European larch is a soft-coniferous tree from the Pine family. It has a high degree of decoration, thanks to the shape of the crown. Its lowered branches resemble a weeping willow, which has long needles instead of leaves. The unusual appearance of the tree effectively fits into the landscape of park areas and garden plots.
The species name of the European larch tree (larix decidua) indicates the main area of its growth - Central and Western Europe. It occupies large areas in the forests on the mountain slopes of the Alps and the Carpathians. The flat areas are not very suitable for its growing season, since larix does not tolerate excessive soil moisture and lack of lighting.
To soil conditions the tree is unpretentious. It survives well on podzolic, chernozem, loamy soils. The roots penetrate deep into the ground, which ensures the stability of the tree. In natural conditions, high in the mountains, European larch is not afraid of either frost or strong winds.
Larix decidua is used in urban greenery. Landscape designers land
- single trees
- groups of trees
- linear landing along the alleys.
Larch well absorbs smoke, gas, soot with its needles. Therefore, it performs not only greening, but also sanitary and hygienic function in the urban environment.
Larix decidua is a majestic coniferous tree with a straight, even trunk, up to 50 m high. Larch is characterized by a noticeable annual increase in wood mass due to which it reaches 0.8–1 m in diameter. Larger specimens have a diameter of 1.5 m. Bark rough to the touch, with cracks. Coloring - brown.
The shape of the crown is differentdepending on the species - cone-shaped, weeping, drooping. The branches grow thickly.
The needles are up to 4 cm long, soft, light green in color. Unlike pine or spruce, the needles are not distributed evenly along the branches, but form bunches of 20–40 needles each. In addition, like deciduous trees, in larix decidua, the needles change to yellow on the occasion of cold weather, and fall in winter. This feature of the plant was the reason for its name - European larch.
Cones larix decidua elongated or cone-shaped. With age, they change color: from purple to brown. Each cone consists of 45–70 scaleswhich are placed in 6-8 rows. The total size of the European larch cone: length - 6 cm, diameter - 2-2,4 cm.
Under the scales winged seeds are hidden, only 3-4 mm in length (with a wing up to 11 mm). Cones ripen in spring. In this case, the scales are revealed and the seeds fall out. Empty cones can hang on a tree for up to 10 years.
European larch belongs to long-lived trees. Individual specimens live up to 500 years.
Larix decidua has long been used by man. First of all, wood is valued. It has long been used in construction. Buildings constructed from European larch have high insulating qualities. They keep warm well and does not penetrate the noise from the street. Essential oils extracted from logs act like a natural air ionizer.
European larch wood does not give in to rotting, therefore it is used in places with high humidity and temperature difference:
- on the decks of ships,
- on the street terraces,
- for pile construction.
Larix decidua needles contain many useful substances (essential oils, ascorbic acid). Traditional healers used a decoction of green needles for the prevention of scurvy. In modern cosmetology, perfumery, aromatherapy has found application essential oil extracted from the needles of European larch. It also has therapeutic properties and is used, in the form of inhalation, for the treatment of pathologies of the respiratory tract.
The bark of the European larch includes tannins in its composition, which are extracted for the needs of the leather industry. In addition, in the cortex there are organic acids, gum, cakhetins, anthocyanins.
European larch has proven itself as an ornamental plant. It is involved in landscape design. in compositions with plants such as:
In the autumn period, the green needles of larix are favorably set off by a multi-colored palette of deciduous trees and shrubs.
For planting larch use seeds or seedlings. Seeds are removed from ripe cones and sown in prepared soil. However, the process of growing a tree takes a long time, so, most often, when planting, seedlings are used. They are purchased in special nurseries. When buying should pay attention to the color of the needles. It should be bright green. This indicates the health of the plant.
For planting European larch, it is important to choose the right place. It should be located in a sunny area, since the lack of lighting causes illness in larix. The soil should be enriched with humus, with good drainage. European larch does not like stagnant moisture in the soil.
Planting seedlings should hold in early spring or deep autumn. A large pit is dug under the root system. A sapling with preserved earthen clod is transferred to it. Above the pit is filled with peat - sod mixture.
