Hemlock in a Crowd

Taking a nature walk, hiking your favorite trail, driving to work, walking on campus, or taking your child to the bus stop are all opportunities to see what is blooming in your neighborhood. As you go about your daily business do take time to stop, look and listen! Chances are that you will see something new, or something that you never noticed before.

Even though I have walked around my wooded property many, many times, I still notice new things as the seasons change. Yesterday, I took notice of a small hemlock tree that I had never really observed before. The tree was small, for a hemlock, only about 12 feet high. It was being crowded by some witch hazel and white pine trees. Since the hemlock was not very close to any large, mature trees, I decided to give it a little more space by cutting down the white pines next to it.

The witch hazels I left in place as they would not grow much taller for they are understory trees in our eastern woodlands. However, I have made a note to myself to check on their growth this year to judge if they may be crowding the little hemlock. After all, the eastern hemlock tree, Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carr., is the state tree of Pennsylvania. I think it fitting to protect and encourage the growth of a beautiful specimen of this stately tree.

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