Larch Bud Swelling Information

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Larch Bud Swelling Information

Post  Fore on Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:00 pm

A friend gave me a Larch last fall. I've no experience with Larches. At the time, I didn't pay attn to the size of the buds and I've since read you have to repot when the buds swell. (it's in 10 gal container of rich old soil that hardly never dries out). The tree is healthy. My question is does anyone have a pic of a swollen and un-swollen buds for me to look at? Or, maybe someone can give me the appx. sizes of both, like 1/4" and 1/8" respectfully? I just need a gauge to watch out for the time to get this out of this dirt and into Turface.

Thanks for any help! I tried googling pictures of Larch buds, but didn't find anything.
Chris

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Re: Larch Bud Swelling Information

Post  drgonzo on Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:37 pm

"Most" of the advice I've read is that Larches should be re-potted before buds begin to swell, with the exception of Tamarack (American Larch) which some feel is best done as buds just break. To that end I just re-potted my L. Kaempferi yesterday. I have a very stable dormant storage area so I can get away with things a bit early. I have alot of trees though and I try to knock back as much as possible as early as possible.

is there any way we can se a pic. If its in a 10 gal container I'm wondering how big it is.
-Jay

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Re: Larch Bud Swelling Information

Post  Norma on Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:54 pm

Hi Chris,

I've had buds popping for years in my cold room but I never kept a larch there. After years of trying to repot inside the house or ice cold garage ; I have for the last ten years let the trees wait for reasonable outdoor conditions with no apparent damage. My larch, which are wintered outdoors, are like weeds once they are brought to the benches in late April.

If you have a good place that is warm and has access to hose or sink for washing root balls , go ahead and repot but be sure and put the newly repotted tree on a warm seedling pad. I lost a best of show boxwood when I repotted too early .....root rot!!

Best wishes,
Norma ( Zone 4b)

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Re: Larch Bud Swelling Information

Post  coh on Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:13 pm

I only have 1 larch (also kaempferi) and it's still in a nursery pot...so that should give you an idea of my experience level with them. With that said, I was told last spring that larches needed to be repotted when the buds were "pink", and that the timing was very critical. I don't know how true that is...but it is pretty obvious when the buds are "pink", at least on the kaempferi. I don't have any photos, though.

I did pretty much a complete bare-root on mine because it needed a lot of root work. Most of the buds were in the "pink" stage, but a few had gone further and were showing green. Tree survived the repotting just fine.

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Re: Larch Bud Swelling Information

Post  drgonzo on Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:25 pm

coh wrote:I only have 1 larch (also kaempferi) and it's still in a nursery pot...so that should give you an idea of my experience level with them. With that said, I was told last spring that larches needed to be repotted when the buds were "pink", and that the timing was very critical. I don't know how true that is...but it is pretty obvious when the buds are "pink", at least on the kaempferi. I don't have any photos, though.

I did pretty much a complete bare-root on mine because it needed a lot of root work. Most of the buds were in the "pink" stage, but a few had gone further and were showing green. Tree survived the repotting just fine.


I didn't do any root work to mine, just slipped it into a bit deeper Mica pot, but I'll remember the "Pink" thing in future thank you Chris. Just a word of warning Fore; healthy dormant Larch roots appear black, don't be fooled into thinking you have the worlds worst case of root rot!
-Jay

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Re: Larch Bud Swelling Information

Post  marcus watts on Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:34 pm

we find on mature trees the first visible bud movement is often the cone/flower swelling, followed a few weeks later by the true foliage bud break. I think this gives you the notice period to get ready and repotting is fine between the two stages. I must admit i think of a larch as a weed type tree also - bulletproof, stays out all winter with full exposure to rain, frost and snow (quite mild here though 21 to 17F at lowest). i have never lost a tree or even a branch over the last 15 years there has been a larch or 2 on the benches. They like a bit of root run though while being formed, not squeezed into a little shallow pot. Sphagnum moss @ 5% helps new root development and as mentioned - dont let a newly root pruned tree freeze solid

