How to Plant Tsuga Mertsiana


Tsuga mertsiana, or mertensiana, is the scientific name for a coniferous tree commonly known as the mountain hemlock. It is grown mainly in the lower-elevation as well as sub-alpine forests in British Columbia, also in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and California. The mountain hemlock can be recognized by the way its top tips to one side. This is a slow-growing evergreen tree, which thrives in very moist soil and needs long winters and short, cool summers. The soil in which you plant your tsuga mertensiana should be loose, coarse-textured and somewhat acidic (a pH of 3.4 to 5.0).

Step 1

Choose a shady to partially sunny location in your garden for the mountain hemlock tree. Remember, although it is slow-growing, it can grow to be quite large.

Step 2

Spread a 3-inch layer of pine bark or cedar mulch over the soil and allow it to sit over the winter.

Step 3

Dig up the planting area to a depth of one foot, turning the soil and crushing any large clumps of soil.

Step 4

Add a 4-inch layer of sphagnum peat moss and a 2-inch layer of compost. Mix this in well with the soil.

Step 5

Dig a hole twice the width of the pot in which the mountain hemlock is currently growing, and the same depth. Gently remove the sapling from the pot and place it in the hole. Backfill the hole, tamping the soil as you go to remove any air pockets.

Step 6

Water the soil well, allow it to drain, and water again.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood mulch, such as fir bark or cedar
  • Shovel
  • Sphagnum peat moss
  • Compost
  • Water


  • USDA Forest Service: Tsuga mertensiana
  • British Columbia Ministry of Forests: The Ecology of the Mountain Hemlock Zone
  • Northwest Connections: Mountain Hemlock
Keywords: how to plant tsuga mertensiana, how to plant a mountain hemlock tree, tsuga mertsiana

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.