Larche is one of the best trees for bonsai , it is a deciduous conifer of Pinaceae Family , has a great longevity  of almost 300 years about . It takes origin by cold areas and high mountains of temperates zones of North hemisphere and in nature larches can be 50 meters tall . Larches can colonize mountains growing until 2,500 meters ,in Fall, when they begin to yellow , the larches wood are one of best nature spectacles for showing of different sort of colors from ochre to yellow.

We have many larch cultivars :


LARIX DECIDUA (European Larch ) :                                       It grows in Center Europe and Alpes , loses its needles in winter ,its cones are before reddish and after brown .


LARIX LEPTOLEPSIS KAEMPFERI ( Japan Larch ) :              It lives in Japan islands ,needs a wet climate y light soil ; its needles are        green-bluish becoming gilt in Fall .Its cones are rounded much decorative .

bulletPSEUDOLARIX KAEMPFERI (China Larch ) :                                it grows above all in KIANG-SI area y also in Italy ,needles are green-white above and green-bluish below with lateral white bands ,in Fall gilt . Cones are brick red .                               

In North America there are even other larches as :Larix Occidentalis Nutt , Larix Laricina or Tamarak .

In Asia  there are :Larix Grifthii of Himalaya , larix Duhartica and Larix Siberica .





Larch spreads from Seeds ,Cuttings, Layer simple and Grafting :

From SEEDS : you must collect larch-cones in Fall or Winter in according to your climate since they ripen late ; once collected it is necessary to put them in full sun and , when they open , to shake for to draw out seeds . Seeds must be put in plastic bag with wet sand on refrigerator until March when they must be exposed to sun remixing from time to time . At the end of April you can sow ,its germination is much slow .

From Cuttings : for to obtain the best results , take a cutting (not of hold branches) when the weather is wet and foggy ,using always rooting hormones : the best time is August or September in temperate climates , it is better to choice a joung apex branche .

From simple  Layer  : in Spring , take a low branche and  earth up a small part   scarifying it before with two or three incisions ; when buds are sprouting you cut branche and put into a pot protecting it from wind and frost .

With Grafting : at the end of winter ,not much used .

bulletCARE :

Even if larches like sun , the best spot is a half shade in summer ; they don't suffer for cold and wind since they grow until 2,500 mt. . They need a deep pot and a fast draining soil ,its growth is vigorous above all the cultivar Leptolepsis .

Repotting must be done in Spring (April for temperate zones) each three years in joung trees ,much later in hold specimens : to cut   the roots in half and repot in a bigger container . The soil mixt must be deep and fresh :1/3 garden soil,1/3 vegetal soil ,1/3 coarse sand , they don't like calcareous soils.

Pinching : to pinch new growths in Spring when they reach 4 cm y long branches immediately after a needles group . The design cutting only in winter for joung trees .

Wiring : for to bend and guide branches in Summer taking away it in Fall .

Watering : even if they need a certain wet soil ,they like dry air ,so spray only for to clean needles ,water again when the soil is almost all dry above all if climate is wet .

Fertilizer : it must be organic with slow releasing ,increase P and K in September for to prepare the tree to winter .   



Almost all larches here belong to Giovanni Genotti , he has a particular partiality like me for these trees ,i hope to show you a larch which we will collect next week ,for now look and enjoy :

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This was the Spring's clothes , below the needles are ripened :

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Now i show you a larch collected last December 1998 ,it has been put in a large pot soon :

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For two year it doesn't be touched and then has been protected from frost and wind in a cold frame . This Spring we had a strange weather ,cold and soon after hot with high humidity ,it suffered :

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Giovanni soon thought to clorosis ferrica even why two others larches suffered the same symptoms ,after he found that it was the bad climate to give those yellow needles ; in fact he lost two larches for that . Below the larch as it is now in September totally recovered :

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Here below some other Massimo Bandera's larches already showed in his page :

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Below a Valerio Gianotti's Larch :

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The last pictures below show how one must do the pinching on larches :

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A YAMADORI LARCH Collected Friday 17 September 1999 .

Before to show you the technique to collect a larch in nature ,i need show you where we can find some good specimen in our mountains:

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these four orchids was in bloom in bonsai garden of Giovanni just before our departure to collect larches ,they smiled so very well that i think i must put them here in my page comparating with flowers we found in larches' valley :

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A rododendron and a carnation given us a big welcome where larches are the dominant trees :

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Here we reached 2500 mt after a 30 minutes of walk .We met  larches touched by thunderbolts , they have the marks of natural upsettings :

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this one above has its trunk completely empty with two veins still alive ; others have the apex cutted by thunderbolts during their long life of one- two centuries:

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The first picture above show the trunk size of these larches (compare the size of Giovanni near it ) ;the second line always the first picture show as Giovanni brings the larch just collected to preserve it from damages .


Now you can see step-by-step how you must collect a larch in nature but it is necessary , some time before ,  to prepare the tree cutting the branches too long and the top (Giovanni done that last year) :

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You must clean all ground around the tree before digging up it ,after you excavate around until to reach the most important roots ; once those cutted you search if the tree has a taproot ,if yes you cut it and the tree will be free :

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That tree hadn't taproot ,only some big lateral roots ;another larch collected later the same day had a big taproot notwithstanding it was smaller than this one .That same day we recognize two other larches still bigger ,we think to collect them next month ,we prepared them cutting the branches long ,unwished and the top .

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This valley has many other larches very nice to do bonsai .



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