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Author Topic: A bit of larch comparison  (Read 798 times)

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Offline wisconsitom

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A bit of larch comparison
« on: September 11, 2019, 12:22:32 PM »
The star of the show in my tree plantation area is the hybrid larch Larix x marschlinsii, a cross of European and Japanese larch.  This is not a tree for saturated soils but like all larch. does require a cool-ish and moist climate.  It is planted on upland portions of my site.  All around the area where my land lies are numerous swamps containing much eastern larch, AKA tamarack.  We had just about the best spring/early summer conditions for either of these trees one could hope for....cool and wet.  Early growth reflected that in both tree types and was robust.  Then, as is wont to happen, the pests showed up, but only in the native tamaracks.  Mainly, larch case-bearer, these trees looked like hell by mid-July.

But the hybrid stuff in my plantation blocks was and is untouched by this or any other pest.  I only mention because I've noticed a tendency of some to lump all trees within a genus together as if they are the same item.  

This does not, of course, mean that my trees will never be afflicted with anything.  I can, for example, imagine sawfly larvae showing up some day, although to date-I've now got trees aged 11 years-this has not taken place at all.  Heck, maybe porcupines will yet do damage!  But it does at least hint at the prospect that the hybrid entity does indeed-as the big guys have pointed out repeatedly-have some genetics going that tend to produce more protective chemicals....or something...than the native item.  These hybrid trees also show resistance to larch canker, far beyond the swamp trees right next to them.

Offline brianJ

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Re: A bit of larch comparison
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2019, 12:41:42 PM »
Being on a better site also gives them an edge with insect and disease resistance.

Offline barbender

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Re: A bit of larch comparison
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2019, 01:04:37 PM »
Plant them in the swamp and compare, if it's going to be apples to apples scientific comparison. 
Too many irons in the fire

Offline wisconsitom

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Re: A bit of larch comparison
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2019, 10:40:02 AM »
Specifically not trying for apples to apples, but just making note of some general observations.  I have already lost one or two trees that were down in the saturated area, or close to it.  Meanwhile, trees that are tip-toeing adjacent to wet zone are fine and unblemished.

Interestingly to me at least, the couple that succumbed had already gained about 25 feet in height before dying.

That's maybe 2 trees out of right around 3000 that were planted.

Most are in upland sandy loam of relatively high pH.

I'm already seeing colonization at the ground level under these trees by mushrooms of the genus Suillus, a constant companion of larch and a mycorrhizal associate of the trees.

Offline Nebraska

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Re: A bit of larch comparison
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2019, 11:06:55 PM »
Will these fancy lartch grow on a really eroded clay side hill in Northeastern Nebraska? That would be impressive, I've got 15 year old oak trees that might make two feet tall. 

Offline wisconsitom

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Re: A bit of larch comparison
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2019, 10:32:59 AM »
Hi Nebraska.  Larch dislike heat, so if you think your area gets hot...I tend to think it probably does...I would not spend $$/effort with these trees in that situation.

Not that it doesn't get hot here in central WI in summertime....but it's all relative, ya know?

Black locust is an invasive species up here but might be ideal for what you are facing.  I've yet to see any place it won't grow!

Offline Nebraska

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Re: A bit of larch comparison
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2019, 06:07:13 PM »
There's black locusts in the road  right of way and grove across from this spot about 150 yards away. I'll dig a couple up this fall and move them. We dont have lots of therm in this area though getting a little far north maybe.  I'll try them. It's funny if you go a few yards east the oak trees are 15 feet tall,  30  to 40 yards west and south oaks and walnut doing well. Two spots out of twelve acres of tree fields maybe half an acre  won't even  really grow decent grass. Topsoil takes a long time to regenerate once it's washed down the river. Of course if this was semi good ground that wasnt steep  or wet in spots, I wouldn't own it,  never would have gotten a chance. It would be 200 bushel corn like it is across the fence.  :) I figured its way to hot for larch here.

Offline saskatchewanman

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Re: A bit of larch comparison
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2019, 09:25:15 PM »
Where did you source your trees or did you grow them yourself from seed. I would like to try some but am uncertain how to proceed. 

Sheffield's has a large number of different seedlots of hybrid larch seed but to chose a particular one I would have no idea.

Larix sibirica was recommended for planting in shelterbelts in my area but ironically its does not seem to like wind. My best trees are all growing in sheltered areas. The tree also seem to attract the attention of porcupines with great frequency. Tree growth is good but not great, exceeding Scots pine and oak but some nearby white spruce seem to grow faster.

Will likely try at least a 10 acre planting of hybrid larch in the not too distant future. I will also plant at higher than typical densities so I can select the straightest trees.

Offline wisconsitom

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Re: A bit of larch comparison
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2019, 09:24:43 AM »
When I first became interested in this tree-the hybrid larch-I was fortunate to have somehow gotten the name and contact info for Bill Sayward, who was at that time the owner/operator of Itascagreenhouse.com.  I wish I could remember how that came to be.  It's gotten to be a long time back.

Bill sold his business about ten years ago, and as far as I've been able to tell, the new owners do not offer this variety.  In fact, Mr. Sayward seemed to indicate to me around that ten-years-ago time frame that he would be interested in acquiring seed from my trees if/when that came to pass.  So there does seem to be an issue around seed.  However, if you are looking at a spring 2020 planting, I may be able to check with my hybrid larch associates for plant sources.  Would you like me to inquire?  I'd be happy to do so.  Mine all started as plug stock, smaller than a number 2 pencil.  Ten-year-old trees are in some cases now 35 and 40 feet tall.

Offline saskatchewanman

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Re: A bit of larch comparison
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2019, 03:54:29 AM »
It would be too difficult to move trees across the international border. Seeds are not generally not a problem. Would have to grow my own. 

Sheffield's have I believe 17 different seed lots with different parents. Not sure how to pick one. 

Thanks for the offer of help!

Offline wisconsitom

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Re: A bit of larch comparison
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2019, 09:05:54 AM »
Look at "Dunkeld Larch" at Sheffield's then.  That should be the one you want.  "Dunkeld" was the name of the castle in Scotland where the tree was first discovered.  Botanically, it is Larix x marschlinsii, a hybrid between European and Japanese larch.  The tree is adapted to full-sun sites and moist, well-drained soils.  It does not appear to have the adaptation to saturated soils that our native tamarack displays.  But on reasonably moist, deep loams, it has to be seen to be believed, in terms of growth rate and good form.

Thanks!


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