Be a Georgia Tree Know It All – Canadian Hemlock

Get to know Georgia’s beautiful array of trees and how you can take care of your own! Each month, we feature some of the most popular trees in the state, including the Devilwood tree, Butternut, and Two-Winged Silverbell tree. This month, we’re showcasing the Canadian Hemlock (Tsuga Canadensis). This is a tree the Arbor Day Foundation describes as “handsome and graceful,” and we couldn’t agree more!


This evergreen is a good addition to your landscape in groups or to provide privacy when planted two feet apart to form a hedge. Also known as the Eastern Hemlock, this medium sized tree was traditionally used by Native Americans to brew a tea high in vitamin C, then first cultivated by European gardeners around 1736. It typically grows between 40 to 70 feet at a rate of 12-24 inches per year. Mature trees reach an average spread of 25 to 35 feet, but these evergreens vary in height — the tallest reaching 100 feet!

Canadian Hemlocks can be trimmed and shaped to any formation or height, but naturally grow in a pyramid-like Christmas tree shape. The forest green needles are soft and feathery, and the small brown seed cones are 1/2 to 1 inch long, hanging like ornaments from the boughs. The trees serve as a perfect habitat for deer, songbirds, and species of warblers who use them for nesting.

Growing Conditions

The Canadian Hemlock survives in various conditions, growing well in hardiness Zones 3-8 (Atlanta, GA is in Zone 7). This tree is relatively robust, but it’s intolerant to pollution, so plant it away from any street traffic.

In general, this stately tree prefers moist, well-drained acidic soil, but will tolerate alkaline sod. It is not resilient in drought conditions, wind, or soggy soil, however; so be sure to protect it from flooding, heavy wind, and provide extra watering in dry seasons.

Once established, seedlings will overshadow invasive pioneer species and become dominant.

Tree Care

It’s best to place these stately trees in a site with a mix of shade and sun exposure. A healthy tree needs at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight every day.

Thanks to its robust structure, however, the tree requires little to no pruning. With the right amount of sunlight, properly drained soil and protection from pests, its durability allows it to live up to 300 years and in some cases could even live up to 800 years.

Signs of Distress

Sun scorch is possible when temperatures climb above 95 degrees Fahrenheit, or if your tree suffers too much harsh sun exposure. Winter burn is also possible after strong, bitterly cold winds or ice storms.

When it comes to intruder infestations, spider mites can be a major potential threat. Look for bleached-out or discolored needles, and treat with horticultural oil or insecticidal soap. A tree expert can help with these destructive mites, as well as bagworms, needle blight, and hemlock scale — all which may impact your Canadian Hemlock.

In overly wet environments, root rot can also be a common problem. Slowed growth is a major symptom, as well as discolored needles and branch dieback. Once infected, many evergreens die from this condition, but a tree specialist may advise on antifungal treatment or soil transplants. To prevent root rot, be careful not to overwater, and provide ample drainage when planting.

Contact Us

To give your Canadian Hemlock (or any of your other trees) the life they deserve, call Premier Tree Solutions at 404.252.6448 or visit our website to schedule regular maintenance.

A Year-Long Guide to Taking Care of Your Trees

Once again, it’s time for your New Year’s Tree Solutions, for 2022 and beyond! This year-long guide provides a general list of tree care chores to keep your trees healthy and regal. For more specific information on certain species, visit our Georgia Tree Know-It All series, to give unique types the individualized attention and care they deserve.

As you get into a routine with your trees, this list of seasonal maintenance duties will come in handy.


Tree pruning should be completed from November through March when tree growth is dormant. Proper tree pruning involves several different methods:

  • Cleaning requires you to cut off branches that are dead, dying, or ready to fall off the tree.
  • Thinning involves cutting some branches back to the trunk.
  • Reduction decreases the tree’s height or weight.
  • Structural pruning is a combination of the other three methods.

In the case of extreme cold snaps, you may also want to protect younger saplings with burlap or flannel coverings — so be sure to have a supply ready.


Mulch during the spring season to protect your tree and plant roots from the sun and drought. Do so by May or June with layers that are 3 to 4 inches thick.

Other spring efforts involve creating new homes for insects, birds, and bats among your trees. Birdhouses, bat boxes, beetle banks, and flower gardens all create attractive habitats for natural pest-eaters.

If you choose not to mulch or haven’t blocked out time for it, remember to thoroughly weed around your tree roots. This keeps other plants from stealing your tree’s nutrients.


When there’s ample rain- and snowfall, watering isn’t necessary for trees most of the year. But droughts can be a major detriment to your tree’s health. During these dry periods, both your lawn and trees need a reliable supply of water. For prime moisture conservation on warm days, water in the early morning or after twilight.

Drip lines are an effective, slow approach to watering. But, a good old-fashioned water hose or bucket can also do the job. Keep in mind that different trees can have different moisture needs, so make sure to research each one before hauling out your equipment.


Mulch again on a dry day in October or November to protect your trees from the cold chill of winter winds, snow, and ice. Adding the right fertilizer to your tree’s soil during this time can also boost root health and provide nutrients for the spring.

Keep in mind that early fall is a great time to plant more trees, as it gives roots a chance to stabilize before they go dormant and prepare for a burst of spring activity. If you’re considering a new addition, now is the time to make it!

Premier Tree Solutions specializes in tree removal and pruning, branch clearing, debris removal, storm damage response and cleanup, stump grinding, and more. We are your partner in keeping your trees healthy and safe in every season of the year. Give us a call at 404.252.6448 to schedule a service or 404.569.8897 for an emergency.