October 17, 2014

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Larix laricina – Eastern Larch

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Characteristics

Larix laricina or eastern larch also known as tamarack is a Minnesota native. Larix spp. are deciduous conifers, the needles develop a brilliant yellow color in the autumn and fall from the tree. In northern bogs autumn leaf color puts tamarack in stark contrast to their black spruce (Picea mariana) cohorts.
Medium tree height: 40-80′
Canopy spreads: 25-35′, Pyramidal crown
Flowers: Monoecious
Drought Tolerance: Intolerant
Shade Tolerance: Intolerant
Soil pH Tolerance: Intolerant to high pH
Poor Soil Drainage: Intolerant to flooding
Salt Tolerance: Tolerant to salt spray and tolerant to soil salts.
Insect pests: Larch casebearer, Larch Sawfly
Larix decidua, European larch in contrast can be a large elegant tree. Specimens of Larix spp. can be found in parks and wild areas (Larix laricina). Trees have thin, smooth gray bark on young stems later maturing to a rough, scaly, gray to reddish bark. Foliage is deciduous, bluish-green in summer with natural yellowing in the fall prior to dropping for the winter.There are several species planted in Minnesota: Larix decidua, Larix siberica, Larix kaempferi and the native Larix laricina.

Did you know

Tamarack prefers a moist, cool soil. So, on the southern edge of its range (Minnesota) it does become restricted to bogs, bog edges and similar areas near lake shores, river banks and stream beds. However, farther north in its range (Canada, Alaska, and the Northern Territories) the tree does very well on better drained uplands where it can be found with species like black ash, red maple, northern white cedar, and balsam fir.