Larch design suggestions

Hi everyone!

Last year I acquired a nicely sized and well aged larch. It is roughly 3.5-4 ft. tall from base to tip and is in a 24"x20" grow container. The main thing to know is that it is scheduled for a much needed repot this spring when the buds start to swell. It has been in its current container for 5+ years and I will be putting it in a 15" rectangular mica.

I think I have all of the repot preparation done, so I was wondering about the second burning question- what will an initial styling of the tree look like next year or the year after?

I have some ideas in mind for setting new structure on the secondary branches, but I was hoping the kind folks on this forum could lend a voice and provide some further inspiration!

I mention that the initial styling might take place in two years because the previous owner would cut all new shoots in each push back to the bud, so there aren’t many tertiary branches on the tree. I hope to start growing those out this year. Or maybe I’ll set the structure next year and style tertiary branches the following year. I’m open to suggestions!


Hello bzebra - I’m afraid I don’t really have any design suggestions. I was wondering where you are located and what type of Larch you have. I note that the bark is much rougher than my tree and the buds appear much smaller.
You are getting some nice taper in the top growth (to the right in the first picture.) How tall is the trunk at that point?
Have you looked at the Larch selections in the library? I think Ryan generally suggests that Larch are alpine with downward sloping branches and narrow triangular pads.
Good luck - I look forward to observing your progress.

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Thanks for the reply! @cab_lad_70

I’m located in Pittsburgh!

I wonder if the bark has to do with its age? I don’t know how old it is unfortunately, but I have a feeling it likely out dates me. As for the buds, could this have something to do with cutting all of the new shoots back to the first bud with every push for 5-10 years? And now that I have let some of them grow out, the refinement has wonderful small buds and tight inter-nodes? I sure as hell hope so! haha!

As for the type, I think it’s an American Larch. The gentleman I bought it from was not totally sure, though after I made this post I showed these same pictures to Jim Doyle at Nature’s Way Nursery. He seemed pretty sure that it was a Tamarack.

This is also one of the reasons that I included close up shots of the younger branches, as they all appear to be different shades of Larch! Grey on the coarser branches, golden on some of the secondary branching, and orange on the newest pieces. I would love any further insight from the community on what they think it might be!

As for the larch videos in the library, I have indeed consumed them all multiple times over. I intend to go with the alpine form so I definitely agree with you on that! I just need to make some branch removal decisions over the next year. I’ll be sure to post updates as they happen. Thanks for the interest!

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Have you found the Tamarack feature?
I seem to recall that it was designed quite differently from a regular larch.

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I don’t remember Ryan working with an American larch specifically. Just Japanese and Euro larches.

As far as the design goes, I’ll be looking to keep the branches sloped quite significantly and kept tight to the trunk. That is what I’ve seen in pictures of old Larches in the wild and is most inspiring to me.

Though at the ends of the branches, even on old trees, phototropism still prevails and sends the tips skyward. I’ll look to incorporate that subtly as well.

Again though, open to suggestions!

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The last 2 minutes of this 9 minute sequence shows work on a mature Tamarisk.

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@cab_lad_70 When I click on the link it just takes me to the full library. What is the title of the video you are linking?

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Sorry for the confusion. the title is Deciduous Pruning: Refinement

I guess being unable to forward a link within the system is part of the new app process. (It actually showed the correct link when it was entered and then changed to the full library.)

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No worries! I’m really looking forward to using the new app.

The video you’re referencing features a tamrisk, though. The tree I posted is an American Larch, also known as the Tamarack. Really close name, though! haha!

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aha - thanks for clarifying my confusion!

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A tamarisk is not the same as a tamarack.

A tamarack is a name used for American larch (and sometimes the western larch).

A tamarisk (also known as salt cedar) is a flowering desert shrub.

EDIT: Oh I see that’s been covered. Nevermind.