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Re: Larch Bud Swelling Information

Post  drgonzo on Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:43 pm

Marcus

I threw in a bit of chopped sphagnum with my Turface when I did the repot yesterday. I figured the Larch was bound to like a bit of mushy acidity. Do you find you have to wet it in order to get it to mix in nicely? Its my first attempt to use it in a soil mix. I'm thinking about incorporating it into the maples and Beeches this year and thus breaking my staunch adherence to 100% inorganics this is based primarily on your recommendation from an earlier thread on acidifying inorganic soil. Its fun to experiment.
-Jay

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Re: Larch Bud Swelling Information

Post  LSBonsai on Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:59 pm

Fore wrote:A friend gave me a Larch last fall. I've no experience with Larches. At the time, I didn't pay attn to the size of the buds and I've since read you have to repot when the buds swell. (it's in 10 gal container of rich old soil that hardly never dries out). The tree is healthy. My question is does anyone have a pic of a swollen and un-swollen buds for me to look at? Or, maybe someone can give me the appx. sizes of both, like 1/4" and 1/8" respectfully? I just need a gauge to watch out for the time to get this out of this dirt and into Turface.

Thanks for any help! I tried googling pictures of Larch buds, but didn't find anything.
Chris

This is what you're looking for with larcina. The little dome on the ends of the buds swells and turns a distinct copperish colour right before turning green. Any time within that copper-green window is considered the best time to repot them. But they are tough trees. They can be repotted earlier or later than that. Just protect them from hard frost after repotting.

This pic was taken around early-mid april in zone 6. Try to keep your larches dormant as late as possible. Let them freeze hard and keep them in the shade. They are one of the hardiest trees on the planet, but the new growth is quite tender.



Last edited by a2khalid on Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:06 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Larch Bud Swelling Information

Post  Fore on Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:05 pm

Jay, my friend got it as a 15' tall nursery plant who trunk chopped it to about 4'. Sorry, no pics yet, but you're not missing much. Minimal trunk movement and boring. My plan is this: Repot this year, and do an air layer for another tree. Next yr., using the bottom part of the tree, allow to grow and dev. new leaders. Prob. the following yr. I'm going to use a trunk splitter to split the trunk, 1/3 to 2/3 proportions. Cut the 1/3 thick trunk to 2/3 the ht of the larger trunk. Wrap heavily in raffia, wire and shape. This way I can deal with the lack of taper and dev. an interesting twin trunk. I've seen it done in demo's, and thought I'd give it a try. If it fails, I'll still have the air layer. Took me quite a bit of imagination to come up with this scheme LOL (oh and Thanks for the heads up on the roots, Very Good to know)

Norma, it's 15F with wind chill of 9F today. Going to be this cold for next couple days. No repotting necessary yet, and lucky too what with this weather.

Chris, so the buds start turning a pink color. Thanks, that helps a lot! I don't see any pink yet so I think I've got time.

Marcus, so I have the time period between bud swell to the earliest foliage bud break to repot? Again, that helps a lot too. And adding sphagnum moss to the soil isn't something I've heard about. Do you have a link to the thread Jay just mentioned?

a2khalid, Thanks for the picture, my buds aren't that big yet (good!). And copper color is similar to pink color. Got it! Wink

Thanks for the help everyone!
Chris



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Re: Larch Bud Swelling Information

Post  drgonzo on Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:22 pm

Fore

http://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/t7523-how-do-we-acidify-inorganic-bonsai-soil

This is my thread from late last year where we got into sphagnum a bit.
Its funny as I look back on what I was originally thinking, even just as recently as August of last year, with regard to organic fertilizers in that thread I have ultimately found to be wrong, and have since changed my mind. Always learning I suppose.

Do Larches air layer well?

