Also called: Canadian hemlock, hemlock spruce
Lifespan: It can take about 200 years for an eastern hemlock to reach maturity. Some eastern hemlocks are estimated to be about 800 years or older.
ID features: Short, flat, blunt, flexible needles. Needles have a white stripe on the underside.
Bark will be grayish-brown and smooth in young trees, turning a cinnamon-brown with thick ridges as it matures.
Fun fact: Eastern hemlocks provide food and shelter for many species of wildlife, including the endangered Northern Spotted Owl.
The Eastern Hemlock is the only hemlock native to the Adirondack Mountains.
Ask the Arborist
ISA Certified Arborist,
NYSDEC 3A Certified Applicator, C8902567
Q: What do hemlocks have to do with drinking water?
A: Eastern hemlocks are a keystone species in our region's forests that many other living things depend on to survive, approximately 120 different species! However, it is not only animals that benefit from hemlock forests. Humans do too! Eastern hemlock roots hold the soil on the edges of steep ravines in place preventing erosion, landslides, and flooding. That same root system also acts as a filter for the water that runs off from farm fields or the urban environment. This prevents pollutants like chlorine, nitrogen, and copper from getting into streams and eventually our lakes. The shade from hemlock canopies keeps water temperatures cooler, providing us with cleaner and clearer water. Because of hemlocks we have clean drinking water! The city of Rochester gets its drinking water from none other than Hemlock Lake. Preserving and protecting these trees benefits us as much as it does wildlife.
Q: Where should I plant a hemlock?
A: The Eastern hemlock can be a great choice for your landscape and provide an excellent pop of color in the winter. Here are a few things you’ll want to consider before planting:
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