What ornamental evergreens would you suggest for the Southern exposure of the...

Asked March 31, 2015, 12:13 PM EDT

What ornamental evergreens would you suggest for the Southern exposure of the house in Northern Minnesota. Our evergreens turned brown from the winter sun.

St. Louis County Minnesota evergreens winter damage

1 Response

Thank you for the question. Browning winter damage can happen to any evergreen. Yew, arborvitae, and hemlock being the most susceptible, so I can't recommend a variety that won't suffer from this. There are several reasons why this happens. Water is lost from the needles and since the roots are frozen in the soil, the fluid can't be replaced. Bright sunny days cause the plant tissue to warm up, the cells become active, but then the temperature falls later in the day freezing the active tissue resulting in its injury or death. Unseasonably cold weather in the fall before plants harden off for the winter can result in injury or death of the non acclimated plant tissue. Evergreens planted in a south or southwestern exposure have the greatest risk of winter injury or even death. Your plant with southern exposure is at greatest risk so I would suggest avoiding planting another evergreen in this location, or read up on how to help protect evergreens next winter. The best success in gardening is to plant the right plant in the right place so even with winter protection, an evergreen may still suffer.

Read these two University of Minnesota publications on how to protect your shrubs from winter damage and what to do about it when it does happen:


Thank you for contacting Extension.