-Jay

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Re: Larch Bud Swelling Information

Post  coh on Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:47 pm

Fore wrote:Chris, so the buds start turning a pink color. Thanks, that helps a lot! I don't see any pink yet so I think I've got time.
Yep...someone else described it as coppery, it's kind of a cross between coppery and pink (as I remember it). Also, along with the color change comes a definite swelling which you'll be able to see.

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Re: Larch Bud Swelling Information

Post  marcus watts on Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:34 pm

drgonzo wrote:Marcus

I threw in a bit of chopped sphagnum with my Turface when I did the repot yesterday. I figured the Larch was bound to like a bit of mushy acidity. Do you find you have to wet it in order to get it to mix in nicely? Its my first attempt to use it in a soil mix. I'm thinking about incorporating it into the maples and Beeches this year and thus breaking my staunch adherence to 100% inorganics this is based primarily on your recommendation from an earlier thread on acidifying inorganic soil. Its fun to experiment.
-Jay

hi Jay,

i usually collect a big sack full of live sphagnum once a year from a lake that i fish by in France. this lasts me most years until the next trip. with the live moss i grab a handfull, squeeze it tight and trim it with shears into small shreds, then mix into the soil mix. Some years i need to buy some dried as well and with this i soak the whole block in a large bucket of water so it swells up many times the original volume. this is then stored in a clear sack outside - it even greens up when the sun gets on it though the plastic sometimes.

i started using moss in the soil mix about 10 years ago to rejuvinate some very old tired junipers and then a root damaged pine. this worked so well i use it in every single soil mix now - I dont have a tree that doesnt respond well to the mix. Certainly maples (i add 5% moss and 20% kanuma - acers are acid loving and like humidity). The beech (crenata) will get 5% moss, 10% fine bark and the rest inorganic on this years repot - i have a gut feeling beech and hornbeam will appreciate the organic elements to the soil mix.

I remember repotting the really old rigida for the first time - it had been left with a solid core of old soil and roots for nearly 20 years (just a 1" trim round the edges at most). I removed about 1/4 of this old soil in a slice all the way to the trunk just to the side of the main live vein. the tree was settled on a thin bed of sphagnum moss and the slice was filled with a 50/50 mix of moss and soil mix. New roots grew into this area right up to the trunk and the new foliage growth was explosive. The tree recieved a proper repot that day - 1/3 of the outer roots pruned + the 1/4 slice. 5 years on and another 1/4 will be removed and this will be the two large ancient areas between the live vein roots completely renewed over the 2 repotting sessions. (When kimura flipped the rootless tree upsidedown it was sphagnum that got roots growing), it is the missing link to plant root growth in my opinion as it provides humidity, air and acidity, plus I'm sure i read about a rumoured natural compound?.

cheers 4 now, Marcus

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Re: Larch Bud Swelling Information

Post  Simo44 on Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:33 am

Larch repotting timing, I've always been told, needs to be quite spot on. Wait for the buds to swell and turn golden.

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Re: Larch Bud Swelling Information

Post  Fore on Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:48 pm

Jay, I've been told Larches air layer very well.

And Thanks for the link, I posted a note on it.

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Re: Larch Bud Swelling Information

Post  coh on Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:55 pm

Golden, coppery, pink...you get the idea! I think the swelling and color change will be obvious.

As for layering...I've generally had decent success with layering various trees, but have struck out so far with larch...0 for 3. I've been trying to layer branches of a Larix laricina in my yard...one of them started a root or 2 but then failed. The others failed quickly. Don't know why...I used the ring bark method...someone on another forum mentioned larches are difficult to layer and suggested trying the wire tourniquet method. I may do that this season. Anyone have success layering larch? Any tips?

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Re: Larch Bud Swelling Information

Post  Fore on Sun Feb 12, 2012 5:16 pm

That's bad to hear Chris! Not what I was expecting. I'll check in next time and see if the guy uses any particular technique, as he did tell me they were very adaptable to air layers. I'll post what I learn here.

