Contributed by Thom Mrazik, Morris Arboretum Volunteer and Master Gardener 

Pinus wallichiana

What color jumps into your mind when you hear of someone landscaping their property with “evergreen conifer” trees?  Let’s be truthful, when the word “green” is used in a tree’s description, the colors blue or yellow aren’t usually top of mind. While evergreen conifers are handsome and easy to care for, many people think about evergreen conifers as a plain green- colored blob. However, this is not the case when you get up close to a conifer tree and its’ needles. A visit to the Morris Arboretum gives you an up-close look at conifers and their needle colors. 

Pinus parviflora ‘Bergman’

Here, you’ll find a surprisingly wide palette of needle colors and textures across conifer tree species and cultivars. For example, at the Arboretum, you'll find hundreds of pine trees in the Pinacea family. An up close look at the eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) shows soft, thin, and flexible needles of light bluish-green color. In contrast, the graceful Himalayan pine (Pinus wallichiana) has distinctly, gray to bluish-green, feathery needles. The Japanese white pine (Pinus parviflora) shows curved, twisted, stiff needles of bluish to grass-green color.  And, there are many more pine trees to be discovered at the Arboretum. 

One of my favorites when it comes to grandeur, grace, and color, are the true cedars, including the Blue Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca’), and the deodar cedar (Cedrus deodora). Likewise, there are many more colorful conifers to discover at the Arboretum.

Curious about discovering interesting, exquisite conifer trees? Visit the Arboretum on Saturday, January 28, 2017 at 2:00pm for a free (with admission), one-hour guided tour of the Arboretum’s conifers. Or, when you next visit the Arboretum, plan your own up-close look at this wonderful collection of colorful conifers!