- Common Name(s):
- Canadian hemlock, Eastern hemlock
- 'Gentsch White', 'Curly', 'Sargenti Pendula', 'Jeddeloh' (shrub)
- Native Plants, Trees
Tsuga canadensis, commonly called Canadian hemlock or eastern hemlock, is a dense, pyramidal conifer of the pine family that is native to moist woods, moist slopes, rocky hillsides/ridges, wooded ravines, and stream valleys from eastern Canada south to Maine and Wisconsin and further south in the Appalachian Mountains to Georgia and Alabama. It grows to 40-75’ tall in the wild. This species is noted for having the smallest needles and cones in the genus.
Its lower branches often dip toward the ground. The thick and ridged bark on mature trees is red-brown to gray-brown.
Regions: Mountain, Piedmont
Seasons of Interest:
Bloom: Spring Fruit/Seed/Nut: Fall
Wildlife Value: This tree is moderately resistant to damage from deer. It provides winter and extreme weather coverage. Red crossbills and small mammals eat the seeds. Ruffled grouse eat the buds and white-tailed deer browse the foilage in winter. It is an important thermal cover component along streams for amphibians and fish.
Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: A healthy plant in the proper environment has few problems. Potential disease problems for plants in the genus Tusga include needle blight (needles turn yellow and die), canker, rusts and rots. Potential insect problems include bagworms, borers, leaf miner, saw fly and spider mites. The foliage may scorch in very hot weather. Prolonged drought can be fatal to this tree.
Hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) is a tiny (1/32”) sap-sucking insect (relative of the aphid) that has recently become a serious threat to the survival of native hemlocks in the wild in the eastern United States. HWA was accidentally introduced into the U. S. in the 1920s from Eastern Asia. It has been known to exist in the Pacific Northwest since 1927, but was first observed in the forests of Virginia in the 1950s. It has now spread from Virginia into the southern and middle Appalachians. Inability to survive cold winters has so far substantially limited HWA’s northern spread to as far as Massachusetts, but northward expansion into much of New England is expected as winter temperatures continue to moderate. HWA has killed most of the old growth hemlocks in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and 95% of the hemlocks in Shenandoah National Park. HWA was discovered in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Park in November of 2013. Treatment of HWA is available (pesticides containing imidacloprid or dinotefuran), but control of this pest is very difficult.
Compare this plant to: Tsuga candensis 'Jeddeloh'
- 30-80 ft.
- In the spring, small yellow male and small light green female flowers mature. The Eastern hemlock has small, pendant, short-stalked, seed-bearing cones (to 3/4" long) that are tan-brown in color.
- 3 to 7
- The Eastern hemlock grows in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. It is best sited in part shade in sheltered locations protected from strong drying winds and hot afternoon sun. It will tolerate full sun in cool northern climates, but dislikes the hot and humid summers of the deep South (particularly south of USDA Zone 6) where sun scald may damage the foliage when temperatures consistently exceed 95 degrees F. It is intolerant of drought and should be watered regularly in prolonged dry spells, particularly when plants are young. It appreciates a thick winter mulch.
- Dense, pyramidal; pendulous branches
- Part shade, shade
- 15-30 ft.
- Growth Rate:
- Flat sprays of lacy evergreen foliage give this tree a graceful form. Short dark green needles (to 9/16" long) with two white bands beneath are arranged in two opposite rows. Its needles are attached to twigs by slender stalks.
NCCES plant id: 2227