You are here:

Plant Diseases/hemlock defoliation


all of my 30 or so 12 foot high hemlocks are are dying from the ground up .at 6 feet or so they are

ok but loose needles . question is  if i cut the top off the hemlock @springs start will i get shoots on the trunk now holding only yesteryears dead branches ?   HELP !!!!!!

Dear Paul, This sounds absolutely terrible.  If the trees were dying from the top down, there could be a possibility of drought, and cutting them back might get them to branch out more, but when they start dying from the bottom, there is usually some sort of infestation or some other reason why the trees are dying out.  If you cut the tops off, you probably will force some growth out of the bottom, but unfortunately this is probably only going to delay the inevitable and you will end up losing these trees.  One possibility with hemlock is wooly adelgid, which is a problem with those trees.  There is a remote possibility that spraying the trees could remove whatever pest is destroying them, so it would be worth a call to your local extension service, but you will probably end up losing these trees.  I wish I had better news for you.  Good luck, Melissa

Plant Diseases

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Melissa Johnston


Plant diseases, landscaping, tropical plants, roses, herbs, plant care, grafting, horticulture, plant identification, anything about plants I can likely answer.


35 years experience in various plant businesses, 1984 Certified Texas Master Gardener.

Master Gardener Association of Texas charter member

none as of yet, but I have a plant q&a book I am in process of submitting.

Magna cum laude graduate of Texas A&M, 1978

Awards and Honors
Plant growing awards, highest grade for Texas Master Gardener graduates.

Past/Present Clients
Past member of and was very highly rated. Owned landscape company in the past, Almost Paradise, and was very successful despite little equipment, no help, and no advertising. Lived well for two years until 9/11.

©2017 All rights reserved.