected through shaping. Evergreens are susceptible to "winterburn" from too much wind and winter sun, so that they dry up and their branches crack under weight of snow or force of wind. A precaution is to water them deeply before ground freezes in late fall.
They may also be protected in winter by screens of burlap or straw mats. Where wind and winter sun are not too strong, shielding only on sunny side is necessary. Burlap boxes or covers should be well ventilated. Thin, tall shrubs or small evergreen trees may be tied with strips of cloth, so that branches will not crack. Old trees with heavy limbs may be propped with boards to prevent breakage under heavy snow or ice.
Paul Curran is CEO of Cuzcom Internet Publishing Group and webmaster at Trees-and-Bushes.com, providing access to their nursery supplier for a range of quality plants, trees, bushes, shrubs, seeds and garden products.Visit their trees section to find a great selection for your garden