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Canadian HemlockTsuga canadensis

  • Canadian Hemlock - Tsuga canadensis

This hemlock is one of our members’ favorites for privacy screens and hedges because of its handsome, graceful appearance and ability to be sheared to any height or shape. 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.

If you’re in need of an evergreen landscape tree for a privacy screen, grouping or foundation planting, the Canadian hemlock may be a good solution.

Hardiness Zones

The canadian hemlock can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 3–8. View Map

Tree Type

This is an evergreen tree, keeping its foliage year-round.

Mature Size

The Canadian hemlock grows to a height of 40–70' and a spread of 25–35' at maturity.

Growth Speed Slow to Medium Growth Rate

This tree grows at a slow to medium rate, with height increases of anywhere from less than 12" to 24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun, partial shade and full shade can be tolerated by this tree, meaning it can be exposed to more than 6 hours or less than 2 hours of sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The Canadian hemlock grows in acidic, loamy, moist, sandy and well-drained soils. It is not drought-tolerant.


This tree:
  • Works well for screening, groupings and foundation plantings.
  • Grows in a pyramidal shape.
  • Prefers a site where it can receive both shade and sun.
  • Cannot tolerate drought, wind or heavy soil.
  • Features soft, feathery deep green needles that form flat, horizontal sprays on the twigs.
  • Yields an abundance of small brown cones ½ –1" long that hang from the branches like ornaments.
  • May be sheared to any height or shape.

Wildlife Value

This hemlock provides excellent cover for deer and songbirds. Nesting site for several warblers. Seeds are eaten by juncos, chickadees, and siskins.


Native Americans and colonists used the tannins from the bark as a curative and for tanning leather. The needles have been used to make a tea high in vitamin C. (Although often confused with the hemlock that poisoned Socrates, the Canadian hemlock is not poisonous.)