Western larches

wireme

Masterpiece
Messages
2,841
Likes
5,077
Location
Kootenays, British Columbia
USDA Zone
3
#1
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?
 

Attachments

wireme

Masterpiece
Messages
2,841
Likes
5,077
Location
Kootenays, British Columbia
USDA Zone
3
#3
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.
 

Attachments

Messages
2,646
Likes
3,897
Location
on the IL-WI border, a mile from ''da Lake''
USDA Zone
5b
#13
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

Masterpiece
Messages
2,841
Likes
5,077
Location
Kootenays, British Columbia
USDA Zone
3
#15
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.
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.
 

wireme

Masterpiece
Messages
2,841
Likes
5,077
Location
Kootenays, British Columbia
USDA Zone
3
#16
Do you have any insight or advice you can offer on collecting larch or after care?

Thanks
Brian
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.
 
Messages
583
Likes
624
Location
Alameda, CA
USDA Zone
10a
#17
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.
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.
 
Messages
1,316
Likes
115
Location
seattle,Wa
#18
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. :)
 
Messages
786
Likes
8
Location
NW Oregon
#19
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.
 
Messages
1,316
Likes
115
Location
seattle,Wa
#20
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.....