Larch are one of the unusual group of 'decidious' conifers. There are four species of larch you may come across, either as a trained bonsai,Garden center stock, or of course collectable, they are the European, Japanese, Western and American larches, they are difficult to tell apart, however the Japanese veriety has a redder tinge to the buds when opening.

Larch have a tendancy to shed, sometimes important branches. This is almost certainly due to a lack of light. Larch when in leaf demand as much sunlight as possible. Some 50 or so years ago experiments were carried out here in the UK, placing larch saplings in light  shade, they failed to thrive compared with their siblings given more light.

Culturally they can be treated in the same way as any other tree, however as the needles are much softer than their fully coniferus cousins, they will burn if they do not get enough water to cope if kept in full sun all day.

As with all conifers they will do better in a more open, grittier soil than their deciduous counterparts and are best suited to deep.

In autumn, just before leaf fall, the needles turn a wonderful yellow.

Larch are hardier outdoors in winter than true conifers, as they shed their needles.

In the ground the larches can reach 35m

Until the Enlargement of the European Union the term 'European Larch'  was a bit of a misnomer, as is native range was southern alpine europe and the caucasus. However as one of the major timber producing trees, it was extensively planted throughout.

The tree was introduced into the UK in the 1620's.

The native range of Larix decidua

Allen. C. Roffey 16:22 03/02/2003