In order for the tree to take root safely in a new place and grow, a number of agrotechnical measures are carried out:
- Weed removal.
European larch it is well adapted to frost, therefore it does not need a winter shelter for seedlings.
Caring for larch does not cause difficulties and under the force of any gardener.
European larch: description
The tree in the bulk grows in mixed or coniferous forests of Central and Western Europe. In its natural environment, it is a high-mountain inhabitant of the Carpathians and the Alps (1000-2500 meters above sea level), sometimes "descends" below. This explains the two main features of European larch - perfect intolerance to waterlogging and high demands on light. The tree lives for several hundred years (up to 500) and is considered to be a long-liver.
European larch grows in nature up to 50 m in height, while the trunk diameter is from 80 to 100 cm, less often - 150 cm. Thanks to such impressive size, it looks majestic. Crown is characterized by a conical, irregular shape. The bark has longitudinal cracks, the color is brown, sometimes with a grayish tint. The tree has a strong core-type root system, which goes to a considerable depth. This allows you to resist any winds and keep the soil from shedding, for example, on cliffs. The needles are collected in large bunches of 20-40 pieces, has a light green color, often with a light bluish bloom. Needles of larch to the touch are soft and elastic, from 10 to 40 mm long.
The cones of the tree are ovate, oblong or conical in shape, at a young age of purple, in a mature one becoming brown. They are relatively small in size: 2-2.4 cm in diameter, and up to 6 cm in length.
In the garden, European larch with its tender greenery looks good against the background of other conifers (spruce, pine, juniper, fir), as well as deciduous species - oaks, lindens, maples. A lot of unusual and bright decorative forms have been derived, we will focus on the most common ones.
Weeping Form (Pendula)
By analogy with willow, you can guess, in connection with which such a name. This larch shoots are thin, unevenly located on the trunk and hanging down. The tree itself grows to a height of 30 m. It was first discovered in 1836, and almost immediately European gardeners adopted it. It is propagated by grafting, winter-hardwood larch and light-loving.
This is a standard dwarf tree. In creeping European larch shoots are strongly drooping, reaching to the ground and creeping along it, and the trunk is most often twisted, reclining. The crown is thick and wide, which gives the tree a fabulous look. Unlike the previous form, it should be protected from frost, covering the trunk for the winter with a breathing heater.
This is another standard form, but with the correct crown shape. The lower branches are located in the horizontal plane, and in the upper part they are shorter, therefore a cone is formed. This cultivar was bred by French breeders in 1868.
In this form, European larch (photo see above) is a dwarf tree with a narrow crown and hanging shoots, like a weeping European larch. The average height is up to 1.5-2 m. The shape of frost and winter-hardy. The needles are green with a gray tint. It is used both in single and group plantings, however it needs sufficient space for good development.
In addition, it should be noted such forms (varieties) of European larch as Compacta, Korley, Fastigata, Kellermani, Repens, Virgata, etc. In stopping the choice on one or another specimen, you need to think, first of all, about its size, and about whether there will be a place for him on the plot, and secondly, about the growth rate - dwarf varieties grow very slowly, so they will be appropriate even in a small garden. Third, think about whether you can provide the right conditions, and also consider the climatic factors.
The choice of location and soil
The tree is characterized by good winter hardiness and rapid growth. The last factor should be considered when choosing a place on the site. Therefore, the planting of European larch should be well planned, it is worth considering whether the planted tree will not create unnecessary shading in the future. It is believed that the plant is not particularly demanding to the soil, but does not tolerate waterlogging at all. It will be equally good to feel on the black soil, calcareous and slate rocks, but the best option is a loam with moderate moisture. The tree is resistant to air pollution, therefore it is often used in urban greening.
Planting European larch
Like all the other conifers, she is sensitive to transplants, and in the adult state she takes root in a new place badly. The most optimum age of a sapling is 1-2 years. Prefer those grown in a container and have a closed root system. The European larch is planted either in early spring (before the buds bloom), or in late autumn, when the leaves have already fallen.
