Pruning Larch
Created by Colin Lewis in Zone 7 on 11/25/2008. Colin Lewis has been doing bonsai since 1974, and this regimen has 5 users currently using it.
Applicable Species: Japanese Larch (Larix kaempferi ), Tamarack (Larix laricina ), European Larch (Larix decidua ),

Development Stage: Ramification


Notes: European and Japanese larches are mountain trees. American larch (Tamerack) is a wetland species.

Spring/Summer Care: Keep pots cool by shading them. Larch roots cook easily.

Fall/Winter Care: Larch are extremely cold hardy.

Propagation Notes: Readily from seed.

Maximum Top Pruning:

Graph_5 Up to 3/4
Maximum Root Pruning:

Graph_6 3/4
Soil pH:

Graph_1 acidic
Organic Soil Preference:

Graph_inactive Not Specified
Cold Protection:

Graph_5 Protect From Wind
Sun Protection:

Graph_2 Partial Shade Required
Water Preference:

Graph_4 Constantly Moist
Back Budding Ease:

Graph_1 Never
  Jan Mar May Jul Sep Nov
Ph Cold Sun Water
Japanese Larch( Larix kaempferi )
by Colin Lewis in Zone 7
Graph_1 Graph_5 Graph_2 Graph_4
feed 1 1 2 1 1
Fertilize with balanced solid from beginning of growth thru when leaves change color
Larch are vigorous trees and respond well to heavy feeding. Feeding too late in the season will induce small weak shoots that will often wither over winter.
prune   prune prune                  
major pruning, from before buds open, thru when buds swell
Larch produce either non-extending spurs or extending shoots. If you prune to leave only spurs before buds break, extension growth, therefor ramification, will be slow. Always leave some new buds.
prune           prune prune          
major pruning, from after shoots harden, thru July
If you delay major pruning until the first flush of growth has hardened, you can prune harder and expect more of the non-extending spurs to convert to extension shoots.
prune       prune prune prune prune   prune      
trim new shoots, from April, thru September
Exact timing depends where you live and when the season begins. New shoots are only trimmed if they are not needed to build ramification (in which case let them grow stronger). Where short extension is desired, look at the underside of the shoot where the pre-formed buds are easier to see - tiny swellings at the base of some needles. Pinch back to an appropriate bud. To keep already formed pads neat, cut the shoots back to just a few needles. New buds (usually three) will form at the base of the shoot.
wiring   prune prune                  
Wire from before buds open thru when buds swell. Check after 1 months.
Larch foliage is delicate and suffers badly when wiring is attempted while the tree is in leaf. NEVER leave wire on larch during winter, there is a serious risk of branch loss!
Repot starting when buds swell thru . Repot every 3 to 5 years.
Larch roots look dead and rotten, but they are alive, so don't panic! IMPORTANT: Repot European and Japanese larches when the buds begin to swell and become glossy gold, NOT green. Repot American larch just AFTER the buds show green.
Using this Page
If you need information on how to interpret any of the fields of this recommendation, click on Using This Site.
In order for us to find organizations close to you based on your zip code, please sign in or create an account.