Residents of Malibu, Laguna Beach, Beverly Hills and the rest of the greater Los Angeles area are fortunate to have so many tree options available to them. A number of fantastic trees are native to our portion of the state, and a dizzying number of exotic species adapt well to our local climate.
But many people find the lure of beautiful flowers and glorious fall color irresistible when picking out trees for their new installation. This leads them to select broad-leafed hardwoods, such as maples, redbuds, elms, oaks and others, rather than needle-leafed conifers, such as pines, hemlocks, redwoods and firs.
This is a shame, as conifers provide a number of great benefits for homeowners and property managers. One of the most important benefits, and the one on which we will concentrate today is the fact that most conifers are evergreen (although bald cypresses and a few others do shed their leaves in the winter).
By contrast, most broad-leafed trees shed their leaves every winter. Additionally, some broad-leafed trees are facultatively deciduous, meaning that although they “want” to keep their leaves all year long, they may shed them in response to drought or other environmental stresses.
Some of the benefits evergreen conifers provide include:
Because most conifers retain their leaves all year long, they make excellent choices for wind-screening projects. Shielding your property from winds can help to reduce the evaporation rate, which will help your soil retain moisture better than places exposed to constant winds. And don’t forget that dense conifers also help shield your property from anything the wind is carrying, such as dust and grit.
Those living in the northeastern United States often prefer installing deciduous hardwoods specifically because they shed their leaves in the winter. This allows them to enjoy shade in the summer and plenty of sun exposure during the winter. But here in southern California, you don’t have to maximize your sun exposure to keep Jack Frost at bay. In fact, it is more likely that you’ll want the benefits of shade in all seasons.
Many deciduous trees are quite important for wildlife; oaks, hickories, beech trees, for example, provide significant quantities of food for local songbirds and small mammals. Some animals even take shelter inside cavities made within these trees, or make their summer homes amid the dense and concealing canopy. However, because this canopy disappears in the summer, many birds and tree-dwelling mammals prefer to reside in conifers all year long. Some birds even preferentially nest in specific conifer species.
Your desire for privacy probably doesn’t change with the seasons, and neither should the trees you use to provide that privacy. A nice hedge of arborvitaes, for example, will remain thick, lush and visually impenetrable all year long, while a row of maples will expose your property to anyone driving by once November rolls around.
Of course, there are plenty of other benefits various conifer species provide. Some, such as pines, provide important food sources for your local critters, and others, like Korean firs, are simply gorgeous, and immediately become the centerpiece of any property. No matter which conifers you select for your yard, just be sure to consider the local conditions and the space you have available (some conifers grow quite large).
If you’d like some help picking out and installing some conifers for your property, reach out to your friends at Evergreen Arborist Consultants. We’ll help guide you through the process in every way, including species and site selection, installation and follow-up care. Most homeowners and property managers can complete all of these steps on their own, but it never hurts to have some help from arborists with more than 28 years of experience.