Considered one of the most beautiful of all conifers, use our native hemlock where a light, delicate texture and slender form is needed. Requiring at least dappled shade in hot summer areas and low elevations, plant it with other natives, like huckleberry, Englemann Spruce, Alpine Spirea, Mountain Hemlock, and Kinnikinnik, to create a cool, calm, woodland. It can also be kept small for a rock or alpine garden by careful pruning and by starving the roots--as they are in high mountains when they grow in minimal soil among rocks.
Western Hemlock is our native species. The familiar drooping tip characterizes this handsome tree with a narrow, pyramidal crown. Its horizontal branches arch downward at the tips. It is very shade tolerant. It will grow to 70-100 ft tall and 20-30ft wide in the wild, but much less in cultivation. Like other hemlocks, it needs moist, well-drained soil, rich with humus, and shade. Site it on a north slope if possible, to give it protection in our hot valleys. Shelter it from drying winds.
Zones: 5 to 7
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