Sunday, May 9, 2010

Larch

Larix

The foliage is deciduous on all Larches and appear early in spring. The needle-like leaves are borne singly on vigorous shoots and in dense whorls on older shoots.
The leafy stem tips of the Larch can be used in the making of a tea that is rich in Vitamin C.
The male and female flowers are borne on separate clusters on the same plant in spring. The make flowers are drooping and yellow; the female flowers are upright and red. They are borne in spring with the emerging foliage.
The timber is hard, heavy and strong. Rot resistant, the timber is used for utility poles, railway ties, cabinetry and flooring. The wood is not suitable for pulp.
The Larches prefer sun to partial shade on moist, deep, cool, light, well drained soil ( only 2 species tolerate swampy conditions ). They also prefer a humid climate with adequate summer rainfall.
The Larix genus can thrive in both acidic and alkaline soil.
Canker and Larch Blister can affect Larch however nearly all Larch trees that I have seen are in good health. Many plant diseases are oppertunistic, meaning they affect trees growing in unfavorable conditions whos defense mechanisms are already supressed.
Larches should be planted in April just before leafing out. Larches do not like root disturbance and are best planted on their final location while small and not moved again. Mulch on top of the roots is preferrable as lawns will slow growth.
Young trees should be pruned to a single leader and gradually limbed up.
They can be propagated from seed in spring which will germinate in about 6 weeks.

* historical archive photo


Larix chinensis ( Chinese Larch )
Also called Larix potaninii var. chinensis. A small tree native only to severe high elevations ( 2600 to 3500 meters ) on the Qinlang Mountains in Shaanxi Province, China. Some records include: largest on record - 50 feet with a trunk diameter of 2 feet. It is endangered in the wild.

Larix decidua ( European Larch )
A fast growing, large tree native to Europe forming extensive high altitude forests from the Alps to the Caucasus Mountains. It has also been introduced to other parts of northern Europe where it is now wild. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 6 feet; first year - 1.5 feet; 2nd year - 4.5 feet; 5 years - 17 feet; 10 years - 43 x 30 feet; 18 years - 60 feet; largest on record - 220 x 50 feet with a trunk diameter of 11.6 feet; largest in Iowa - 130 x 50 feet in Dubuque; largest in Vermont - trunk diameter of 5 feet; longest lived - 1000 years. Large trees grow at Longwood Gardens near Philly. The European Larch can grow as fast as 4 inches per week until October. Young trees are conical but older trees have a crown of wide spreading horizontal branches with erect branches higher up in the crown.
The soft needle-like foliage, up to 2.5 inches in length, is bright green turning to orange late in autumn.
The upright, brown, oval cones are up to 1.5 inches in length.
The bark on young trees is smooth and gray later becoming red-brown, coarsely ridged and fissured. The European Larch is valued for its timber.
Hardy zones 2 to 7 ( tolerating as low as -60 F ). Hardiness results have varied wildly depending on seed source and shelter in trials on the northern Great Plains at Indian Head, Sask. and Brandon, Manitoba through it can be summarized that Larix laricina is much more successful in that region. Unfortunately prone to canker and may be prone to damage from frost that occur late in spring. Tolerant of poor and limey soils.

* photo taken on annual Horticultural Society of Maryland Garden Tour


* photo taken on August 3 2010 @ University of Guelph Arboretum, Ontario


* photo of unknown internet source

* photos taken on July 31 2011 in Hyde Park, NY





* historic archive photos


'Pendula'
A graceful, fast growing, dense, mop-head tree with very pendulous cascading branchlets. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 6 feet; 10 years - 12 x 4; largest on record - 15 x 10 feet. It needs to be staked when young for height. If not staked when young it will grow as more of a trailing groundcover.
The foliage is mid-green.

