2015

 
 

Here is one of those unusual conifers that loses its leaves in winter. It’s the Tamarack larch, or American larch as it's known elsewhere, or Larix laricina. It is perhaps the most northerly growing tree in the world growing right up to the arctic circle and although it's found across the northeastern United States, it's really more of a Canadian tree and thrives across every province.

Tamarack is a stately, spire-like tree that will grow to be about 50 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 20 feet, which makes it suitable for larger properties. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 60 years or more. The form is uprightly majestic and renders it a perfect specimen tree or vertical accent. But, in addition to form, it has another great asset, which is the foliage. Nothing says spring in vast arboreal Canada quite like the delicate, grass green needles of a Tamarack. And not only are they pretty to look at but are soft to the touch. They turn a rich bluish-green for summer and then, with the coming of autumn, explode in gold. The flowers are not ornamentally significant but they give rise to the pretty cones which decorate the winter branches.

This is a relatively low maintenance tree, and usually looks its best without pruning. Deer don't particularly care for Tamarack and will usually leave it alone. Its only real drawback is its intolerance of hot summers. But on the other hand it can withstand deep, arctic winters that would kill almost any other tree.

Tamarack does best in full sun to partial shade on acidic soils. It is quite adaptable, and can do well even in standing water so it may be the perfect choice for those troublesome low spots in the garden. However it is intolerant of urban pollution. In addition to Canada and the northern United States, it does well in the UK. As usual, this special tree will not be found in the popular landscape nurseries but more likely in a specialty, mail-order, plant nursery.

Tamarack

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