Content Detail

Japanese larch is a sun-loving, deciduous conifer native to Japan. The 70-foot-high pyramidal tree has slender, pendulous branches, and clusters of bright green needles that turn a golden yellow in the fall before dropping.

  • Family (English) Pine
  • Family (botanic) Pinaceae
  • Planting site City parkway, Residential and parks, Wide median
  • Tree or plant type Tree
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Large tree (more than 40 feet)
  • Mature height 70-90 feet
  • Mature width 25-40 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Chicago), Zone 6, Zone 7
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Road salt
  • Season of interest early fall, early summer, late spring, late summer, mid fall, mid spring, midsummer
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous
  • Shape or form Pyramidal
  • Growth rate Fast
  • Transplants well Yes
  • Planting considerations Intolerant of pollution, May be difficult to find in nurseries
  • Wildlife Insect-eating birds, Moths, Seed-eating birds
  • Has cultivars Yes

Native geographic location and habitat:

It is native to Japan.

Bark color and texture:

Mature bark is a scaly, reddish brown.

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

Needles are dark green above with 2 white bands on the underside and grow in clusters of 40 needles on short spurs. Fall color is golden yellow and the needles are deciduous.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Female flowers are 1/2 inch long and reddish, while male flowers are smaller, yellow and catkin-like along the same twigs.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

The larch has small, 1 to 1-1/2 inch stalked cones which persist throughout winter.

Plant care:

Best in a sunny site with moist soil. The larch is intolerant of shade, drought and air pollution.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Larch case-bearer, gypsy moth and woolly aphids are potential problems.

Diana Japanese larch (Larix kaempferi ‘Diana’):

This smaller cultivar has a pyramidal habit and contorted new growth. It grows 45 feet tall and 20 feet wide.


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