Deciduous Verses Evergreen Trees: Which Should You Pick?

In New Zealand, we’re blessed with the variety of both deciduous and evergreen trees available. While this is a great thing, it can be hard to determine which is the right tree type for you. Today we’re walking you through how to select the right tree, share common evergreen and deciduous tree varieties and help you decide where to plant them.

Trouble Deciding Between Deciduous & Evergreen Trees? 

Most New Zealand native trees are evergreen. Mother Nature understood that to survive our climate; their best bet was to be evergreen trees. This resulted in most natives having weather resistant small leaves or needles which were not damaged during cold weather. Deciduous trees, on the other hand, have broad leaves which are easily damaged in colder weather, so they shed them to survive the winter months.

The autumn leaf shedding is the main difference between evergreen and deciduous trees. Evergreen trees also shed their leaves, but do so in small quantities year round. Evergreens also have their foliage on branches starting from the base of the trunk, whereas deciduous have their foliage at the top of their trunk.

There are pros and cons between both tree types and we’ll explore them now:

Evergreen Trees

  • Pros include always having green (or specific colours to that species) foliage, minimal loss of leaves resulting in less leaf litter to clean
  • Cons include the same colour foliage year round, some leaves are difficult to pick up and mulch, and they often have extra sap.

Deciduous Trees

  • Pros include an ever changing foliage appearance, provide shade in summer and allow plenty of sunshine access in winter.
  • Cons include leaf litter to collect in one large amount each year.

Common Evergreen & Deciduous Native Trees in New Zealand 

Once you’ve decided on a tree type, your next choice will be as to what variety to plant. To make things simple, we’ve listed some of the best varieties for you, many of which are native to NZ:

Evergreen – Kauri, Bottlebrush, Camellia, Rimu, Pine, Pohutukawa, Olive, Lemonwood, Totara, Kowhai and Pittosporum.

Deciduous – Horse Chestnut, Maple, Copper Birch, Silver Birch, Magnolia, Apple, Cherry, Oak, and Elm.

When you give a tree as a gift, it pays to think about which type of tree is best, the expected growth size, and the climate which best suits it. We’d love to help you find the perfect tree present – so get in touch for some personalised help today.

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