Cones and Pines: Your Basic Guide to Coniferous Trees

close up photo of a pine tree

When most people think about improving their residential property, they tend to think of structural additions such as swimming pools or gazebos. But there are more environmentally friendly methods for sprucing up a lot, specifically by making the most of your backyard. If you want to enhance the appeal and the beauty of your property, you can’t go wrong by planting some trees.

A stand of majestic ash trees or fruit-bearing persimmon trees can really work wonders on your property’s value. But what if you’re looking for plants that could stay luscious and green all through the year? Then you should plant coniferous trees, the most recognizable and prolific type of evergreen trees.

Today, learn about the difference between deciduous trees and coniferous trees, the intricacies of evergreen trees and the many different types of cone-bearing trees you can plant in your backyard.

What’s the Difference Between Deciduous and Evergreen Trees?

aerial view of a road between trees
Evergreen trees remain lush and verdant throughout the year. Photo by Joshua Welch from Pexels

What exactly makes evergreen trees so different from the rest of the trees in the plant kingdom? The distinction between evergreens and deciduous trees stems from the lack of leaf shedding. Unlike deciduous trees like poplar trees, evergreens don’t have to lose their leaves at the end of the growing season. This means that their branches retain a glorious verdant foliage all throughout the year, hence the term “evergreen.”

Deciduous trees often shed their leaves during the autumn season in temperate climates, but there are tropical deciduous trees as well. These trees shed their leaves during the dry season instead of autumn.

What’s the Difference Between Evergreen and Coniferous Trees?

pinecone hanging from a tree
Coniferous trees produce cones rather than fruit for propagation. Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels

The different between coniferous trees and evergreen trees is related to category. Evergreens is a broader term for plants and trees that do not lose their leaves, as previously stated. Coniferous trees refer to trees that produce cones for reproductive purposes. Most plants and trees grow flowers that later turn to fruit, which contain their seeds. Natural phenomenon such as foraging animals or rain can then spread these seed-bearing fruits to propagate the species.

Coniferous trees don’t grow flowers. Instead they produce cones. Don’t be fooled, not all cones from these trees look like pinecones. The healthy “berries” that grow on juniper trees are actually a form of cone rather than fruit.

Not all evergreens are also conifers. The holly bush is an evergreen that produces berries rather than cones and yet remains green throughout the year. There are also deciduous coniferous trees, such as larch trees.

What are the Different Types of Coniferous Trees?

forest of trees
The forests of the world are home to numerous types of coniferous trees. Photo by Laura Stanley from Pexels

There are dozens upon dozens of species of coniferous trees you can choose from when you’ve decided to spruce up your backyard.

Below are 6 of the most prominent types of conifers you may want to plant. Each one has unique appeal and different growing preferences.

  • Pine Trees

Perhaps the most iconic of all coniferous trees, there are over 250 species of pine trees all over the world. This makes them the largest genus of coniferous evergreen trees as well. Pine trees are hardy plants that require a lot of sunlight to develop. They have an average water consumption, which means they won’t do well in an arid environment. On the other hand, they also need well-draining soil, which means they also won’t thrive in wet environs. Despite these finicky requirements, pines are amazing additions to any lot for their dramatic and deep green needles.

  • Cedar Trees

These famed Old World plants are known for their long history and spicy, earthy scent. Cedar trees have a signature aroma that smells both spicy and deep, which makes their timber highly sought after by furniture makers. The slightly red hue of the wood also adds to its character. There are only 4 types of true cedar, including cedar of Lebanon, and deodar or Himalayan cedar. North American cedars don’t have the same properties as these four types but are still used as aromatics and incenses.

  • Cypress Trees

Cypress trees work well in warmer climates because they don’t need a lot of moisture in the soil to thrive. These trees are often found in the western portion of the United States and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some of these evergreen trees only grow to the size of tall shrubs while others can reach up to 115 feet tall. They’re also very low maintenance, forming attractive shapes without the need for shaping or pruning. If you want appealing and easy-to-care coniferous trees on your property, you can’t go wrong with the right type of cypress.

  • Redwood Trees

Redwoods are some of the largest plant organisms on the face of the planet, reaching hundreds of feet in height and diameters so large you can form tunnels through them. A lot of redwood species, such as the giant California redwood, are protected by environmental laws, meaning you shouldn’t plant any of them in a residential lot. However, they are still majestic specimens of plant life and you can appreciate them in certain national parks in the western United States.

Coniferous trees are among the most dramatic and visually compelling plants in the world. Their evergreen boughs ensure that they remain attractive all the time, if given the proper amount of care. So why not plant a few saplings today and watch your yard transform?


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