Also known as Canadian hemlock, this coniferous tree is native to eastern North America and is a member of the pine family, Pinaceae, that also includes cedar and spruce. The tree grows 40-70′ tall and has a conical form and drooping branches. The short dark green needles are arranged spirally in flat sprays on the main branches and have two white bands on their undersides. Male and female cones appear in the fall on the same branch of the tree but differ in appearance. The male cones are 1/8″ across, yellowish-white, and appear near the branch tips. The oval female cones are erect, up to 3/4″ long, and green turning to brown. They have closed scales that open in time for wind pollination in the spring and then close again as the cones assume a drooping position. Seed dispersal begins in mid fall and extends into winter. Eastern hemlock provides cover and/or protections for amphibians, fish, birds, small mammals, and white-tailed deer and is a good choice for wildlife, bird, shade, woodland and native plant gardens. It is an attractive tree and can be used as a specimen or pruned as a hedge. The genus name, Tsuga, is from the Japanese   (tsuga) meaning hemlock. The specific epithet, canadensis, is the Latinization of Canada and indicates that it is native to North America.

Type: Evergreen coniferous tree

Outstanding Feature: Foliage, tiny cones

Form: Conical

Growth Rate: Rapid

Bloom: NA

Size: 40-70′ H x 25-35′ W

Light: Full sun to partial shade; tolerant of full shade

Soil: Average, consistently moist, well-drained, acidic; does not tolerate drought

Hardiness: Zones 3-7

Care: Low maintenance

Pests and Diseases: Hemlock wooly adelgid, elongate hemlock scale, hemlock borer, fir flat-headed borer, hemlock looper, hemlock rust mite, hemlock sawfly, bagworms, spider mites, gypsy moths, spruce budworm, spruce leaf miner, grape scale needle blight, cankers, blister and needle rusts, and sapwood rot.

Propagation: Seed after 100 days of moist chilling, semi-ripe cutting in late summer or early fall

Outstanding Selections:

‘Beehive'(dwarf, about 3’ tall; beehive form)

‘Cole’s Prostrate’ (12″ tall, prostrate, good for ground cover and bonsai)

‘Gentsch White’ (dwarf shrub, slow growing, up to 4.5′, silver white needles on the tips of the branches)

‘Gracilis’ (dwarf, 1-2′ tall, spreading, flat-topped, with broad, drooping branches and an open center)

‘Pendula’ (2′ tall x 5′ wide shrub, weeping)

‘Sargentii’ (10-12′ tall x 20-30′ W, weeping)

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

By Karen