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How to Care for Evergreen Shrubs in Idaho

It’s easy to take your evergreen shrubs for granted.

They don’t complain, they don’t make a mess. They’re the dependable backbone of your landscaping, staying green all year round, making even your winter landscape look great.

But don’t ignore those boxwood, spruce, juniper, yew, and euonymus shrubs. Even tough guys need a little love.

Here’s how to care for evergreen shrubs in Idaho.

Fertilizing Evergreen Shrubs

The best time to fertilize your evergreens is before new growth emerges, in early spring, through about mid-July.

evergreen boxwood shrub

Don’t apply fertilizer later than mid-July. It will encourage new growth late in the season, and new growth is more likely to suffer winter injury. (More on that in a bit.)

Evergreen shrubs typically don’t need as much fertilizer as deciduous shrubs, but a few signs show they need a boost:

  • New growth is sparse or slow.
  • Needles aren’t a healthy green color.
  • Your evergreen shrubs are struggling to grow in very sandy or
    heavy clay soil.
  • Shrubs have suffered damage from insects or disease.

Care for Evergreen Shrubs: Pruning

Prune evergreen shrubs regularly to maintain their shape.

Dead or dying branches not only look bad, but they leach out nutrients meant for healthy branches.

Horticulture Tools

Check evergreen shrubs frequently for damage or disease, and cut off affected branches right away to prevent spread.

The best time to prune your evergreen shrubs is in early spring, before new growth begins to emerge and just after they end their dormancy period. Never prune more than one-third of the foliage.

Evergreen Shrub Maintenance: The Best Soil

Evergreen shrubs like acidic soil. It helps them absorb nutrients better.


Need to boost your soil’s acidity? Add organic material, like manure, peat moss, or compost. Mulching with pine bark or pine mulch also helps to acidify the soil as it breaks down.

Caring for Evergreen Shrubs: Proper Watering

Many homeowners water their landscaping more often than it needs. Too much water can be as harmful as not enough.

Less frequent, deeper watering is better for your shrubs, encouraging the roots to dive deeper for water.

Evergreen Shrub Maintenance Includes Winter Protection

Idaho winters are rough on evergreens.

Dry winds and winter sun can dry out conifer needles and broadleaf evergreen foliage.

When a sneaky midwinter thaw hits, plants are tricked into waking up. That tender new growth is vulnerable to the next freeze.

So, how to care for evergreen shrubs in Idaho through tough winters?


You might just think about mulch in the spring, but it’s great for preventing winter damage to trees and shrubs. Kind of like that extra quilt you toss on your bed for the winter.


Add four inches or so of bark mulch around the base of your evergreens for a layer of toasty insulation. This will help the soil stay frozen, to prevent heaving during freeze and thaw cycles.

Build a Windbreak

If you have evergreen shrubs in windy, exposed areas, consider building a windbreak to protect them by blocking drying winter wind.

Burlap Wrap

You can also wrap shrubs in burlap to keep their needles healthy. Wrapping them also helps protect from damage from road salt sprayed by passing plows.

Evergreen Shrub Maintenance: Bye, Aphids

Chances are, your evergreen shrubs have aphids. How the heck do we know this, without even looking?

Everybody has aphids.The tiny pests are the most common insects found on trees, shrubs, and garden plants.

Don’t try looking for them. Aphids are tiny, soft-bodied insects less than a quarter-inch long, nearly invisible to the naked eye.

aphids eating green leaf

When a whole bunch of them gather to feast, like a bountiful bug buffet, their feeding can damage your evergreen shrubs.

Aphids move slowly, but they multiply quickly, so it’s important to get them under control before reproduction starts. Many generations can occur in one season.

Evergreen shrub maintenance includes spray treatments three times a year to zap any aphids crawling on your shrubs. The foliage spray has a residual effect, too, lasting for 30 days to deter any hungry invaders.

It’s a lot easier to prevent aphids than to treat them after they show up, so add it to your spring evergreen shrub care to-do list.

Are Your Shrubs Ready for a New Best Friend?

Evergreens are pretty sturdy shrubs. They don’t need much.

But a bit of evergreen shrub maintenance throughout the year will keep them healthy and thriving in your landscaping.

Plant health care services are available for our Idaho Falls and Boise customers who use our full-service lawn care program.

That gives you extra peace of mind — choose an Idaho Falls or Boise professional lawn care service that bundles your yard’s most-needed treatments into one convenient, no-fuss plan, plus know your valuable evergreen shrubs are happy and healthy.

Fertilizing, weed control, grub control. Done. Shrub protection. Double done.

We’ve got your back.

Got a few minutes? That’s all you need to get started.
Fill out the form on this page.
Call us at (208) 656-9131.
Or read more about our services.

Then kick back and relax in your healthy, thriving yard.

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Image Source: soil, mulch

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