Hemlock (Tsuga) trees, like many types of conifer trees, grow to an impressive size in favorable conditions. These trees often grow as large as 70 feet in height and 30 feet in width. Various types of hemlocks flourish in across the United States. They grow in abundance in many established forests, providing shade and shelter to understory plants and shrubs. Many forests harbor hemlock specimens over 200 years old. These long-lived trees provide interesting specimens in parks, yards and landscapes.

Step 1

Plant your hemlock trees in the autumn. Select an area that provides full sunlight to partial shade. Prepare the soil for your new hemlock trees before the expected delivery date. Hemlocks thrive in loamy, well-drained soils, in moist, slightly acidic soil. Like many other conifer trees, hemlocks prefer a slightly acidic soil. Add some organic mulch, such as shredded pine bark, to increase the soil porosity and help lower the pH level. Avoid adding soil amendments to existing soil that already contains plenty of organic materials and provides a loose, rich composition for planting.

Step 2

Dig holes for your hemlock trees. Make the holes deep enough to place the surface of the hemlocks' rootballs even with the adjacent surface. Dig holes about twice as wide as the width of the rootballs. Carefully remove the rootballs from their burlap wraps or containers. Use pruning shears to cut off any roots that form circles around the rootballs. Place the rootballs in the prepared holes and back-fill with soil. Tamp down the area around the small trunks to provide a level surface. Fill in any deep depressions with a little additional soil. Thoroughly soak the soil around your newly planted hemlocks.

Remove the tree from its container. If balled, cut away the burlap surrounding at least half of the root ball. Be sure to also remove any tape, wire or twine that may be around the trunk.

Step 3

Spread some mulch over the soil covering the roots. Apply 2 inches of pine bark mulch around your new hemlock trees. Do not place the mulch near the trunks of your trees. Apply water at infrequent intervals to encourage healthy roots. Allow the surface soil to dry a little between watering sessions, but keep the soil slightly moist near the roots

Step 4

Backfill the original soil into the planting hole. Carefully add soil around the entire circumference of the root ball to ensure the soil/root connection. Water the planting site thoroughly.

Step 5

Spread a two to four inch layer of mulch or other organic material around the entire planting area to prevent weeds and retain moisture.

Step 4

Maintain your hemlock trees by pruning away any broken and dead branches. These trees may require occasional shaping to shorten overgrown branches. Do not heavily prune--excessive pruning may damage your trees and create uneven growth. Encourage attractive branches by keeping your pruning to a minimum.

Tips & Warnings

  • Canada Hemlock is hardy in zones 3 to 7. Be sure to check the USDA Hardiness Zone map to make sure the tree will grow well in your area.
  • Hemlocks prefer moist, well-drained soil and are sensitive to dry planting sites. Be sure to water your tree regularly during its first 5 years with at least one to two inches of water.
  • Plant this tree in spring or early fall. If planting in the fall, be sure to deeply water the tree weekly before the ground freezes. This will help the tree to become established and prevent winter damage.
  • Canada Hemlock prefers to be grown in full sun. It will tolerate shade, but the tree will not be as dense.
  • Do not plant a Hemlock tree too near a structure. If planted as a foundation plant, it will quickly outgrow its location.
  • Hemlocks have very shallow roots and will rob the soil of surface moisture. Make sure to regularly water nearby turfgrass and other ornamental plants and shrubs, particularly in summer.
  • Light: Sun,Part Sun


    Plant Type: Tree,Shrub

    Plant Height: To 75 feet tall

    Plant Width: To 30 feet wide

    Landscape Uses: Beds & Borders,Privacy,Slopes

    Special Features: Attractive Foliage,Fragrant,Winter Interest,Attracts Birds,Drought Tolerant,Deer Resistant


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