Eastern Hemlock
Tsuga canadensi

Location in Ontario
Hemlock is found throughout the Deciduous Forest Region, and northward. It prefers cool, moist, north facing slopes of creeks, rivers and ravines.


Magnificent old-growth Eastern Hemlock

Genus Tsuga
Trees are evergreen and coniferous. The leaves are needles with a blunt tip. Pollen cones are globular, while seed cones are short and ovoid. The only species of Tsuga in Ontario is Eastern Hemlock. Woolly Adelgid is an invasive insect that is killing Hemlock trees in the United States (see Tree Diseases).

In the Landscape
Eastern Hemlock is a large-sized, slow growing tree, up to 30 metres in height and long lived, as much as 600 years! It does well in shade. With its soft green needles, arching branches and pretty dark brown bark, it makes an excellent lawn specimen.


Large Hemlock in Backus Woods, Norfolk County

Leaves
This coniferous tree has leaves that are flat needles with rounded tips.
Bark
The bark is dark brown and deeply furrowed.
Cones
Pollen is dispersed by the wind beginning about two weeks after the leaf buds burst in the spring. Seed cones open fully in October, and seed dispersal extends into the winter. Cone production begins after about 15 years, with good seed crops every 4 or 5 years.

TREE FACT: Eastern Hemlock is one of the few species of trees that has brown bark (versus black or grey). The bark was once a source of tannins which are used for tanning leather, but today, artificially produced tannin is used.

Wood
The wood is moderately light. The wood is sometimes used for lumber, but is prone to splitting. As campfire wood, Hemlock produces many sparks.
Specific gravity: 0.40
Janka Hardness: 500 lb
Wood Comparison Chart

Link to United States Forest Service Silvics Manual for Eastern Hemlock.

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