shaggy larch

View previous topic View next topic Go down

shaggy larch

Post  littlebobby on Sat Jun 13, 2009 11:23 am

hello chaps. new here. Quick question about larch. I have a nice mature (approx 28 - 30 yrs old) larch which I bought about 4 years ago. I'm happy with the general design now but I've have a perennial problem with the foliage. After the first few months of the growing season, the leaves become very leggy and shaggy losing any sense of density and compactnes. Three questions:

1) how do I stop this from happening in the first place (for future reference)?

2) How do I tidy it up now? Is there any way of rescuing the situation?

3) How do I post images of my trees for you good people to be able to offer advice fully informed?

littlebobby
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: shaggy larch

Post  Kev Bailey on Sat Jun 13, 2009 1:04 pm

I keep my Larches in good shape by doing something that many advise against. At the stage where the little "shaving brush" starts to extend as a soft shoot, I pinch them all out leaving just a tight rosette of small needles. This is only appropriate for trees that are already styled to the shape and size you want though.

This maintains a very tidy tree but does eventually lead to knotty congested growth which needs thinning out.

As for now, you can cut back to just a few needles along each shoot and a bud for next year will then develop at the base of each needle.

To post pics, please read the "Tutorial on Posting Pics" that Jim has kindly posted in Testing.

_________________
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” - Charles Darwin.

Kev Bailey
Admin


Back to top Go down

Re: shaggy larch

Post  littlebobby on Sat Jun 13, 2009 1:17 pm

cheers - I read the thread about pictures after I posted. Myu apologies. I'll hoy up a picture later.


when you said cut back could you explain a little more - where to cut? I experimented on a small area by trimming back the tops of the needles but as I suspected it served only to make it turn brown.

littlebobby
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: shaggy larch

Post  Kev Bailey on Sat Jun 13, 2009 1:26 pm

Not the needles, trim the shoot leaving just the rosette of needles at the base plus a couple of needles along the shoot.

_________________
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” - Charles Darwin.

Kev Bailey
Admin


Back to top Go down

Re: shaggy larch

Post  Vance Wood on Sat Jun 13, 2009 1:42 pm

Kev Bailey wrote:Not the needles, trim the shoot leaving just the rosette of needles at the base plus a couple of needles along the shoot.

I assume you guys are talking about European Larch? I use this technique on American Eastern Larch; Larix Laricina. I have done it this way for years, over twenty to be precise, with no bad side effects. It does keep the growth tight and tidy and stimulates the internal weaker buds to develop. As has been mentioned here by Kev, the only thing you can do at this point is to cut back to a couple of rows of needles near the base of each shoot. I never allow the new shoots to extend unless I need a longer branch for future development, or in the pinching process miss one or two--it happens. This procedure lasts most of the growing season. Not everything gets to this point at the same time so you have to keep your eyes open and perform it on a daily basis.

Vance Wood
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: shaggy larch

Post  Kev Bailey on Sat Jun 13, 2009 2:08 pm

I use it on L decidua (European) L kaempferi (Japanese) and the Dunkeld Larch which is a cross of the two. I'm really glad to hear you say that Vance. It validates my approach.

_________________
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” - Charles Darwin.

Kev Bailey
Admin


Back to top Go down

Re: shaggy larch

Post  littlebobby on Sat Jun 13, 2009 3:26 pm

thanks chaps. I'll give it a whirl.

littlebobby
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: shaggy larch

Post  Vance Wood on Sat Jun 13, 2009 6:11 pm

Kev Bailey wrote:I use it on L decidua (European) L kaempferi (Japanese) and the Dunkeld Larch which is a cross of the two. I'm really glad to hear you say that Vance. It validates my approach.

If someone is making the argument that this process is injurious to the tree you would think after twenty-seven-years of doing this one tree I have in mind the tree would be gone---and it is not. Therefore one must conclude that this idea is viable and will not harm the tree. Larch after all have to be kept growing inward. If you do not do so you might just as well toss out the tree because from my experience with Laricina they do not back but well. Incidentally my Larch is well over a hundred years old.

Vance Wood
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: shaggy larch

Post  William Feldman on Sat Jun 13, 2009 8:17 pm

Is it the elongating shoots that are making the tree shaggy, or the needles themselves? I think I've read that reduced watering early in the season will keep the needles from getting too long. If you are planting in a peat mix, it might also help to switch to a soil mix that holds less water, like lava/pumice/akadama mix.

William Feldman
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: shaggy larch

Post  Roger Snipes on Sun Jun 14, 2009 12:11 am

[Is it the elongating shoots that are making the tree shaggy, or the needles themselves?]

I was wondering that as well. The original post makes it sound like the needles are too long, not new shoots. He also doesn't specify which larch he is talking about. The foliage on Japanese larch usually doesn't get too long, but I have a couple of Western larch, Larix occidentalis, and the needles on these get quite long. Once the needles are fully out the tree looks quite shaggy (with really long needles, not the elongating shoots). Western larch only really look good when bare.

Roger

Roger Snipes
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: shaggy larch

Post  Vance Wood on Sun Jun 14, 2009 1:43 am

William Feldman wrote:Is it the elongating shoots that are making the tree shaggy, or the needles themselves? I think I've read that reduced watering early in the season will keep the needles from getting too long. If you are planting in a peat mix, it might also help to switch to a soil mix that holds less water, like lava/pumice/akadama mix.

