Evergreen trees are best known for keeping their needles and leaves throughout winter. Yep, they’ll hold onto their foliage all season long whether it’s gorgeously green or...dull and brown.

Brown needles can be a bummer, but with a little planning, it’s possible to keep evergreens green during winter.

Keep reading for tips on watering and protecting your evergreen tree in winter.

How to keep your evergreen healthy all winter

Keeping your evergreen healthy in winter starts with giving it extra attention in the fall season.

When to water your evergreen

Harsh winter weather can cause transpiration (foliage water loss) causing the needles to desiccate while the roots are in frozen soil and unable to replace the lost water.

To create that water supply in the soil, your tree needs a good amount of hydration leading up to winter. You should water your evergreen tree frequently throughout fall. Water enough to keep the soil consistently moist but not saturated, and keep watering all the way up until the ground freezes. To efficiently get your tree the right amount of water, deep root watering is best.

How do I know if my evergreen needs water?

The quickest way to find out if your evergreen needs water is to stick a long screwdriver into the soil below your tree. If it's hard to push in, your tree needs water.

You can also dig 6-8 inches into the tree’s bed and feel the soil. If it’s dry or crumbling, your tree needs water. A well-watered tree will have moist (not saturated) soil when you dig down.

How often should I water my evergreen in the winter?

Once the ground is frozen, watering your tree isn’t necessary. If you live in a warmer climate where the ground doesn’t freeze, you should water your evergreen in winter as often as it needs it. Here’s how to tell when your tree does or doesn’t need water.

How much should I water my evergreen?

It depends on the tree! Plus, you should consider the amount of rainfall in your area. Remember, the goal is to keep the soil moist without saturating it. Find more guidance on how much you should water a tree here.

Winter burn on evergreens

Winter burn is precisely what it sounds like: it’s when tree leaves or needles turn brown or look scorched in wintertime.

What causes winter burn on evergreens?

Winter burn, which is also referred to as “desiccation,” happens when evergreen foliage loses too much moisture due to dry winter wind and beaming sun. These tough elements cause the needles or leaves to turn brown from dryness.

How to prevent winter burn on evergreens

The watering tips shared above help a ton when it comes to protecting your evergreen from winter burn. You can also physically protect your tree by wrapping it with burlap. Here’s how to create a tree wrap.

How to treat winter burn on evergreens

Odds are, an evergreen that lost its color due to winter burn will bounce back during spring. Keep an eye on your tree to see if any parts aren’t greening up. Those branches should be pruned to make room for healthy growth.

Avoid these mistakes when prepping trees for winter.

Related Blog Posts

Dwarf Evergreen Container Plants
Tree Planting & Transplanting

Transplanting Evergreens 101

Here are some guidelines and tree moving tips so you can get a better idea of whether or not your favorite evergreen can be successfully transplanted to a new spot in your landscape.
Read More
Newly Planted Evergreen Yellow Brown Or Dying Davey Tree
Plant Health Care

Help A Newly Planted Evergreen Turning Yellow, Brown Or Dying

Is your newly planted evergreen turning yellow or brown? Learn if your newly planted evergreen is dying and how to fix it.
Read More

Sign Up For Free Tree & Landscaping Tips! 

Subscribe to the "The Sapling," the Davey Blog's email newsletter, for the latest tips to keep your outdoor space in tip-top shape throughout the year.

Plus, receive a free instant download of our landscape seasonal checklists when you sign up!

Get In Touch With Us!

We pride ourselves at Davey Tree on providing prompt, professional and personalized service from certified arborists that live, work and engage in your community. Contact one of our Davey Tree specialists for your residential, commercial, utility, or environmental needs.

Let's Find What
You're Looking For!