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          Tsuga canadensis (Eastern hemlock)
          Wasowski, Sally and Andy

          Tsuga canadensis

          Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carrière

          Eastern Hemlock

          Pinaceae (Pine Family)


          USDA Symbol: TSCA

          USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

          Eastern hemlock is a straight-trunked, gracefully pyramidal tree with long, pendulous limbs and short-needled, feathery branches. Evergreen needles are dark-green with silvery undersides.Evergreen tree with conical crown of long, slender, horizontal branches often drooping down to the ground, and a slender, curved, and drooping leader. Height is usually 40-70 ft., but can reach 100 ft. or more.

          The bark was once a commercial source of tannin in the production of leather. Pioneers made tea from leafy twigs and brooms from the branches. A graceful shade tree and ornamental, it can also be trimmed into hedges.


          From the Image Gallery

          29 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

          Plant Characteristics

          Duration: Perennial
          Habit: Tree
          Leaf Complexity: Simple
          Leaf: Dark Green
          Fruit: Brown
          Size Class: 72-100 ft.

          Bloom Information

          Bloom Color: Yellow
          Bloom Time: Apr


          USA: AL , CT , DC , DE , GA , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
          Canada: NB , NS , ON , PE , QC
          Native Distribution: N.S. to Man., s. to MD & n.e. MN; along mts. to GA & AL
          Native Habitat: Rocky ridges; moist, mountain slopes

          Growing Conditions

          Water Use: Medium
          Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
          Soil Moisture: Moist
          Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
          CaCO3 Tolerance: None
          Soil Description: Rocky, cool, moist soils.
          Conditions Comments: Eastern hemlock can be a fast-grower, but is more often slow-growing. It must be placed where there is good drainage and no strong, drying winds. Trees seem somewhat pH adaptable but prefers acidity. They can be restrained as a hedge for years with regular pruning. Sunscorch kills back branches, and drought kills the tree. A number of diseases and insects can be troublesome, but trees in good health prove reliable.


          Use Wildlife: Other Showy Insects
          Fragrant Foliage: yes
          Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
          Larval Host: Columbia silkmoth

          Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

          Columbia silkmoth
          (Hyalophora columbia)

          Larval Host
          Learn more at BAMONA


          Description: Layering has proven successful, as has propagation by seed and cuttings. Cutting must be treated. Sow seeds in fall or stratify until spring. Spreading a layer of compost on bare soil beneath a mature hemlock and allowing natural seeding to produce a f
          Seed Collection: Cones mature in one season. Pick cones as they begin to open and leave in paper sacks until seed can be shaken free.
          Seed Treatment: A 2-4 month stratification at 40 degrees hastens germination.
          Commercially Avail: yes

          Find Seed or Plants

          View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

          Mr. Smarty Plants says

          Evergreen plants safe for horses in Louisville, Kentucky
          May 16, 2010
          I have a horse farm in Louisville, Ky. I want to plant evergreen plants along the walls in front of the horse barns. What types of plants are not toxic to horses can I use? Thank you so much for all y...
          view the full question and answer

          Evergreen privacy hedge and drought-resistant garden
          July 21, 2008
          I am looking for a hardy evergreen hedge for privacy in Northern Michigan. I have sandy soil. Also am interested in planting a drought garden with mostly sun in same sandy soil.
          view the full question and answer

          Evergreen shrubs for Michigan
          June 17, 2008
          I'm seeking a small-medium, ornamental, fairly compact, evergreen shrub to complement my front yard woodland wildflower garden. I want a shrub that will flank both sides of my front porch steps. I wa...
          view the full question and answer

          National Wetland Indicator Status

          Status: FACU FACU FACU FACU
          This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

          From the National Organizations Directory

          According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

          Georgia Native Plant Society - Atlanta, GA
          Longwood Gardens - Kennett Square, PA
          Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


          Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
          Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
          Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski

          Search More Titles in Bibliography

          Additional resources

          USDA: Find Tsuga canadensis in USDA Plants
          FNA: Find Tsuga canadensis in the Flora of North America (if available)
          Google: Search Google for Tsuga canadensis


          Record Modified: 2013-09-05
          Research By: TWC Staff

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