Basic Hemlock Tree Care Tips

What You'll Need
Balanced fertilizer
Garden hose

The hemlock tree comes in four distinct species. There are two species of hemlock tree that are native to the American west and two species that are native to the American east. Each of these species prefers mountain living, which means that it does the best when in a temperate to cool climate with a mid to high elevation. Hemlock trees are very popular among landscapers because of its great shape, its shade production value and its amazing green and silver coloring. However, while beautiful and a great addition to landscapes, hemlock trees are somewhat finicky when it comes to their care.

Planting Tips for a Hemlock Tree

If you want your hemlock tree to thrive in your yard, you will need to start by being mindful of how you transplant your tree. To start with you will need to dig a hole that is just as deep as the root ball, but that is 2 to 3 times as wide as the root ball. Once the hole has been dug you can set your hemlock tree in the hole. Then add about 3 inches of mulch made from pine litter like pine straw and bark to the hole. Fill in the rest of the hole with local soil or top soil.

Fertilizing Hemlocks

It is very important that you do not add fertilizer to your hemlock during the transplanting process. This will burn the root system and it could lead to the death of your hemlock tree. Instead, you will want to wait until your hemlock tree has established itself in the soil, which will take a few months. Once the hemlock tree has been established you can add fertilizer to the root system once a year. The best fertilizers for hemlock trees are well balanced fertilizers like 10-10-10 or 8-8-8 fertilizers.

Watering Hemlocks

Hemlock trees require a fair amount of water. This means you will need to slow water your hemlock at least once a week. The slow watering process is used to prevent runoff and to ensure that you soak the root system of this tree. The watering process for the hemlock tree should start with a generally spraying down of its trunk and leaves. This will help to wash away bugs and pollution residues. Then you will place the garden hose at the base of the tree and allow it to run for 15 to 20 minutes. This will help to direct the water to where it will do your hemlock tree the most good, its root system.

Pruning Hemlocks

The hemlock tree can be allowed to grow naturally or it can be pruned into a shape and height that you prefer. If you allow your hemlock to grow naturally, it will grow into a pyramidal shape and provide you with a lot of great shade. Some varieties of hemlocks can grow to be over 50 feet tall. However, if you are interested in training your hemlock to be a hedge, then you will need to prune your hemlock trees during the early spring or the late fall. Some people will use hemlocks as bonsai trees or topiary trees.