TREES & plants

Eastern hemlock

One of the more shade-tolerant evergreens, the eastern hemlock has many uses as a specimen, sheared as a hedge, or planted for screening. Native to the eastern United States, the hemlock resembles a large Christmas tree with its broadly pyramidal, pendulous branches and fine, dark-green needles on widely spaced branches that give it a delicate, lacy feel. The tree even has abundant brown cones that hang from branches like small ornaments.

Botanical name: 
Tsuga canadensis
All Common Names: 
eastern hemlock, Canada hemlock, Canadian hemlock
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
Native Locale: 
  • North America
Planting Site: 
  • Residential and parks
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Hedge
  • Screen
Size Range: 
  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)
Mature Height: 
40-70 feet
Mature Width: 
25-35 feet
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 3
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil
  • Alkaline soil
Acid Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Alkaline Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Salt Spray: 
  • Intolerant
Soil Salt: 
  • Intolerant
Drought Conditions: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Poor Drainage: 
  • Intolerant
Planting Considerations: 
  • Intolerant of pollution
  • Evergreen (foliage year-round)
Ornamental Interest: 
  • Showy fruit
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Inconspicuous
  • Yellow
Shape or Form: 
  • Pyramidal
Growth Rate: 
  • Moderate
Transplants Well: 
  • Yes
  • Birds
  • Browsers
  • Mammals
More Information: 

Tree & Plant Care

  • Does not tolerate heat, drought, or urban conditions. 
  • Shelter in case of strong winter winds to avoid winter burn.

Disease, pests, and problems

  • Susceptible to winter burn if not sheltered from strong winds. 

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Native geographic location and habitat


Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

  • Over 35 species, including warblers, junco, veery, goldfinch, and blue jay are attracted to this tree by its cones and use it as shelter and a nesting site.

Bark color and texture


Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, texture, and color


  • Arrangement: needles are on two rows, with an extra row of flattened needles on the top of stems
  • Size: ½” long
  • Shape: needle, flattened
  • Texture: fine-textured
  • Color: dark green

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)photo: John Hagstrom

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions


  • Type: cones
  • Arrangement: hang from branches like small ornaments
  • Shape: ovoid
  • Color: brown
  • Size: 1” long

Cultivars and their differences

Tsuga canadensis ‘Jeddeloh’ (Jeddeloh Eastern Hemlock):  'Jeddeloh' is a low growing (under 3 feet at maturity), mounded shrub.  The center of the shrub is shorter than the outer edges, forming a funnel-shaped depression.