The European Larch has become something of a fixture in British woodlands since its introduction into the country by John Tradescant in the seventeenth century. Uncommonly, one of the few deciduous conifers, its fast-growing habit, fresh green leaves in spring and lovely autumn colour make it a good choice for planting in a variety of situations. It has good wildlife value too, in spite of the fact that it is native to Europe.
Site and soil
Tolerant of a wide range of soils except those which are waterlogged. Good in exposed sites and tolerant of intense cold. Avoid shady positions.
Height and spread
After 10 years: 8m x 3m After 20 years: 15m x 4m
Leaf and bark
The needle-like fresh green leaves are borne in tufts on the shoots and open in early spring shortly after the flowers. They are scented and turn golden yellow before leaf fall in autumn. The bark is pinkish-grey, developing vertical cracks and ridges with age.
Flower, seed and fruit
The flowers open in early spring; the males are yellow, the females red. They are followed by green cones about 5cm long, ripening to brownish-red. Old cones often remain on the tree for many years.
Woodland, specimen tree, commercial plantations, shelter belt, large gardens. The Larch is often used as a nurse tree to shelter slower-growing species like oak and beech. The wood is very strong and durable, more so than any other conifer, and is used in boat-building, mines, fencing, railway sleepers and building. Turpentine was once extracted from the sap, and the bark has medicinal and veterinary uses.
The European Larch attracts a range of birds, including the Siskin, Citril Finch and Lesser Redpoll. The Capercaillie feeds on its shoots and it is the major food source for the Case Bearer moth. Because it is deciduous, and even when in leaf has a light canopy, it allows wild plants to flourish on the woodland floor.
The main reasons for buying protection is to protect the plants against:
When it comes to deciding what protection to choose the golden rule is to choose the product dependent on which pest you are protecting against. The below will help you in deciding what height of protection you will need.
Vole, Mice 20cm
Roe Deer, Muntjac 1.20m
Fallow Deer 1.50m
Pest & Minimum Protection Height
Protection Type Where more than one size is listed, the wider diameter protection is recommended for taller, bushier plants.
Support Required Taller support is recommended for use in sandier, lighter soils and wider/stronger support should be used at exposed sites.