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Replacements for Hemlock

Hemlock Trees
By Nicholas A. Tonelli from Northeast Pennsylvania, USA – East Branch Swamp Natural Area (6), CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Replacements for Hemlocks

In the last post, we went over the reason why hemlocks are hard to find, and in this post, we will go over some possible replacements for hemlock. And although I am doing this, don’t let this dissuade you. If you really want to grow a hemlock, then you should. You just need to be prepared to do the extra work of spraying if it comes to it. But if you do not want to hassle with it, there are plenty of other evergreens that you can grow instead.

Consider the evergreens in the following list:

  1. Chamaecyparis

    Chamaecyparis or False Cypress is a large group of evergreens containing many varieties that we love and rely on in our own landscapes. In addition to the varieties listed, there are many other varieties.

    1. Soft Serve ®

      Soft Serve is a worthy choice from Proven Winners to replace hemlock. The nice thing about it is that it is smaller in size than your typical hemlock, so you can use it places where you would not be able to fit a hemlock. Want further interest? Also, consider Soft Serve Gold®. H. 7-10′, Sp. 5-6′, Zones 4-8

    2. Golden King

      Golden King is another good choice as far as Chamaecyparis goes. Easy to grow. As the name suggests, it is gold in color. Plant in full sun for best color. H. up to 40′, Sp. 15-18′, Zones 5

    3. Oregon Blue

      Oregon Blue is a nice variety of Chamaecyparis. One of the most beautiful Chamaecyparis, it has a unique blue color. H. 30′, Sp. 8-15′, Zone 5

    4. Sullivan

      Very nice plant. Soft green color. Looks very much like Soft Serve®, but slightly taller. H. 20′, Sp. 8-12′, Zone 5

    5. Willamette Elegance

      This green Chamaecyparis is an excellent substitute for both Hemlock and Leyland Cypress. Grows in sun to part shade. H. 15-25′, Sp.10-15′, Zone 5

    6. Alaskan Cedar

      Alaskan Cedar is a very beautiful tree that makes a great specimen plant. There are many different varieties to choose from, including weeping and narrow varieties.

  2. Spruce

    As far as the replacements for Hemlocks, Spruces are one of the best. Just on their own, spruces are a great tree.

    1. Norway Spruce

      One of the easiest trees to grow. If you are not sure what evergreen to plant, Norway Spruce is the one that many go with. There are also many sub-varieties that you can choose. H. 40-50+’, Sp. 15-20+’, Zones 2-7

    2. Serbian Spruce

      One of the best spruce. Green with a silver tint. Grows in full sun to partial shade. H. 40+’, Sp. 15-20+’, Zones 4-7

  3. Arborvitae

    Although they often do not get as wide, Arborvitaes can be a good replacement for Hemlocks. The good thing about these arbs is that they tend to grow fast which makes them good for hedges and to fill areas.

    1. Green Giant

      This Arb. is an excellent variety. It can grow up to 3 feet a year, rivaling Leyland Cypress. Very beautiful. Deer Resistant. H. 40-50′, Sp. 15-25′, Zones 5-8

    2. Atrovirens

      Very similar to ‘Green Giant’ only slightly smaller and denser in growth. Deer Resistant. H. 30-40′, Sp. 15-20′, Zones 5-8

    3. Steeplechase

      If you want Green Giant, but don’t have the room Steeplechase is the arb for you! Though growth rate is much the same as ‘Green Giant’ but the terminal height is half the size of Green Giant. Deer Resistant. H. 20-25′, Sp. 8-12′, Zones 5-8

  4. Eastern Red Cedar

    Eastern Red Cedar is actually a type of Juniper. There are also other varieties of Juniper that you might consider as a replacement, like ‘Moonglow’, ‘Wichita Blue’, and others but we will focus on Eastern Juniper.

    1. Eastern Red Cedar

      Although the foliage is different in texture, Red Cedar is very similar in color to Hemlock. Very tough. Plant in full sun. H. 30′, Sp. 15′, Zones 3-8

Can you think of any other trees that would make a good replacement? Have you grown any of the trees we listed? Comment Below!

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