Hemlock Tree Bonsai

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Hemlock Tree Bonsai – Names: Mountain hemlock, as the name suggests, occurs in mountains up to timberline and in subalpine parkland. Hemlock trees are often called “hemlock spruces” to distinguish them from the herbaceous poison hemlock, a member of the parsley family. The name “Suga” comes from the Japanese words meaning “mother” and “tree”. The species is named after the German botanist Franz Karl Mertens.

Classification of mountain hemlock from USGS (“Atlas of United States Trees” by Elbert L. Little, Jr.)

Hemlock Tree Bonsai

Hemlock Tree Bonsai

Distribution: Mountain hemlock ranges from the southeastern coast of Alaska and British Columbia, the mountains of Washington and Oregon to the High Sierras of California. It is also found in the Rockies of northern Idaho and Montana.

To Pot Or Plant? That Is The Question

Growth: In its native habitat, mountain hemlock grows very slowly due to long winters. Subalpine dwarfs can only reach ten feet (3m) in height. It grows quickly in lowland areas, usually to 100 feet (30m). Trees over 175 ft (50 m) tall. The oldest ones have been found to be over 500 years old, but some may be over 1000 years old.

Habitat: In the northern part of its range (British Columbia and Alaska), mountain hemlock is associated with bogs and wet areas. It is exposed to deep snow and long winters. It grows in near-freezing temperatures and can survive several months covered in snow. The trunks are so soft that the trees bend under the weight of the snow, creating interesting shapes in the snow reminiscent of shepherd’s crooks, snails and fetuses. Trees grow again after the snow melts. It is less shade tolerant than western hemlock.

Specimen characters: Mountain hemlock can be distinguished from western hemlock by the following characters:  head slightly bent; The needles are of equal length and arranged radially around its branches; And the cones are large (1-5 inches or 2.5-12.5cm). Departments are also caught up in ideas.

A bright green lichen grows on the trunks of mountain hemlocks above the snow line in Crater Lake National Park.

Tsuga Heterophylla Western Hemlock Amazing Bonsai Conifer

In the landscape: Some consider mountain hemlock the best native conifer for the small garden. It can be used as an ornamental tree in a container or to create a focal point in a rock garden. It creates a beautiful sight when planted in clumps or drifts. Flat gardeners will be disappointed, however, if they expect their mountain hemlock to have the same appearance as the sprawling, twisted creepers of subalpine meadows.

Propagation: Mountain hemlock can be grown using fresh seed, kept at 40ºF (4ºC) for 90 days. Vegetative propagation, cuttings and grafting, is possible using the same methods as for western hemlocks.

People’s use: Mountain hemlock is not used commercially because of its ineffectiveness at high altitudes, but where it is used; It is commonly sold and used with western hemlock.

Hemlock Tree Bonsai

Used by wildlife: Squirrels make caches of cones in the snow. The blue grouse eats fruits and leaves.

Eastern Hemlock Pre Bonsai

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This is one of those trees that I’ve had in my yard for a long time and never posted about. For one thing, it’s so big, it’s hard to photograph. For another, I don’t get around to it.

All trunks come from one base; It is a tree. The snow is so heavy that the small branches come down, and those branches then grow and now the trunks form a clump.

This is the tree that started my madness in finding new solutions to the flatness question. Sadly, this was the last tree I put on the slab. This hemlock has sat on a plywood slab for years, dreaming about it while I complete other slab experiments. So, you benefit from other tree mistakes. Or my faults with them, I should say. Finally in 2014 he used Korean countertop material instead of a stronger slab option than the nylon boards I was using for the smaller trees.

Tiny Bonsai Tree Stock Photo

I should mention that Mountain Hemlock is not a tree native to the Pacific Northwest, USA or east of the Cascades. East and south of the mountains it was too hot and/or too dry for these groups and they became very aggressive, then quietly died out. But… visit us and the trees will be here.

Here is a previous post showing how we hung the house stack and the left side wall: https:///2010/03/22/hemlock-group/

About two years after acquiring Mountain Hemlock in 2010, I wrote for it with a strange combination and a convenient box.

Hemlock Tree Bonsai

The days we created a ‘mound’ that would stand on this plywood for years (while I scratched my head). 2010. This is the tree that started the adventure of putting trees on slabs of unusual materials (I’m not referring to plywood…)

First Styling Of This Canadian Hemlock

Now we’re fast-forwarding a little to 2013, the second time I put a rope on a tree. I think the first time was in 2011. The high snow from where it came from earlier brought all the branches down to have a big angle with the trunk, so this tree really needs minor adjustments with placement.

Some parts of the tree require a ladder to work on…it’s in the center of the tree.

Detail of a branch showing the color of the leaves. The needles come out in 3-D, which is different from other hemlocks. If the Japanese had this species, I think they would be more enthusiastic about hemlock than the natives there.

Fast forward again, it’s the summer of 2014, bringing Bobby and Conner into the studio.

Mount Royal Seeds

… Scrolling down to Korean slab (right), there is an option for this great wood for its strength.

Side view of the tree on its rock platform in the yard (right). We love the 45 degree cut on dark gray painted Corian. The bevel gives this wood a very large ‘floating’ feel, reducing its visual mass.

Other information from before. Lots of Polytrichum (bright green moss) and other types of moss and lichen, as well as an interesting dark green, also found here in the mountains, Oregon box left (left side and back).

Hemlock Tree Bonsai

But fast forward, it’s January 2015, and the tree is brought in again for some wiring. Bobby in his variety. As usual. You can see your clothing progress from previous seasons with this tree.

Western Hemlock Seeds Grow Your Own Bonsai Tree Tsuga

We were lucky enough to have Matt Riel come into the studio, so we had a real Portland Bonsai Village Day, with some visitors even coming to see the garden.

Yes, occasionally I put the camera down and add trees. We wire this tree easily. Matt and I discussed how over-wiring hemlock destroys its natural grace.

This is what Mountain Hemlock looks like today in January, 2015 after a little shaking. I’m more and more inspired by what I see in the surrounding mountains like the Wabi-Sabi and the quiet forests that don’t have a harsh climate like the Rockies, showing moisture, decay and entropy. In the nearby cascades and shorelines I took a lot of trunks, face and relationships with ecologically wooded areas and looked for trees for bonsai that could convey this. I tried to present this hemlock as simply as possible—without the pot or plate visible—to highlight those qualities.

This tree was featured at the 2016 US National Show where it won ‘Finest Evergreen Bonsai’. In April 2019 meeting member David Bennett gave a presentation on the use of eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) for bonsai.

Hemlock Bonsai Care

David talks about some of the benefits of this tree, it is in the area and it is difficult in the area. It is shade tolerant (although it prefers full sun), cures quickly, has good needle reduction and develops compactness when properly planted.

Because it grows so quickly David prefers to use human wires instead of wire branches, and notes that hemlocks have a lot of “memory” and bends don’t always hold. He also warned to always throw away old wood that needs to be eaten

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