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Canadian Hemlock
Canadian Hemlock

Canadian Hemlock


The Canadian hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) is a graceful tree, handsome and regal throughout the year, softer in form and texture than most other conifers. Eastern hemlock is a woody, needled evergreen tree in the Pinaceae (pine) family. Soft, feathery foliage appears to be arranged on one plane on the twigs while the twigs themselves fan over each other. The species is willowy and flexible, unlike most other conifers. Canadian hemlock is 165 feet tall and is in Tennessee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Growth Habit

Pyramidal when young, this tree has a nodding leader unique among our native conifers. Branches become pendulous with age. Reaches a height of 40 to 70 feet with a width of 25 to 35 feet. It can reach a height of more than 100 feet. Growth rate is moderate.


Winter hardy to USDA Zone 3b. The tree is also one of only few evergreens that can handle full sun and full shade, though it prefers a site where it can receive both shade and sun. Eastern hemlock needs moist but well-drained, somewhat acidic soils in sun to part shade. It grows best in areas with cooler summers and doesn't tolerate drought. Trees can endure pruning as a hedge but look best unpruned. 


Leaves and berries are toxic to livestock and other domestic animals. Berries contain cyanide and when consumed in quantity can be toxic to birds. This plant is particularly resistant to damage by deer.