Five of the Best Evergreen Trees for Santa Fe

Five of my favorite evergreen trees for the Santa Fe area are Austrian pines, Blue Atlas Cedars, Bosnian Pines, Pinon pines, and Ponderosa pines. They each provide year round interest and provide the landscape with strong vertical structure.

— Peggy Wright (Masters in Landscape Architecture)

austrian pine sm

Austrian pines, Pinus nigra, are one of the most handsome and durable evergreen trees for Northern New Mexico, growing to 40′-50′ tall and 15′-20′ wide. They can be grown as specimen trees, as a windbreak or as an evergreen screen for privacy. They are fast growing and undemanding trees, showing resistance to bark beetle infestations.


bosnian pine-10 yr-sm

Bosnian pines, Pinus leucodermis, are an excellent substitute for Austrian Pines where space is more limited. They will grow slowly in a height of 20′-30′, but maintain a narrow columnar silhouette of 8′-10′. Similar to the Austrian Pine, they can work as a screening or windbreak tree when planted in a group.

Blue atlas cedar-sm

Blue Atlas cedars, Cedrus atlantic ‘Glauca’, can be purchased in their natural upright habit or in a sculpted weeping form. The upright form of Blue Atlas cedar makes a stunning focal point in the garden or in a grouping with ‘Red Cascade’ ground cover roses, Blue Avena grass, and Lavender. They will grow slowly to 30′-40′ tall and 20′-25′ tall and 20′-25′ wide, becoming more dense as they age.



Pinyon pine

Pinon pines, Pinus edulis, are the State tree of New Mexico and make a really good drought tolerant wind break and evergreen screen. Though they can eventually, under optimal conditions, reach heights of 20′-30′, but they will grow slowly at the rate of 1″-3″ a year. The piñon nuts that drop from the Pinon cones have provided bird forage and sustenance to humans for centuries. One word of caution is that in the past decade or two, they have become much more susceptible to pest infestations, due primarily to sustained drought conditions in the Southwest United States.

ponderosa winter

Ponderosa pine, Pinus ponderosa, is a stately tree that can reach soaring heights of 60-100 feet, so need to be planted where they will have plenty of room to grow. Due to their immense size, they will need adequate supplemental water in Santa Fe or should be planted areas where they will receive runoff from a nearby hill or road.