Thursday, November 19, 2015

Evergreen Native Plants

Posted: November 18, 2015
by Kathleen Salisbury
Penn State Extension
Photo by Kathleen Salisbury
After the autumn leaves fall and are cleaned up we start thinking of holidays and of plants that will keep our interest throughout the winter. Though there are many plants with berries and interesting bark that can add interest to the winter landscape, Pennsylvania also offers some native evergreens that can help form a backdrop to deciduous berrying shrubs or highlight dramatic bark.
Perhaps one of the most challenging features of creating a native landscape is incorporating evergreens. Our Eastern deciduous forest ecosystem tends to support those plants that lose their leaves in winter, so they don’t become overburdened by the weight of the snow or slowly desiccate exposed to dry winter winds. However, there are a number of native evergreens suitable for making an appearance in a native garden or any other type of landscape.
Remembering that a healthy system, one that supports a diversity of animal life, has 4 layers – the herbaceous or groundcover layer, the shrub layer, the understory layer and the canopy layer, here are some native evergreen plants that will fill each level. Creating this layering in the landscape not only benefits wildlife but creates a landscape that offers year-round seasonal interest.
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