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Re: Larch Bud Swelling Information

Post  crust on Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:12 pm

The bonsai ogre Nick Lenz has layered larches when he was inspired to, some quit large. He describes it in his book. On the one I observed over time he used the wire method and green living spagnum starting in the spring. I never have done it myself though. He said between owly grunts, "living spagnum is the key".

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Re: Larch Bud Swelling Information

Post  Fore on Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:25 pm

Living sphagnum? What a pain to have to deal with getting it, propagating it and maintaining it. Anyone else hear about this use?

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Re: Larch Bud Swelling Information

Post  marcus watts on Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:32 pm

Fore wrote:Living sphagnum? What a pain to have to deal with getting it, propagating it and maintaining it. Anyone else hear about this use?

no, you misunderstand - it isnt neccessary to use live moss, or keep it live. You can easily buy blocks of dried sphagnum moss (in the uk it is sold for terrarium growing, reptile enclosures, hanging baskets of flowers etc so lots of places to buy it - here you gosphagnum in usa) With the dried moss you soak it in water so it expands and fully saturated then use it in the soil mix.

if you know where an acid wet bog area is located you can collect your own, and again you can dry it or just leave it in a sack fresh.

the use of sphagnum in horticuture, layering and i expect bonsai goes back decades, if not 100's of years now. The properties it has for root generation is probably unrivalled, its why it is the number one choice for air layering.

cheers Marcus

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Re: Larch Bud Swelling Information

Post  Fore on Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:44 pm

Oh, I understand now, Thanks for clarifying that Marcus. I used rehydrated sphagnum moss in sev. air layers last yr. The only ones that didn't take were Acer Rubrim?/Red maple...which I had heard don't air layer well. This yr. I'm going to try again but add some Turface to the moss for better drainage. The failed ones just stayed wet the entire summer...strange considering how hot it gets here.

In addition, we have an ornamental coral bark maple I'm going to try this year in addition to the Larch. Having a coral bark maple bonsai would be really cool and one that I haven't seen as bonsai's before.

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Re: Larch Bud Swelling Information

Post  drgonzo on Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:27 pm

Fore wrote:Oh, I understand now, Thanks for clarifying that Marcus. I used rehydrated sphagnum moss in sev. air layers last yr. The only ones that didn't take were Acer Rubrim?/Red maple...which I had heard don't air layer well. This yr. I'm going to try again but add some Turface to the moss for better drainage. The failed ones just stayed wet the entire summer...strange considering how hot it gets here.

In addition, we have an ornamental coral bark maple I'm going to try this year in addition to the Larch. Having a coral bark maple bonsai would be really cool and one that I haven't seen as bonsai's before.

Not to keep tooting my own threads but check this out for air-layering advice...
http://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/t8453-air-layering-tips?highlight=air+layering

also try using perlite instead of Turface, and dont pack the medium in Too tight!
-Jay

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Re: Larch Bud Swelling Information

Post  Fore on Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:20 pm

LOL That's exactly the same thing that happened to me Jay. Plus, I used long sphagnum, not chopped up. Wonder if that had an influence. Not exactly sure about the sun, I tried two red maples, a potted one in the sun, and one tree in my front yard that gets no sun whatsoever. Yet both failed and both too soggy and yes, I packed them very tightly too. I had drainage holes at the bottom and some at the top to keep moist. I'll not do the top one this time. And I do think adding something to help keep it aerated...perlites a good choice.

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Re: Larch Bud Swelling Information

Post  drgonzo on Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:59 pm

My failures were due to packing soaking wet long strand sphagnum into my layer "sheath" and thus creating an anaerobic condition that was detrimental to root formation. Rooting actually requires a the presence of oxygen. I should have known better as I am a somewhat able cloner.

Next time I'm Packin' it loose, and mixing in a bit of perlite.
-Jay

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Re: Larch Bud Swelling Information

Post  Fore on Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:28 pm

I second that! Very Happy

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