Evergreen shrubs are important plants in the landscape, providing color and texture all year round, while providing winter protection for birds and small wildlife. Selecting zone 4 evergreen shrubs requires careful consideration, however, as not all evergreens are equipped to withstand winter temperatures that can plummet to -30 F. (-34 C.). Read on for helpful tips and examples of cold hardy evergreen shrubs, all suitable for growing in zone 4 or below.
Growing Evergreen Shrubs in Cold Climates
Gardeners considering shrubs for zone 4 must be aware that USDA plant hardiness zones are simply temperature guidelines, and although they are helpful, they don’t consider microclimates within a zone, influenced by wind, snow cover and other factors. Cold hardy evergreen shrubs must be tough and resistant to unavoidable temperature fluctuations that frequently occur in winter.
A thick layer of mulch provides much needed protection to the roots during cold winter months. It’s also a good idea to plant zone 4 evergreen shrubs where the plants aren’t exposed to warm afternoon sun during winter afternoons, as sub-zero temperatures that often follow warm days can do serious damage.
Evergreen Shrubs for Zone 4
Needles evergreen varieties are commonly planted in cooler zones. Most juniper shrubs are suitable for growing in zone 4, and many are tough enough to tolerate zones 2 and 3. Juniper is available in low-growing, spreading varieties and more upright types. Similarly, most types of arborvitaeare extremely cold hardy evergreen shrubs. Spruce, pineand firare also very cold hardy evergreen. All three are available in a range of sizes and forms.
Of the above mentioned needle-type plants, here are some good selections:
- Buffalo juniper (Juniperus sabina ‘Buffalo’)
- Emerald Green arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’)
- Birds Nest Norway spruce (Picea abies ‘Nidiformis’)
- Blue Wonder spruce (Picea glauca ‘Blue Wonder’)
- Big Tuno mugo pine (Pinus mugo ‘Big Tuna’)
- Austrian pine (Pinus nigra)
- Russian cypress (Microbiota decussata)
Zone 4 evergreen shrubs are popular in the landscape too. Here are some suitable broadleaf evergreen choices for this zone: