Belonging to the Pinaceae family, larch is a conifer that is found in high-altitude forests or mountainous regions. The larch, also known as “Larix decidua” or “European larch,” lives for nearly half a millennium before dying.  Thus, well-liked for its pyramidal bearing and its solid bark, this tree needs to be grown in large areas in order to thrive. 

Used in the shipbuilding industry for the quality and strength of its bark, the larch is a particularly robust and rustic tree. Accustomed to the great outdoors, this magnificent conifer flowers upon the arrival of spring, after which its flowering heads turn into a series of small bristle cones. When, after a few years, its growth is completed and adult size is reached, the larch is almost 130 feet tall. Since the tree’s roots tend to develop to a great extent, it is important for the larch to be planted in a well isolated area where its growth will be not be hindered. For larger gardens, it is possible to grow species such as the common larch or the Japanese larch, also known as “Larix kaempferi” or “Larix leptolepsis.” However, if you only have limited space for growing your tree, preferably opt for smaller species such as the Weeping European Larch or “Larix decidua Puli” because of their less substantial development. Apart from these few species, there are other varieties such as the Chineses Golden Larch, or “Pseudolarix amabilis,” that is easily recognizable by its particularly imposing size and the beautiful golden yellow colour it takes in autumn. Highly decorative, these varieties are also ideal for embellishing gardens, provided they have plenty of room to grow and expand.

How to plant larch? 

Like a vast majority of its fellow species, larch must be planted in October or November, that is to say, at the onset of autumn. Accustomed to damp soil in regions where it grows naturally, your young conifer will thrive in slightly acidic, compact ground. You should know that the larch has no specific requirement in terms of sun exposure. In this regard, it can be equally satisfied with a sunny location or a relatively shady one. Nevertheless, it is important for the larch to be exposed to daily sunlight, which means that it is better to avoid over-shaded areas. During planting, make sure that no other tree will grow near your conifer and remember that the soil must be very deep for the root system to properly develop. Furthermore, it should be noted that the larch generally thrives at high altitudes where the surrounding air is pure. Consequently, this magnificent conifer can sometimes have difficulty adjusting to urban areas, in which case it must be planted in a garden where the air is pure and fresh.

How to maintain larch? 

The larch is a tree that will surprise you by its amazing ease of cultivation. Accustomed to alpine regions and their hostile climates, this tree usually grows alone, without the need to be maintained in any way. Of course, a regular supply of water will prove essential in the months following planting, but outside of that particular care you will not have to worry about anything else regarding your tree’s healthy growth. Very hardy, it perfectly withstands cold winters without requiring protection from the cold, rain, or harsh weather conditions. Ergo, once planted, it is best to let your young larch grow at its own pace without worrying too much about it.

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Published in Conifers by Alexander on 04 Jul 2011