Larix x eurolepis ( Dunkeld Larch )
A very large, very rapid growing tree reaching over 100 feet that is the hybrid between Larix decidua & L. kaempferi.
Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 7 feet; first year - 2 feet; 5 years - 20 feet; 6 years - 27 feet with a trunk diameter of 5 inches; 10 years - 43 x 30 feet; 20 years - 65 feet; 60 years - 135 feet with a trunk diameter of 4 feet; largest on record - 220 x 70 feet with a trunk diameter of 7 feet
The soft needle-like foliage, up to 3 inches in length is medium green turning to orange in autumn.
The upright, brown, conical cones are up to an inch in length.
The shoots are yellowish and the scaly bark is red-brown.
Hardy zones 2 to 7. Resistant to canker which was ravaged the European Larch in Scotland where this hybrid originated. Many of these trees are in second, third or more generation or backcrossed with one of the parents and are therefore not purebred.

* photos taken on July 26 2015 @ Niagara Parks Bot. Gardens, Niagara Falls, ON

* historic archive photos


'Varied Direction'
Vigorous growing, dense and weeping, it is similar in habit to Weeping Atlas Cedar. Some records include: 10 years - 10 x 10 feet; largest on record - 15 x 30 feet with a trunk diameter of 1 foot.
The extra long leaves are luxuriant bright green.

* photo taken on August 2 2010 in Bayfield, Ontario

* photo taken on August 3 2010 @ University of Guelph Arboretum, Ontario

* photo taken on October 14 2010 in Crownsville, MD

* photos taken on Aug 2 2012 in Bayfield, Ontario


Larix gmelinii ( Dahurian Larch )
Also called Larix kamtschatica A fast growing, rather open, narrow conical large tree reaching 100 feet that forms extensive forests along with Larix sibirica east of the River Yenisei in Siberia, Kamchatka, Korea, northeast Mongolia and neighboring northern China. It grows in both mountain ranges and swamps north to subarctic plains.
Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 3 feet; 40 years - 71 x 52 feet with a trunk diameter of 2 feet; largest on record - 180 feet with a trunk diameter of 5 feet; largest in England - 120 feet with a trunk diameter of 3 feet. It is known to live as long as 544 years.
The growing season is from May until October.
The soft needle-like foliage, up to 3 inches in length is glossy bright green turning to intense bright yellow late in autumn.
The upright, oval cones are purple ripening glossy brown.
The bark is gray, scaly and fissured.
Hardy zones 0 to 6 ( tolerating -80 F and even colder ); it makes a good candidate for shade and shelter in the northern Great Plains and even parts of Alaska. Tolerant of swampy sites, frost and pollution.

* photos of unknown internet source


* historical archive photos


subsp 'olgensis'
hairy light brown twigs on this regional variant native to the Olga Bay area in eastern Siberia.

'Principis-Rupprechtii'
A very large, very vigorous tree with verdant brilliant green needle-like leaves up to 4 inches in length.
Very drought and wind tolerant.

Larix griffithi ( Sikkim Larch )
A very long lived tree native to the high mountains of the eastern Himalayas up to 60 feet or rarely more. The narrow conical crown has main branches that are horizontal to upswept and branchlets that are pendulous.
Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 2 feet; largest on record - 135 x 30 feet with a trunk diameter of 3 feet.
The soft needles, up to 2.2 inches, are light blue-green in summer turning to bright yellow or orange in autumn.
The upright, ovoid cones are up to 3 to as much as 6 inches in length.
The cones of the Sikkim Larch are the largest of any Larch. The cones are reddish while developing, ripening to brown.
The shoots are light yellow-brown.
The bark is deeply fissured and dark brown.
Hardy north to zone 5 in continental climates such as eastern North America, however only hardy to zone 7 in England where late spring frosts damage the foliage. Prefers full sun and tolerant of drought, clay and temporary flooding.

* historic archive photo


Larix kaempferi ( Japanese Larch )
A fast growing, large, dense, broadly-conical tree reaching 100 feet that is native to high mountains of central Japan. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 6 feet; first year - 2 feet; 5 years - 20 feet; 10 years - 43 x 30 feet; 20 years - 60 feet; 40 years - trunk diameter of 2.8 feet; 60 years - 120 feet; largest on record - 170 x 40 feet with a trunk diameter of 8 feet. Large trees grow at Longwood Gardens near Philly. It has reached 30 x 12 feet with a trunk diameter of 6 inches in 12 years at Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa, Canada.
The growing season is from May until October.
The soft needle-like foliage, up to 2 inches in length is dark green turning to orange in autumn.
The upright, brown, oval cones are up to 1.3 inches in length.
The twigs on Japanese Larch are reddish where most other species are straw colored.
The scaly bark is orange-red.
Hardy zones 2 to 8; it is tolerant of heat, flooding, windy sites and poor and acidic soil. Canker resistant and more pollution tolerant than Larix decidua.

* photo taken on August 3 2010 @ University of Guelph Arboretum, Ontario

* historic archive photos


'Blue Haze'
a handsome tree with gray-blue foliage.

'Blue Rabbit'
Fast growing and columnar, up to 40 feet or more with intensely bright blue to blue-green foliage.

'Diane'
Very fast growing and upright pyramidal in habit with contorted branches.
Some records include: 10 years - 20 x 8 feet; largest on record - 43 x 17 feet with almost a foot diameter trunk.
The foliage turns intense golden-yellow during autumn.

'Jacobsen's Pyramid'
A very fast growing, very columnar narrow tree. Some records include: fastest growth rate - 2 feet; 10 years - 12 x 8 feet; 20 years - 20 x 8 feet.
The blue-green foliage turns intense orange-yellow during autumn.

'Pendula'
A very elegant miniature tree with weeping branches, reaches up to 15 x 24 feet.

'Stiff Weeping'
A dwarf form with very pendulous branches and lush medium green foliage.



Larix laricina ( Tamarack Larch )
Also called American Larch. A large conifer reaching around 70 feet that is native to Canada and the northeast U.S. ( from central Alaska to northwestern Northwest Territories to southwest Nunavut to far northern Ontario to all of Labrador and Newfoundland; south to central Alberta to central Minnesota to northern Indiana to northern Ohio & Pennsylvania ). It is typically found in swamps and peat bogs in the wild. It was locally abundant in the Windsor/Essex County, Ontario region before 1900 but has mostly disappeared there in the wild. Some records include: first year - 9 inches; fastest recorded growth rate - 6 feet with a trunk diameter increase of 0.5 inches; 3 years - 2.5 feet; 9 years - 18 feet; 18 years - 34 ( average ) feet; largest on record - 200 x 40 feet with a trunk diameter of 4 feet.
In Canada an outstanding tree grows at the Cataraqui Cemetary in Kingston, Ontario and some of the largest in the U.S. include trees in Coventry, CT & Phoenix, MD. Generally somewhat short-lived, 150 years is old age for one of these trees, 335 years would be the record.
The soft needle-like foliage, up to 2 inches in length is blue-green turning to golden-yellow late in autumn.
The upright, brown, oval cones are up to 0.5 or rarely an inch in length.
The thin scaly bark is indian red to red-brown in color.
The wood weighs around 38 pounds per square foot.
Hardy zones 1 to 6 tolerating temperatures anywhere from -85 F to 110 F. Seed sourced from the prairie steppes near Sewell, Manitoba has thrived in trials at both Indian Head, Sask and Brandon, Manitoba on the northern Great Plains. The shallow wide roots are tolerant of flooding and even marshy soil. It is prone to Larch Sawfly which has potential to be deadly.

* photo taken on August 4 2010 @ Birnam Woods Arboretum, Stratford, Ontario

* photo taken on August 5 2010 in Clinton, Ontario

* photo of unknown internet source

* photos taken on Sep 15 2013 in Howard Co., MD

* photo taken on Apr 17 2016 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photo taken on July 14 2016 in Tobermory, ON

* photo taken on Jul 18 2017 @ Dominion Arboretum, Ottawa, ON

* photo taken by P. Freeman Heim @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