The landing pit is prepared depending on the size of the seedling. If desired, you can completely remove the soil and prepare a new, the most balanced in composition. Experts recommend to mix sod land, peat and large river sand at a ratio of 3: 2: 1. Fill them with a landing hole in the fall, if spring planting is supposed, or let them stand for at least a couple of days. Drainage is required in exceptional cases, if the site is heavy clay soil. In this case, put a layer of broken brick 20 cm thick on the bottom.
European larch: care
The basic rules for growing this conifer are made in three aspects:
- Mulching is carried out immediately after planting sawdust or peat.
- Loosening is carried out only at a young age to a depth of no more than 20 cm.
- Remove weeds as needed, avoid sodding.
- Fertilization. It is recommended to add special preparations, for example, Kemira, to the soil in early spring from 2-3 years of growth.
- Watering. European larch is sensitive to drought. In such a summer, it needs regular watering (15-20 liters for an adult plant) twice a week.
- Shelter for the winter. The initial view does not require it, most forms are winter-hardy and frost-resistant, but dwarf stumps need to be wrapped with an air-permeable material.
Reproduction of European larch
Breeding is possible in three ways:
The first is practically not used, since the cuttings have a low survival rate. Inoculation is advisable for the reproduction of especially valuable and decorative forms. Therefore, the main is still the seed method.
To get the seeds yourself, collect dry cones of the current year in late autumn. Then they are stored in a dry place until full disclosure and release of seeds. Sowing is best done under the winter. To do this, prepare small boxes with light ground. Spread the seeds as thick as they are not very good germination. Close the boxes with film and wait for the first shoots. In the spring, seedlings should be put on the lightest window sill and regularly watered. In 2-3 years, the seedlings will grow, and they can be planted in the open ground. European larch grows quickly, in 5-6 years you will get a fluffy meter tree with tender needles.
In the landscaping of parks, cities it is actively used European larch. Planting and caring for it do not cause difficulties, and the rapid growth and resistance to polluted air provide a significant advantage compared with other conifers. It looks great in the composition of large arrays, in single landings, mixed groups. Experts in the field of landscape design recommend choosing partners for European larch rhododendrons, lilacs, chubushnik, breeches, as well as such trees and shrubs, the foliage of which becomes red and purple in autumn, and thus ideally emphasizes yellowing needles.
For reproduction of decorative forms, grafting is applied by layering or bark at the beginning of sap flow. From February to August - vaccination in the greenhouse in the butt (on the stock previously grown in pots). Green grafting is possible in a greenhouse with a fogging installation and in a cold greenhouse. In such conditions, rooting occurs within 3 months, and good roots develop in the second year after planting the cuttings.
Description of larch and use in landscape design (with photo)
Popular species and varieties of larch: photos and description
Larix decidua - Fallen Larch, or European.
It grows in the mountains of Central Europe, occupies large areas and reaches the level of alpine meadows. It has many cultivars of different habit and type of growth. Recommended varieties of European larch:
Larix decidua Compacta.
Dwarf varieties of European larch. Branches densely pubescent, softwood needles, green. Annual growths in the range of 10-12 cm. Autumn color of needles from golden to dark orange. Fully frost resistant. Autumn coloring of needles of this variety of a larch of the European look from golden to dark orange. Fully frost resistant.
Larix decidua Lucek.
Srednerosly larch European variety. The branches are upright. Golden needles in spring, pale green at the end of summer. Annual growths of 30-50 cm. Autumn color of needles from golden to dark orange. Fully frost resistant.
Larix decidua Pendula.
Weeping variety of European larch. Branches densely pubescent, falling, brittle. Pay attention to the photo - the needles of this larch variety are soft, green:
Larix decidua Horstmann’s Recurved.
Large size varieties of European larch. The branches are twisted, the growth is irregular, some of them are erect, others are falling. Annual growth within 50 cm. Autumn color of needles from golden to dark orange. When describing this variety of larch, it is especially worth noting its high frost resistance.
Larix decidua Krejci Mutation.
Dwarf varieties of European larch. Growth is irregular. Branches densely pubescent, softwood needles, green. Annual increments within 50 cm.
Larix decidua Pali.
