Western larches

Discussion in 'Other Conifers' started by wireme, Jun 15, 2014.

  1. wireme

    wireme Masterpiece

    Messages:
    2,806
    Location:
    Kootenays, British Columbia
    I collected these three this spring, uncommon for me to find good western larch material for some reason. These are not jaw dropping trees or anything but I think worth the effort at least. I haven't seen any examples of western larch bonsai yet but there's gotta be some out there? All I have really seen is references to second hand stories of the species failing at bonsai attempts. Hopefully these do well, I did my best in difficult conditions to get intact rootballs, the one in the box had an excellent rootball, the 2 in nursery pots a bit marginal. I'm treating them in pretty much the same way I treat newly collected pine fir and juniper so far. They look ok, flushed out and still green at least!

    Any thoughts, experiences, theories or wild guesses regarding aftercare of collected western larch out there?
     

    Attached Files:

    Waltron, Tycoss, Soldano666 and 3 others like this.
  2. Avatar

    Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide this ad.
  3. M. Frary

    M. Frary Bonsai Godzilla

    Messages:
    11,143
    Location:
    Mio Michigan
    Nice haul and very nice bark! I like the one on the left. But they're all nice.
     
    Vance Wood likes this.
  4. wireme

    wireme Masterpiece

    Messages:
    2,806
    Location:
    Kootenays, British Columbia
    2 of the three are looking great so far. Good color, some extension growth, strong buds set and even a second flush of growth in places. The other one, (last pic and sorry Mike the tree you liked best) has pale needles and weak or no buds in the needle clusters. It looks possible it will pull through, time will tell I suppose.
     

    Attached Files:

    parhamr likes this.
  5. M. Frary

    M. Frary Bonsai Godzilla

    Messages:
    11,143
    Location:
    Mio Michigan
    Shouldn't have said a thing. Jinxed it.
     
  6. wireme

    wireme Masterpiece

    Messages:
    2,806
    Location:
    Kootenays, British Columbia
    Naw, Mike, a jinx would be a nice excuse but it's all on me.

    Still hope though, just looked at the tree again, new buds are small but present and still swelling.
     
  7. Vance Wood

    Vance Wood Lord Mugo

    Messages:
    11,319
    Location:
    Michigan
    Do You know the botanical name of this species of Larch?
     
  8. GrimLore

    GrimLore Imperial Masterpiece

    Larix occidentalis ;)

    Grimmy
     
    Vance Wood likes this.
  9. wireme

    wireme Masterpiece

    Messages:
    2,806
    Location:
    Kootenays, British Columbia
    Without looking to confirm I believe its larix occidentalis. There are pockets of old growth 800+ year old trees here, beautiful gigantic trees.
     
    Vance Wood likes this.
  10. wireme

    wireme Masterpiece

    Messages:
    2,806
    Location:
    Kootenays, British Columbia
    Here's a couple I walked past a few days ago, wish I had real camera pics.
     

    Attached Files:

    parhamr likes this.
  11. Vance Wood

    Vance Wood Lord Mugo

    Messages:
    11,319
    Location:
    Michigan
    I would love to see these trees.
     
    gallina1594 likes this.
  12. wireme

    wireme Masterpiece

    Messages:
    2,806
    Location:
    Kootenays, British Columbia
    Take a holiday in B.C. and I'll take you to some!
     
  13. wireme

    wireme Masterpiece

    Messages:
    2,806
    Location:
    Kootenays, British Columbia
    The big old Ponderosa's are well worth a look at too!
     

    Attached Files:

    parhamr likes this.
  14. Looks like a great species to work with. Beautiful bark. If they make it they will be great.

    In the vein of wild speculation, all the anecdotes I've heard were people failing with them, all were people growing them somewhere away from their native range. But since they are native to your immediate area, you have a very good chance of being able to do well with them. Eastern American larch in my experience wants it roots kept fairly wet compared to most other local bonsai trees, perhaps that is something you should check to see if it fits for the western larch in your climate.
     
    wireme likes this.
  15. BrianBay9

    BrianBay9 Chumono

    Messages:
    564
    Location:
    South San Francisco, CA
    Do you have any insight or advice you can offer on collecting larch or after care?

    Thanks
    Brian
     
  16. wireme

    wireme Masterpiece

    Messages:
    2,806
    Location:
    Kootenays, British Columbia
    Thanks Leo, I was hoping this thread would generate a bit of insight into the care of the species and others experiences with them. They tend to grow naturally on sites that are moderately dryish here mixing with lodgepole pine and Doug fir commonly, not so often found in swampy sites like tamarack are.
     
  17. wireme

    wireme Masterpiece

    Messages:
    2,806
    Location:
    Kootenays, British Columbia
    It would mostly be conjecture as this is my first year with them. They are looking good so far being treated pretty much like any semidryland conifer. I included some partially decayed larchneedle mulch and duff into the mix in case they have a mycohorrizal dependency.

    For collecting though like anything look for captive root systems in shallow rocky soil, very hard to get good feeder roots in deep gravelly soil.
     
  18. BrianBay9

    BrianBay9 Chumono

    Messages:
    564
    Location:
    South San Francisco, CA
    Thanks. Sounds like Larix are very different in the upper midwest. The site I have scoped out for collecting next spring is very soggy. Here if you see stands of tamarack, you can count on getting your feet wet.
     
    Soldano666 likes this.
  19. dick benbow

    dick benbow Omono

    Messages:
    1,316
    Location:
    seattle,Wa
    western larch are on my immediate list for collection. In my research among club members most tell me that the first year after collection they seem to indicate acceptance to thier new situation and then the second year they just slowly slip away. These are folks living in the flatland of seattle after collecting in elevation of the mountains.

    When I asked them what they thought was the problem, most admitted no real knowledge but a quesss that some disease present takes over when they're moved down into a different climate
    in the lowlands.

    So not giving up on my quest to work with all native trees, I finally found a guy that has them in his collection for 5-6 years. Interestingly enough, he lives rurally, closer to the place of collection and higher up the altitude scale, then the other flatlanders. His collection methods and soil mixture are standard for other collected varieties. I'm hopeful this fall we can get together and I can see what I can learn.

    Wish I could contribute more but at present, I'm seeking some first hand experience. Gotta love a challenge! Once i get them sorted, I'm kinda thinking Sitka Spruce is next. :)
     
    Ryan Huston and bonsaiBlake like this.
  20. JasonG

    JasonG Chumono

    Messages:
    786
    Location:
    NW Oregon
    I have collected Western Larch before with success.... I used the same principle when it came to field digging or repotting- only collect or mess with the roots when the buds are swelling and golden in colort. If they are open, forget it, GPS it and go back earlier next year.

    When it comes to Larch you have (in the PNW anyways) 2-3 week window to do root work (digging, collecting, etc...) where you will have a much higher success rate.
     
    Ryan Huston and bonsaiBlake like this.
  21. dick benbow

    dick benbow Omono

    Messages:
    1,316
    Location:
    seattle,Wa
    so would it be safe to say you encourage spring harvest, rather then fall. The last trees i harvested last year, cedar and hemlock, did real well this year and were harvested in the late summer/early fall period. appreciated your input.....
     

Share This Page