* historical archive photos


Larix lyallii ( Alpine Larch )
A medium-size tree native to subalpine areas in western North America where it is often buried in deep snows during the winter. In the wild it is found in mountainous parts of southern British Columbia & Alberta as well as Washington State, Idaho and Montana.
Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - feet; 12 years - 30 feet with a trunk diameter of 6 inches ( in England where it grows faster than its native range ); 20 years - 15 feet ( average ); largest on record - 200 x 40 feet with a trunk diameter of 7 feet; largest in Washington State - 110 x 40 feet with a turnk diameter of 6.3 feet; longest lived - 800 years.
The often crooked and weeping branches create an irregular crown.
The soft tipped, 4-angled needles, up to 2 inches in length are bright green turning gray-green in summer then to orange in autumn.
The brown, upright oval cones are up to 2 inches in length.
The orange-brown twigs are often white cottony densely felted when young.
The thin bark is scaly and furrowed.
Hardy zones 2 to 6 ( zone 8 in England ) tolerating as low as -60 F
Often found on pure stands on poor rocky soil at high elevations near the tree line in its natural range.

* photo taken by F.W. Cleator @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

* historical archive photos


Larix mastersiana ( Chinese Larch )
Possibly a subspecies of Larix griffithii. A vigorous, large tree with pendulous branchlets that is native to mountains of Sichuan Province in central China where it is endangered.
Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 7 feet; largest on record - 82 feet with a trunk diameter of 3 feet.
The soft needles are up to 1.4 inches in length.
The brown, upright oval cones are up to 2 inches in length.
The bark is dark brown and fissured.
Hardy north to zone 6. Prefers cool moist climates.

Larix occidentalis ( Western Larch )
A spectacular, very large, straight trunked, open, narrow conical crowned tree reaching up to 190 feet that is native to the western U.S. ( from Bella Coola, British Columbia to the Alberta Rockies, south to Oregon and northern Utah ). It is often found in pure stands in the wild. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 6 feet; 4 years - 10 + feet; 20 years - 55 feet; largest on record - 300 x 35 feet with a trunk diameter of 11 feet ( though trees over 200 feet are now extremely rare due to logging ); longest lived - 920 years. In the Great Plains and Midwest it still thrives but grows more slowly: growth rate - 3 feet ( Fargo, ND ); 5 years - 10 x 5 feet ( Ames, Iowa ); 10 years - 30 x 15 feet in Madison, WI; largest in Ohio - 67 x 20 feet in Wooster. A tree of 60 feet in height was measured at Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa, Canada.
The Western Larch, the tallest of the Larches, is strong branched and has a deep wide root system often stemming down from a swollen base.
A very valuable timber tree in its native range.
The light spine tipped needles, up to 2 inches in length are bright green to blue-green. The foliage appears early in spring and remains clean until turning intense golden-yellow to orange in autumn.
The purple ripening to purple-brown, upright oval cones are up to 1.5 inches in length.
The orange-brown twigs are often hairy at first.
The thick, red-brown to purple -gray bark has flat, cinnamon plates with deep wide furrows between.
Hardy zones 3 to 8 ( tolerating as low as -58 F ), some of the most hardy seed source can even be grown in parts of Saskatchewan. Typically found on moist mountain slopes in the wild, it is drought tolerant in cultivation or at least more drought tolerant than Larix laricina.

* photo of unknown internet source

* photo taken by Ray M. Filloon @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
* photos taken by K.D. Swan @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

* historical archive photos


Larix potanini ( Chinese Larch )
A handsome large tree with drooping branches that is native to mountainous areas of Sichuan and southern Gansu Province in China. It is among the most important coniferous trees in western China. It is very rare and often grows poorly elsewhere. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 5 feet; largest on record - 170 feet with a trunk diameter of 4 feet
The 4-angled aromatic needles, up to 1.5 inches in length are blue-gray turning orange in autumn.
The shoots are purplish or orange-brown.
The bark is gray-brown, rough and fissured.
Hardy zones 5 to 9 tolerating as low as -26 F

