Hemlock Clump First Styling-

This tree has been sitting quietly in the yard for several years now. It’s an old plant, the bark is warty and thick and that indicates great age for a hemlock.

Mountain hemlock, Tsuga mertensiana, come from the upper forest zones of the Pacific Northwest, and are often the last tree standing the higher elevations. They naturally form interesting clumps, where smaller trees are protected by the larger ones from winds and snow. Although on this specimen the trunks all arise from the same base and is one tree, it did remind me of those naturally occurring clumps of separate trees.


This is where we started, fresh out of the snowstorm. At least the week it was styled maybe it felt at home…mountain weather coming down to the valley.


One of the design puzzles of this hemlock was the smallest trunk. Do we cut off that low limb? Or should we make the low limb the trunkline, and raise it up? It’s one or the other, for otherwise that limb is too long and too thick to be there.


We cut it off. The branching was better on the upright part, and the thinner branches were more in scale with the small diameter trunk. Tree is 59″ / 150 cm high. Another one for a slab…


This is what you get with strong root growth…the wood of the box is swelling. You see this a lot with trees, rarely with shrubs.

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  1. rschlafer says:

    Very cool Michael.


  2. Pierre Seguin says:

    Why do you do this to me? We cannot grow these Mountain Hemlock in northeast Québec! They are just awesome. Beautifull tree. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Graham says:

    Great looking hemlock clump Michael. Did you consider removing the top of the secondary main tree on the far right, where it comes off at angle?

  4. Another stunning tree!
    You’ve inspired so many of us on the west coast of Canada. For me, Mountain Hemlock became a must have. I just got one and have been scanning your blog for info, as nobody seems to say much about them in detail. Michael, being spring for us now, and not noticing bud swell yet, would you say yay or nay to cutting a couple thick upright branches now which will have to be removed? I understand that wiring is better in fall.
    Thanks for what you do,


    • crataegus says:

      Thanks for the kind words!
      Yes you might do some pruning now before bud swell, but pruning is really better in the fall, at the same time as wiring.

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