The Eastern Hemlock is a remarkable tree for many reasons. Firstly, it’s the tree with the longest lifespan in the Eastern Forest. Eastern Hemlock can live to be more than 800 years old. This rivals some of the giant trees of the Pacific Coast, such as the Redwood, the Sitka Spruce, and the much larger Western Hemlock. Eastern Hemlock naturally occurs in portions of Canada from Nova Scotia west through Ontario, and into the lake states of Wisconsin and Michigan. It continues south along the Appalachian Mountains into Tennessee, North Carolina, and the northern reaches of both Georgia and Alabama.
Eastern Hemlock typically grows to 60-70 feet tall with a normal diameter of 1-2 feet. But, it can grow to be more than 3 feet in diameter and more than 100 feet tall under the right circumstances. Eastern Hemlock is an important element of the forest when it comes to wildlife habitat. Many animals both large and small feed on it. Deer and moose enjoy its new growth and needles, while squirrels, chipmunks, voles, and other rodents enjoy its seeds. Porcupines love to nibble on its branches. The Black-throated Green Warbler and the Blue-headed Vireo are two bird species that depend on Eastern Hemlock Forests.