Module 1: Introduction to Silviculture

Silvics of Eastern Hemlock

(Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carr.)

Common names:
- tree juniper, white hemlock

Field identification aids:
- needles are small, dark shiny green, blunt tipped, with two white lines underneath
- bark is purplish-brown when scraped

Average mature tree:
- 100 to 140 years old
- 18 m to 21 m (60' to 70') tall
- 60 cm to 122 cm (24" to 48") in diameter at breast height

Maximum life span:
- 600 years

Shade tolerance:
- very tolerant

- wide-spreading, shallow root system

- moderately windfirm

- reproduces by seed
- begins to produce seed as early as 20 with full production after 50 years
- good cone crop every 2 to 3 years
- best germination is on shaded cool sites

Growing sites:
- grows on a wide range of soils, as long as it is shaded and cool

Associated species:
- white pine, red spruce, yellow birch, sugar maple
- occasionally occurs in pure stands
Principal damaging agents:
- hemlock looper, porcupines, and windstorms
- wind causes cracks between growth rings in larger trees, this may increase heart rot

- hemlock comprises 2.8% of the merchantable volume in Nova Scotia
- bark is often riddled with woodpecker holes
- splits easily, but is durable when used in large dimensions

Quick ID:
Hemlock needles are on short stalks that come off with the needle


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