Department of Horticulture New York State Horticulture Study Guide for Youth 4-H Logo


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Cornell University

Tsuga sp.

hemlock cones
Click on thumbnails for larger image.

What about it?

The hemlock is a large, narrowleaf evergreen tree native to North America. These trees can grow up to 70 feet if conditions are good. The fruit of the hemlock is a small, woody cone. The shape of the hemlock is pyramidal.

What is it used for?

The hemlock functions primarily as a shade tree, barrier, hedge, and windbreak. Dwarf varieties are also available for rock gardens.

Where does it grow? How do we grow it?

The hemlock prefers cool, moist, well-drained soil. It is not tolerant of dry conditions. When planting, hemlocks should be spaced 50 feet apart, 15 feet apart for a screen/windbreak, and 4 feet in a hedge.

What are its primary problems?

The hemlock is very susceptible to "salt injury", a condition caused by too much road salt in the soil. Insects common to the hemlock include the hemlock florinia scale and spruce mites. In exposed growing sites, the hemlock can also suffer from foliar burn.

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Copyright, Department of Horticulture, Cornell University.