New Hemlock Design

I just acquired this hemlock at a nursery in Portland. There was not tag so I don’t know the specific type of hemlock e.g. Western, Mountain, Canadian, etc. It looks like it was collected vs. grown as nursery stock. My inspiration was a hemlock grouping on a slab at the Portland Japanese Garden in May 2021. I purchased it with the intent of bonsai but if it doesn’t lend itself to a bonsai I’m OK just having it in my yard. As you can see the tree doesn’t have a lot of lower branch needle mass/healthy branches. Interested to know from experts what they would do with this tree. Shorten? encourage more growth at the lower part of the tree? Jin on of the trees in the grouping? Thanks in advance.

Do you have any pictures of the tree?

Yes, a photo would help. :slight_smile:


Looks like a mountain hemlock to me. Depending on where you bought it, it is very likely it could be a collected tree (I’ve seen collected trees at Portland Nursery and a few other nurseries in the area).

Anyway, it think it would be bonsai-able. It would definitely be a taller bonsai, even if you chop it half-way up. I think it would have a nice flowing design with some very elegant lines.

Thanks Nick. Do you have any experience with hemlocks? I am interested in hearing ideas about where to begin. The branches are very long with not much needle mass close to the trunk. I would like to compress the design to create more brach pads vs. long leggy branches. I’ve watched a couple of hemlock videos but not quite sure what to do.

I don’t have much experience with hemlocks. I have one western hemlock, which I’m finding does not back bud easily, but when wiring the branches you can move them back or forward a little to help compress the design (rather than go just straight down).

Good point. Thanks Nick. Hopefully others will chime in here.