Shaping larch throughout development?

Hello all,

I got a nursery stock japanese larch about a month ago. It’s pushing out spring growth nicely but it’s also ramrod straight. What are some good methods for putting shape and movement in to it, especially the trunk, as it develops?

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I have a fairly small larch that is bendable with wire, which I plan on putting on soon. If that isn’t an option, then trunk chopping like a deciduous would help put movement into it.

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Thanks, good idea. I considered a trunk chop but I might wait until it gets bigger. It’s only about a foot tall and as big around as a pencil right now.

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Yeah definitely let it girth up before any trunk chops. I think I’m going to do both wire and eventually a few chops to put more severe movement into it.

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You can put very substantial bends into a pencil thin larch with proper application of wire and it will probably tolerate it at any time of year for a young healthy plant.

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After hearing Ryan mention @crust in one of the larch streams I wanted to tag him here to see if I could get some of his wisdom on this topic.

It all depends on your timeline and intention. If you wire it hard and pot it it will remain taperless but could be parrt of a fine forest if you work on the roots and branches. If you grow and chop/ grow chop/ grow chop/it to a lower branch, al the while working the roots, It will be tapered thing. You could work the roots and then put it in the ground and grow it hard then thread graft a low future top. You could do any combo. On and on and on. I have little larch I hack back and wire for small things. I have planted pencil larches in the ground, cut back to lowest bud, let a giant sac branc take off, keep a wee fine top and many years later have something cool. So the skys the limit–some thing take longer than others, and that plays in too. What should come first inmho is to examine your impulse and find the meaning of what you are doing and where are you are going–I know this seems over romanticized but its is the essence for me. Just producing bonzo trees is a primal masterbation. Making trees in a exotic dream state is sublime masterbation.

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Haha, well said. Thanks for the advice!