I do not recommend the practice of withholding water to any tree with the idea of keeping the needles small, especially Larch which tend to grow in swamps and areas that are too wet for most trees. If you find it necessary to withhold water to make needles smaller it is my opinion you are doing something wrong. Essentially what you are doing is stressing the tree out and for this practice to succeed you have to carefully watch the tree constantly to make sure you don't go from stress to disaster. I know someone very knowledgeable in bonsai who practiced this on a very fine shohin Mugo. The watering schedule got interrupted on one occasion due to circumstances totally not his fault and he lost the tree. Personally I find that Mugos like a good deal of water as long as the soil drains well. Any way that's just my opinion, and you know what they say about opinions.

In my opinion and experience with Mugos, Scots and Larch the key is pinching. If you pinch properly at the right time of year you will have short needles.

Vance Wood
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: shaggy larch

Post  littlebobby on Sun Jun 14, 2009 12:29 pm

Vance Wood wrote:
William Feldman wrote:Is it the elongating shoots that are making the tree shaggy, or the needles themselves? I think I've read that reduced watering early in the season will keep the needles from getting too long. If you are planting in a peat mix, it might also help to switch to a soil mix that holds less water, like lava/pumice/akadama mix.

I do not recommend the practice of withholding water to any tree with the idea of keeping the needles small, especially Larch which tend to grow in swamps and areas that are too wet for most trees. If you find it necessary to withhold water to make needles smaller it is my opinion you are doing something wrong. Essentially what you are doing is stressing the tree out and for this practice to succeed you have to carefully watch the tree constantly to make sure you don't go from stress to disaster. I know someone very knowledgeable in bonsai who practiced this on a very fine shohin Mugo. The watering schedule got interrupted on one occasion due to circumstances totally not his fault and he lost the tree. Personally I find that Mugos like a good deal of water as long as the soil drains well. Any way that's just my opinion, and you know what they say about opinions.

In my opinion and experience with Mugos, Scots and Larch the key is pinching. If you pinch properly at the right time of year you will have short needles.

so essentially then, it's too late in the season for me to do anything about it now?

littlebobby
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: shaggy larch

Post  Vance Wood on Sun Jun 14, 2009 12:55 pm

You can cut back this years growth to a couple of swirls of needles above the point where growth began this spring and have the same kind of back budding. The problem with waiting to this point is the new growth will, for the rest of the year, look like it has been cut. When you pinch at the right time the new growth does not reveal what you have done to it. What would normally go into extending the shoot and lengthening the needles will not be redirected into producing new buds.

Vance Wood
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: shaggy larch

Post  Reiner Goebel on Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:08 am

At this time of the year, I only pinch the new growth. I don't let it harden to the point where I would need scissors to reduce it.

I am now into pinching the second spurt of growth, much less vigorous than the first one.

Reiner Goebel
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: shaggy larch

Post  Vance Wood on Mon Jun 15, 2009 12:21 pm

Reiner Goebel wrote:At this time of the year, I only pinch the new growth. I don't let it harden to the point where I would need scissors to reduce it.

I am now into pinching the second spurt of growth, much less vigorous than the first one.

Good to hear from you Reiner. I agree with your post. If you pinch the Larch correctly as the new growth develops you should by this time of year start seeing a second flush of growth. I believe that many who have shaggy problems with this tree start having them at this point in allowing the second flush to develop unchallenged.

Vance Wood
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: shaggy larch

Post  Cliff on Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:44 pm

Here's an article on Larix laricina describing how the author induced shorter needles by changing his potting mix. He also talks about pinching, pruning, and fertilizing.

http://mababonsai.org/pages/wood_larch1.html

Cliff
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: shaggy larch

Post  littlebobby on Tue Jun 16, 2009 12:06 am

I have to say gentlemen, I'm astounded by the generosity and volume of responses to a total dunce's question. Thanks you Very Happy

littlebobby
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: shaggy larch

Post  Roger Snipes on Tue Jun 16, 2009 3:37 am

It would seem that everyone is referring to long shoots as shaggy, and not long needles. Vance and Reiner's infomation on shoot pinching is correct, of course, and will limit to some extent the needle length on new shoots.

Littlebobby never did say which larch it is that he is dealing with. Some larch just have longer needles than others, and will look shaggy regardless of pinching technique.

This is a closeup of Japanese larch foliage:


This is a closeup of Western larch foliage:


This is the two side by side, Western larch on the left, Japanese larch on the right:


(I hope I got the picture posting right.) You can see the Western larch foliage is much longer than the Japanese larch foliage, giving the tree a very shaggy appearance. There is not much to be done about the needle length on the Western larch, that is how long they come out from a spur, regardless if it puts out a shoot or just a rosette of needles.

Roger

Roger Snipes
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: shaggy larch

Post  littlebobby on Tue Jun 16, 2009 6:13 pm

that's very helpful. clearly it's a european larch after seeing that. A bit more timely and judicious pruning next year should help to manage it. Funny though, I have another european which I have managed in the same way (the only difference being the soil it's in) and the needles are more compact and tidy.

littlebobby
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: shaggy larch

Post  Sponsored content Today at 7:20 pm


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum