western hemlock in the backyard

Asked September 28, 2014, 7:53 PM EDT

I love the western hemock tree and would love to have it in my backyard. However, I am not sure if it would be reasonable to place it there. I have a regular 50' wide by 100' long property. The backyard is 25'x50'. I could place the western hemlock in the north/east corner which would provide the house with shade and protection from the winds. I don't mind the droppings and difficulty planting under/around it. I am worried if it will, within 10-15 years to too big for the yard. I am being reasonable to plant it there?

Multnomah County Oregon

1 Response

Well, with a mature height at 70 to 200 feet, and a mature width at 20 to 40 feet, the western hemlock would be a rather tight fit! The Canadian (Eastern) hemlock, with a mature height of 40 to 80 feet, may be more suitable. Another advantage of the Canadian hemlock is that many different cultivars, some of them dwarf forms, are available. You can easily compare the two species with these links:

Canadian hemlock, Tsuga canadensis: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/ldplants/3plants.htm#tsca

Western hemlock, Tsuga heterophylla: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/ldplants/3plants.htm#tshe

I also suggest you explore your options with the folks at some of the larger garden centers that carry a large selection of conifers. You’re likely to receive the most definitive information if you speak with the person in charge of that section.