Tips for Pruning a Hemlock Tree

What You'll Need
Pruning saw
Lopping shears
Sharpening stone for shears or pruning saw

The hemlock tree is a beautiful landscape tree that you will find in many gardens. These trees grow in full sunlight or shade and have pretty foliage all around the year. Hemlock trees grow quickly and are easy to transplant.

Pruning increases the energy and growth of shrubs and trees. It helps in eradicating any diseased, dead or undesirable branch of the woody trees or shrubs. While pruning you can also remove weak crotches, too many fruits or flowers, crossing branches etc.

Hemlock trees make fantastic hedges, but often grow taller and get away. Pruning hemlock trees is essential as it helps in giving them a proper shape and size. Hemlocks are generally planted for evergreen hedges. They are easy to shape in hedges as they grow more strongly than other narrow leaf evergreen trees. In order to grow good hemlock tress you need to prune them at the correct time of the year and use perfect trimming techniques.

  • Early spring is the best time to prune hemlock trees, right before real growth starts. You can prune hemlock tress again in late spring or early summer if they are growing strongly to restrict their growth.

  • In case of an emergency, you can prune hemlock trees anytime in the year. Avoid leaving any diseased, broken or damaged wood on the hemlocks as they can invite pests and diseases.

  • If possible, avoid pruning hemlock trees in fall and summer. If you prune them in fall, it may leave cuts which the tree will not be able to heal before the onset of winter season.

  • Pruning in late summer can perhaps force the trees to generate new growth, which will be very weak and vulnerable to damage when winter sets in. You have to be very careful while pruning as doing it at the wrong time can harm the hemlock trees.

  • Broken or dead branches can be pruned anytime, but if you plan to prune hemlock tress for getting a desired shape, size maintenance or limbing-up, it can be done in fall, early spring or winter. This will reduce the stress on the hemlock tress.

  • Shaping hemlocks can be done over a few years after the first or the second year once, it is established perfectly.

  • Limbing-up the hemlock tress is best done over a period of time. For this, at least two-thirds of the tree’s height should stay in branched foliage.

  • Avoid removing those branches that are one-third the height of the tree. Pruning for size or maintenance of the hemlock trees should be done according to the seasonal guidelines listed. Avoid pruning the tree from July to early September.

  • You need to have the appropriate tools for pruning hemlocks. Hemlocks can bear it better than other narrowleaf evergreen trees. For pruning, use sharpened tools, prune in such a way that the dead branch is removed without affecting the branch collar.

  • Make sure that you do not cut the branch flush with the trunk or leave remains. For shaping and thinning the hemlock hedges, use a pruning saw or loppers. If you are removing a diseased wood, sanitize the blades to avoid the transmission of the disease to another tree or shrub.