* historic archive photo


Larix siberica ( Siberian Larch )
Also called Larix russica. It is a very fast growing, large, extremely hardy tree, reaching around 100 feet, that is native to northeast Russia, western Siberia, Xinjiang Province of northwest China and much of Mongolia. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 5 feet; 7 years - 13 x 6.5 feet ( average ); 20 years - 50 feet; largest on record - 174 x 30 feet with a trunk diameter of 12 feet; largest in North Dakota - 60 x 25 feet; longest lived - 750 years. A tree of 50 x 30 feet grows at Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa, Canada. The branches do not accumulate and break from heavy snowfalls due to them sweeping down and rising at the tips. It is the tallest tree in St. Petersburg, Russia and is an excellent lumber tree in its native range. It is among the most important forest trees of Russia.
The very narrow leaves up to 3 inches in length, are bright green turning to golden-yellow during autumn.
The abundant scaly brown, upright oval cones are small.
The red-brown bark is attractive, deeply furrowed and gnarled on older trees.
Hardy zones 0 to 5, hates heat but more drought tolerant than most Larches. An excellent landscape tree for Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba on the Canadian Prairies. It is also recommended for parts of Alaska.

* photo taken on Jul 17 2017 in Ottawa, ON
* photos taken on Jul 19 2017 @ Major's Hill Park, Ottawa, ON

* photo of unknown internet source

* USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Herman, D.E., et al. 1996. North Dakota tree handbook

* historic archive photos


'Lindquist'
Faster growing than regular Larix sibirica, reaching up to 12.5 x 6.5 feet in 5 years in Alberta with a dense, broad pyramidal habit.
With excellent yellow fall color, this is an excellent deciduous conifer for the northern Great Plains and the Canadian Shield. Very drought tolerant ( most other Larch are not ) and moderate saline tolerant, it is a great tree for use as shelterbelts on the Alberta, Sask. and Manitoba prairies. This tree is long lived and its deep roots do not interfere with nearby crops.

Pseudolarix amabilis ( Golden Larch )
A large wide pyramidal to eventually rounded tree native to eastern China that can reach 80 feet or more. It is critically endangered in the wild where it was once very common. It once had a much wider range before the last Ice Age that included east and western Siberia, central Asia, Europe, Japan and western United States. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 6 feet; 5 years - 14 x 5 feet; largest on record - 170 x 80 feet with a trunk diameter of 10 feet. 18 inch seedlings planted in March 1995 in Huntsville, AB reaches as large as 10 feet with a trunk diameter of 2 inches in July 1997. In climates with hot humid summers, the Golden Larch is very fast growing, in climates with cool summers such as England it grows slowly. Trees as large as 100 feet or more already exist in New York, New Jersey and Connecticutt. The largest in Pennsylvania grows at Longwood Gardens.
The needle-like leaves are borne singly on vigorous shoots and in dense whorls on older shoots. The soft tipped flexible needles, up to 3 inches in length are bright green turning yellow to orange in autumn before finally deepening to reddish brown and finally falling with the first hard frost.
The brown, upright oval cones are up to 2 inches in length. The cones break up before falling.
The red-brown bark becomes deeply fissured cracking into small square plates with age.
Hardy zones 4 to 9 ( possible 3 if sheltered ) in full sun to partial shade on moist soil. Its limit of hardiness is still not quite known, lab testing shows that it is tissue hardy to almost -50 F but young trees have been killed to the snowline in northern Maine ( fully hardy in coastal Maine ). It has not survived longer than 6 years at zone 4b Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa, Canada but the alkaline soils there help with their demise. It does require hot humid summers for rapid growth and to harden the wood. Trees in New England and western Europe are much slower growing and may only reach about 20 feet in 20 years.
It prefers light, deep, cool, acidic, well drained soil however not necessarily fussy either. It is very heat tolerant and not prone to pests or disease. It does however hate salt. Young trees should be pruned to a single leader.

* photos taken on July 17 2010 @ Morris Arboretum, Philly, PA




* photo taken on July 31 2011 in Hyde Park, NY

* photos taken on Aug 25 2011 @ Scott Arboretum, Swarthmore, PA


* photo taken on Aug 17 2012 in Baltimore Co., MD

* photos taken on Apr 23 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

* photo taken by Dr. Nick V. Kurzenko @ CalPhotos

* historical archive photo

1 comment:

  1. Comprehensive overview of Larix. But...
    * Remove pix that are poor examples of some aspect of the tree.
    * Annotate the pix with what you are trying to illustrate.
    * Don't do pix at small scales.

    Anyway: Would you compare the use of Siberian and western larch as landscapping trees?

    ReplyDelete