Connecticut Garden Journal: Larch ... Or Tamarack Trees | Connecticut Public Radio
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Connecticut Garden Journal: Larch ... Or Tamarack Trees

Nov 21, 2019

November isn't known for colorful fall leaves in Connecticut, but there's one tree that always impresses me as it's the last to drop its foliage. The larch or tamarack tree is unusual. It has needles like a pine, but it's deciduous and drop its needles in winter. The late fall golden color is striking especially since is occurs after all the other deciduous leaves have fallen.

American and European larch are highly prized trees. They have rot resistant wood, so they're good for building. In fact, the city of Venice, Italy was built mostly with tamarack. They can grow 100 feet tall or there are forms that weep and crawl along the ground. And larch is cold hardy, being grown in Siberia.

Larch or tamarack are easy to grow trees. They have few pests, even though the deer have sampled mine a few times. They grow well in wet soils and look best planted in groves.

Tamaracks make great hedgerow and screening trees, especially when planted close together. But you can also grow this giant in the garden.

There are dwarf and weeping versions that make interesting specimens in the yard. Weeping larch only grows as tall as it's staked. It can take on a rambling form and look like a creature from Dr. Seuss. If not staked it can creep along like a ground cover.

Dwarf varieties, such as Deborah Waxman, only stand 6 to 8 feet tall and can be pruned to grow more bush-like. All larch have soft, light green needles in spring that turn a bluish-green in summer before their fabulous, golden fall color.