Content Detail

European larch is a great choice for specimen plantings or in groups for parks and large areas. Unlike most conifers, it drops its needles in winter. Bright green foliage in spring changes to medium green throughout summer, turning a golden yellow in fall before falling.

  • Family (English) Pine
  • Family (botanic) Pinaceae
  • Planting site Residential and parks
  • Tree or plant type Tree
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Large tree (more than 40 feet)
  • Mature height 70-75 feet
  • Mature width 25-30 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago)
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil
  • Season of interest early fall, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous
  • Shape or form Irregular, Pyramidal
  • Growth rate Fast, Moderate
  • Transplants well Yes
  • Planting considerations Intolerant of pollution
  • Wildlife Insect-eating birds, Moths, Seed-eating birds
  • Has cultivars Yes

Native geographic location and habitat:

Native to Europe.

Bark color and texture:

Mature bark is scaly and reddish brown.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

Needles grow in clusters of 2 inch long needles on older branches and singularly on new growth. They are bright green in spring changing to medium green throughout summer. Fall color is golden yellow. Needles are deciduous.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Female flowers are 1/2 inch long and reddish in color. Male flowers are smaller, yellow, and catkin-like. Male and female flowers bloom along the same twigs.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Small, 3/4 to 1 inch cones grow persisting throughout winter.

Plant care: This tree grows best in a sunny site with moist soil. It is tolerant of temporary flooding and wet conditions. Prune in mid-summer.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Larch case-bearer can be a problem for this tree.


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