hemlock tree

(Question)

Hi,
last spring I transplanted a small hemlock (about 4′ tall) to an area that is basically the same soil composition, mostly clay. It struggled through the summer and lost a number of needles at the top. Some of the needles on the top branches remain but I didn’t see much new growth during the season. It is looking very sad and bedraggled and I am wondering if there is anything that I can do to help it along this spring. I did add some evergreen spike fertilizer last summer but it didn’t seem to help much. Thanks in advance.

(Answer)

With regards to specific information on transplanting Canadian hemlock (Tsuga) , the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science at Ohio State University says the “Canadian Hemlock can be quite finicky in its exacting requirements for transplant success” and that best results occur “in an evenly moist but very well-drained soil, which is rich in organic matter and acidic to neutral in pH, lightly mulched to maintain a cool root zone, and sited in partial sun to partial shade conditions” so you may want to try adding compost and mulch to the site.

In addition, Toronto Master Gardeners at www.torontomastergardeners.ca have developed a very comprehensive list of Gardening Guides in partnership with the City of Toronto including Growing Trees and Shrubs Organically which includes a section on Care After Planting  at http://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/index.php/factsheet/growing-trees-and-shrubs-organically-a-toronto-master-gardeners-guide/. and Planting A Tree: A Toronto Master Gardener’s Guide at http://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/index.php/factsheet/planting-a-tree-a-toronto-master-gardeners-guide/.