fourteener (July 25th, 2013)
Western Larch VS. American Larch (Tamarack) VS. European Larch?
Basically just asking for everyone's opinions on which of these species of larch makes for the "best" bonsai, keeping in mind I'm somewhat of a bonsai beginner.
A great local nursery nearby me has American Larch (Tamarack) and I believe European Larch. But they do not have and western larch. I didn't get a sold look at any of the specimens yet. And I would be willing to seek out a Western Larch depending on the feedback I get!
Also I think it would be pretty funny for me to develop a Western Larch as a bonsai considering I've hugged the LARGEST Western Larch in the world when I was out in Montana (literally is, theres a whole big plaque next to it)... I'm attaching the picture of me hugging it for comic relief
fourteener (July 25th, 2013)
First off, if you are interested in larch you must get Nick Lenz's book Bonsai from the Wild 2nd Ed. Its available on StoneLantern.com and it the best information source on larch, period.
American larch have smaller buds, cones, and needles making them superior over European or Japanese. Plus they are native which is awesome. They are slow to bark up, though.
I am expecting that you will find very little info on Western Larch as bonsai. I've always wondered why there are no outstanding yamadori larch from the west coast (at least I've never seen them). My friend and forum member WireMe may have answered the question. Larch are best collected right before budbreak, but he said high alpine larch usually leaf out while the slopes are still snowy! American larch are usually the first things to bud out in the spring as well, but they don't grow on mountains as far as I know.
Anyway, I know I just went off on a bit of a tangent but certainly euro and american larch are both awesome. Get the best specimen you can find and work from there. Even better, prowl around upstate New York and try to find somewhere where you can legally collect interesting American Larch.
p.s. holy crap that is a big larch!
I agree, that is one amazing larch. Mine must be American based on looking at that. I have never seen a tamarack larger than a telephone pole here in MN.
American larch are probably best. Everything is more in scale.
I own a couple American larch and one Japanese larch, the needles on the Japanese larch are nearly twice as long as on the american. American larch seem to get more of a twiggy branch structure compared to the Japanese larch. The American larch also gets a nice soft blue color in the spring, which is a definite plus. I've seen European larch and could barely tell the difference from the American, only they had slightly longer, greener needles. I've never seen a western larch in person, so I really can't say anything about them. I really prefer the american larch of the ones I've seen though.
My vote is for American (tamarack) larch. seeing as your upstate (NY) it aught to be your favorite too. Naturally stunted larch in their uncounted millions litter upstate ditches from Albany (NY) to Prince Edward Island (and most of Maine).
Size is a winner, price (free) is sterling, and heartyness is legendary.
Zone 6-A SE-OH
Jesus is coming, try and look busy
tmmason10 (July 26th, 2013)
Yea so I guess I started this thread because I was under the impression that western larch were more common bonsai than tamaracks... But I absolutely love tamaracks and their native to my area so I'll definitely seek out a nice specimen to work with at some point!
Thanks for all the input
I scouted out a nice tamarack today... at least 9 feet tall. nice trunk base. Gonna plant her in the ground this week, and can't wait to make some chops and dvelop leaders next spring! Or maybe wait another year and let that trunk get all sortsa fat!
I'm excited, tamarack and bald cypress have always been my favorite tree species (I went to a forestry college). Guess I have a thing for deciduous conifers!
Thanks again for the input!