Weeping variety of European larch. Branches densely pubescent, falling, brittle. The needles are soft, green. Annual increments up to 30 cm. Autumn color of needles from golden to dark orange. Fully frost resistant.
Larix gmelinii - Larch Gmelin, or Dahurian.
Forms powerful forests in the Far East, replacing in East Siberia a close view - L. Siberian. In the highlands it has a curved shape and dwarf growth, which is used by gardeners to create bonsai dwarf trees. The needles are tender, green, slightly bluish. It has a few varieties of varieties.
Larix laricina - American Larch.
Forms large forest tracts in the mountains of North America. As shown in the photo, the needles of this species of larch are tender, light green:
Larix laricina Tharandf.
Mini-variety of American larch. Round shape. The needles are gray-blue, soft. Autumn needles color from golden to dark orange. Annual growth of 5-6 cm. Fully frost-resistant.
Larix kaempferi - Kempfer Larch.
It grows in the mountains of the Far East. The needles are gentle, gray-green. It has numerous varietal forms with gray and blue needles. Widely used to create bonsai dwarf trees. Recommended varieties of larch Kempfer:
Larix kaempferi Blue Ball.
Dwarf Kempfer larch variety. The shape is rounded. The needles are soft, green. Autumn color of the needles varies from golden to dark orange. Annual gain of 10 cm. Fully frost-resistant.
Larix kaempferi Cruwys Morchard.
Virtually indistinguishable from Larix kaempferi Little Bogle. Branches are pleiform, densely pubescent. The needles are soft, gray-green. Autumn color of the needles varies from golden to dark orange. Annual increments within 10 cm. Fully frost-resistant.
Larix kaempferi Cupido.
Карликовый сорт лиственницы Кемпфера. Форма округлая. Хвоя мягкая, серо-зеленая, Осенняя окраска хвои изменяется т золотистой до темно-оранжевой. Годовые приросты в пределах 10 см. Полностью морозостойка.
Larix kaempferi Diana.
Крупноразмерный сорт лиственницы Кемпфера. Форма раскидистоовальная. Ветви изогнутые, хвоя мягкая, зеленая. Осенняя окраска хвои изменяется от золотистой до темно-оранжевой. Годовые приросты более 30 см. Полностью морозостойка.
Larix kaempferi Grey Pearl.
Карликовый сорт лиственницы Кемпфера. Форма округлая. Хвоя мягкая, серо-зеленая. Autumn color of the needles varies from golden to dark orange. Annual gains within 5-7 cm. Fully frost-resistant.
Larix kaempferi Little Bogle.
Virtually indistinguishable from Larix kaempferi Cruwys Morchard. Branches are pleiform, densely pubescent. The needles are soft, gray green. Autumn color of the needles varies from golden to dark orange. Annual increments within 10 cm. Fully frost-resistant.
Larix kaempferi Mazanek.
Srednerosly grade of a larch of Kempfer. Branches are curved, whip-shaped, randomly located. The needles are soft, green. Autumn color of the needles varies from golden to dark orange. Annual increments within 30 cm. Fully frost-resistant.
Larix kaempferi Minor.
Srednerosly grade of a larch of Kempfer. Branches develop in a vertical direction, whiplike. The needles are soft, green. Autumn color of the needles varies from golden to dark orange. Annual increments within 30 cm. Fully frost-resistant,
Larix kaempferi Stiff Weeping.
Weeping grade of Kempfer larch. Oval oblong shape. The branches are densely pubescent, falling. The width and height of the plant can be set by the gardener himself. The needles are green and blue. Autumn needles color from golden to dark orange. Annual increments within 50 cm. Fully frost-resistant.
Larix kaempferi Wehlem.
Dwarf Kempfer larch variety. The shape is rounded oblate. The needles are soft, gray-green-blue. Autumn needles color from golden to dark orange. Annual growth of 5-7cm. Fully frost resistant View photos of larch trees, described above:
Larix sibirica - Siberian Larch.
Forms extensive forests in Siberia and the Far East. This is the most common plant in Russia. The needles are gentle, light green. Unfortunately, practically does not have garden cultivars.