If there’s one upside to watching the leaves fall off the branches of trees and all over our cars and walkways it’s that, by contrast, it makes conifer trees look all the more beautiful. A truer symbol of fall and winter is hard to come by than the nettles of a big beautiful evergreen tree, and few are as beautiful (or big) as Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis). This lovely tree stands tall and puts us right in a wonderful wintery spirit.

What Does It Look Like?Eastern Hemlock

We’re not blowing smoke when we say that Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) is tall. Standing at an awe-inspiring 40 to 70 feet in height, these trees are nothing short of majestic when their plentiful branches of evergreen needles (one to two centimetres in length) sway in the wind. The base of its trunk is sturdy and wide but tapers into a thin top, giving it a distinct ‘Christmas tree’ aesthetic. With an average spread of about 25 to 35 feet, though, you’d have a hard time getting this into your house to decorate.

Growing Up, Up, Up!

Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) is easily grown in average, medium-moisture, well drained soils. It does well in partly shaded to full shaded areas as well. It’ll thrive in shady areas that are protected from strong drying winds and the heat of the Sun which is why it’s the perfect wintery specimen. Planting Eastern Hemlock in groups will help it thrive as the trees can act as protection from the elements from one another – kind of like a tree family!Tsuga canadensis

Wildlife

The trees don’t just shelter each other though. Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) provides great nesting places for many birds and small mammals. The small, winged seeds the trees produce are important sources of food for finches and chickadees among others. Snowshoe hare and white-tail deer love the twigs and foliage the trees produce in the winter too! The trees might not be going inside your home, but they’re a home to many of our animal friends.

They’ve Been Around the BlockEastern hemlock tsuga canadensis

Most Eastern Hemlock have been around for a long time and will be here for a long time to come. How long exactly? One Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) in ideal conditions can live to be up to an astounding six hundred years old!

Eastern Hemlock is one of the most beautiful examples of cold-weather plant life. With its tall, proud stature, and shelter for a variety of animals, not to mention its gorgeous shade of green, it’s a reminder that beauty doesn’t fade from our Ontario surroundings once the seasons change, it just takes on a variety of different forms.


For more on Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), make sure you check back in with St. Williams Nursery and Ecology Centre, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube so you don’t miss a thing!

Species Profile – Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)