Overcoming “shafty-ness” on an ancient Larch

Had fun with the first wiring on this tree I collected in either 15’ or 16’ spring. I wonder if it would be better with a partner or two. It’s a shafty one but I think still interesting. Open to ideas on how to overcome the shafty ness.

Maybe not “ancient” but old. Tree is over 100 years old judging by the rings of a cut off branch.

Probably should pot next spring.


I’d let the lower branch grow and ramify as much as possible. Eventually I’d change the planting angle some 45˚so that the lower branch is now on top and once it has all the strength, I’d jin the whole top and build the apex and foliage pads with what is now the lower branch somewhat embracing the straight trunk in a way to break it visually to hide how straight it is. It’s a long term plan… I don’t like drawing designs but just to give you an idea of my vision (including the dinosaur):


haha! I put that dinosaur there for fun to see if anyone would notice, nice job!

Thanks rafi for your design idea. I think it could work but I would be losing out on what attracted me to the tree in the first place, the hollow and deadwood. It would make a more compact tree for sure.

Another option I have thought about is to extend some serious shari down toward the base to help break it up.

I like the idea of a shari or even extending the hollow with some curves braking the straightness of the trunk. I had not noticed that hollow before. The dinosaur tricked me.

Hahaha I hadn’t seen the dinosaur at first. I actually really like @rafi ‘s design idea. But yes it would diminish your dinosaur cave. What I think could be gnarly… building off of Rafi’s design… you could put It at that new angle but kept the top branching alive and develop two independent apexes instead of junning the entire current apex. But rafi’s idea is :fire: lit IMHO. I have personally found that sometimes with my own trees when I have a feature that I really really like it gives me tunnel vision and stops me from seeing the tree as a whole. My love for on aspect of a tree has held me back from creating the best tree with the material. Something to keep in mind.


Good points and two apexes is a fun idea. Also I know I sometimes get the tunnel vision as well.

What I would love to do with this tree is ground layer it but I’m not sure that would be successful with an older larch like this.

What about a few other smaller larch planted near the base to create a small group planting.

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Although I do have to say there is something appealing about the current planting angle. It lends itself to a windswept style. I think carving the right side of the trunk could help break up the straightness of it.

Or embrace the straightness, change the planting angle to be completely straight up, Shari the entire right side. I actually think that could be the coolest design now that I think of it. Kind of reminiscent of Michael Hagedorn’s foemina juniper:

There’s something so incredibly striking about how straight and symmetrical the main trunk is, while the foliage all originates on one side of the trunk creating extreme asymmetry. I feel like your larch could really shine if you go this route and get real shafty. #getshafty.

Now you are talking @Mike_Hennigan I REALLY am with you on this one. Interesting… #getshafty

Carving would be key… I did just buy a sandblaster as well. You can’t tell from the pictures but the Uro near the top actually goes right out the backside of the tree and you could stick your finger through it out the back.

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Actually I would consider angling the tree to the right. That way more right-left movement than left-left which I believe is more interesting. Lowering the first main branch as well as the apex keeps the overall movement to the left. Deadwood on the right side is consistent with desiccating wind from the right. I would avoid extending the shari too close to the ground which could invite wood rot.

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@MattSfromMI . Any photo update on this larch.? Would like to see it with needles.
I liked it the way it is in photo. Maybe in a shallow drum pot. Maybe elongated left and minor carving. Hopefully the right limb is alive…

Thanks for bringing this tree up Kurt. It is a well timed question because I have been building some slabs lately for my new plan for the tree.

I have attached a photo of my new pla. image|690x488

Also, a picture of the tree from this fall. I extended the deadwood toward the base like we had talked about. My new plan would be a 3 or 5 tree forest on a slab making this tree the main tree. I plan to extend the apex taller to create more taper.

I am very interested in everyone’s thoughts on my design idea. Let me know…


Not sure if the design idea pic attached above


The tree is great alone. The orginal front is good!
It would be awsome if you could find two or 4 others that match, on a slab.
Have you built a slab forest before?

I think the best forests would have trees that could also stand on there own well. Yes I have done a few slab forests. Here is one:


I like what you’ve done so far, if anything I think the apex is to wide, too flat.
I’d like to see it smaller perhaps growing back up again.
You could put some extra trees in there but they would need to match the ruggednes of the trunk you have with this one
That forest looks very nice

Tommy thanks for your thoughts. I 100% agree about the apex, I plan to make it smaller and extend it up more.

@MattSfromMI I just want to say the tree is awesome on its own. Although the forest idea is also great, I think it would take a certain collection of trees to be companions to this one. Personally, I like the “issue” with the straightness of this tree. I love the thickness and the straightness at a slight angle as you pictured it. Makes it look really old to me. I would leave it by itself. But if you have suitable companions, then go for it. I love all of the trees you post.