A thread about collecting Tamarack from a bog.

Eckhoffw

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Well, I won’t be attempting to collect these trees this year. 😁
I’ve missed that window, and that’s quite alright. I plan on returning to collect in early spring.

This is a tamarack bog at my father’s hobby farm in Luck, WI.

Im hoping that anyone with experience collecting tamarack trees from a bog/wetland, will please share their experiences

I will document my findings, discoveries, and collections here.
So here’s the site. 47B3A76C-6910-4C06-B216-B9EB03F5110A.jpegF8410C08-4F90-4118-8776-1C31FABC73AA.jpeg
This was a nice time to walk around since the ground was dry & frozen enough to walk cautiously. Still with each step you could sink in to the moss 2” or a foot! Snow shoes would have helped.
The next day it snowed, so I’m happy to have gotten out there prior.
Here are a few of the trees I marked for next spring. 76C77515-A740-4269-9166-E5A665D15328.jpegB96D4C6C-9C63-4F2E-A904-4FE981E909AA.jpegBC051E7E-8104-41C7-A655-94F807682FF4.jpeg
As you can see, lots of lichen and moss hills around the trunks of the trees. B085D828-7F44-48EE-81E8-081FAFD6DEBD.jpeg

Many more were flagged before I headed back to the farm.
I’ve heard sphagnum moss and pumice makes a good mix for these, so that’s what I plan on using.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated as I plan my dig.
 
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Nice looking larch. I've been eye ballin some bog larch that I'm considering collecting.

There was another thread where where I think @River's Edge was talking about troubles with collecting from bogs because it's hard to get a good root ball and collecting from the perimeter was better than deep in the bog.

I'll see if I can find the thread.
 
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My experience has been limited to collecting in the fall. In spring, the bogs I have access to have too much water to navigate. I found the tamaracks tended to have long roots running horizontally out into the bog's upper 6 inches or so with tuffs of feeder roots at various places. Therefor I needed to plant them initially in grow boxes with the roots coiled about to fit the container. The goal is to eventually reduce the roots back to closer to the trunk. I have read that the tamarack can take a lot of root reduction if done at the right time, namely in the spring.
 

August44

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Collecting Larch from a bog reminds me of trying to collect Shore Pine from sand down at the coast over Thanksgiving. No root balls...just long, stringy roots running way out in the sand. A lot of these were heavy enough that it would be hard to coil them in a pot unless it was a pretty big pot. Not sure if they are collectable when growing this way.
 

Brad in GR

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Certainly no expert, but I have some experience collecting larch from bog environments. Re @Dav4 mention above, I follow Nick Lenz guidelines from his book Bonsai from the Wild, and they seem to align with my experience.
If you have the time, I explain Nick's guidance in this video -
Essentially, the top layer of sphagnum decomposes over time, raising the altitude of the bog and creating that 'black death' peat soil. The larch roots die off in that anaerobic soil. The larch sends out adventitious roots as the bog layer rises, into the top-most layer, where there is living sphagnum. So you 1) want to collect only the top most layer of roots that are living and 2) he recommends collecting these in early fall, ideally as the foliage is just starting to color up.

I've gone a few collecting trips for larch - on my spring trip (as noted in the video) the larch did not survive (buds popped and declined). On my fall trips, I have had success. I do protect them over winter from deep freezes but still left them outside protected from wind.

Hope this helps. There are others with much more experience here. Cheers!
 

River's Edge

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Certainly no expert, but I have some experience collecting larch from bog environments. Re @Dav4 mention above, I follow Nick Lenz guidelines from his book Bonsai from the Wild, and they seem to align with my experience.
If you have the time, I explain Nick's guidance in this video -
Essentially, the top layer of sphagnum decomposes over time, raising the altitude of the bog and creating that 'black death' peat soil. The larch roots die off in that anaerobic soil. The larch sends out adventitious roots as the bog layer rises, into the top-most layer, where there is living sphagnum. So you 1) want to collect only the top most layer of roots that are living and 2) he recommends collecting these in early fall, ideally as the foliage is just starting to color up.

I've gone a few collecting trips for larch - on my spring trip (as noted in the video) the larch did not survive (buds popped and declined). On my fall trips, I have had success. I do protect them over winter from deep freezes but still left them outside protected from wind.

Hope this helps. There are others with much more experience here. Cheers!
This is correct if the bog has a fairly steady level of water. Where the water level varies by quite a bit seasonally the roots tend to travel deeper with few hair roots and many longer tap roots until they hit rock or clay often several feet below the surface. I cannot speak for tamarack but this is common with bog trees in my environment. The best specimens with some adventitious roots will be found in higher hummocks within the bog or some distance from the edge of the bog.
If the specimen you collect has longer roots then the approach to fold if possible is a good one, also the approach to build a custom box is often used for shore pine with extended roots sideways. This allows for gradual reduction while feeder roots are established closer to the trunk allowing removal of the longer anchor style roots.
It is about adapting to the specimen you collect and knowing what has the best chance for successful collection. Nick Lenz has many useful tips specific to native species, a good source for practical information.

Fall can be a good time if the timing is right. In some environments the trees are in summer dormancy late summer early fall, when the rains begin and the summer heat wave wanes they begin to grow again. This is a good window for root recovery prior to winter dormancy. Spring collection in bog areas is usually associated with a combination of high water and early bud break with lower elevations, which can be a more difficult window of opportunity.
 
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Eckhoffw

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My experience has been limited to collecting in the fall. In spring, the bogs I have access to have too much water to navigate. I found the tamaracks tended to have long roots running horizontally out into the bog's upper 6 inches or so with tuffs of feeder roots at various places. Therefor I needed to plant them initially in grow boxes with the roots coiled about to fit the container. The goal is to eventually reduce the roots back to closer to the trunk. I have read that the tamarack can take a lot of root reduction if done at the right time, namely in the spring.
Thank you for the tip!
I imagine myself in waders trying to dig as wide as possible around tree, to slowly see what’s what. Is there usually a long tap root to below the peat for anchor?
 
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I have a thread on collecting some tamaracks: https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/collected-a-tamarack.46249/#post-795125
On post 14, I described a tree that seemed to have a tap root at the time of collection, which I cut off under the water. It later appeared that the tap root was old trunk that had been buried by the bog, which rose over time. This tree was about 40 yo at the time of collection. I think Lenz describes this. If the bog rises, the tree sends out new roots near the surface and the buried older parts of the tree die off. At least that is what I found with that tree.
 

Eckhoffw

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Well, today I go to the bog to attempt to dig out some tamarack.
Thanks @River's Edge ,@Brad in GR for the great information!

I’ve decided to only dig the most advantageous trees leaving more difficult prospects till fall.
I have no idea what the the roots will be like, but have a little better idea as to what to expect!
🤞
 

River's Edge

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Well, today I go to the bog to attempt to dig out some tamarack.
Thanks @River's Edge ,@Brad in GR for the great information!

I’ve decided to only dig the most advantageous trees leaving more difficult prospects till fall.
I have no idea what the the roots will be like, but have a little better idea as to what to expect!
🤞
Check the batteries in your Garmin:eek:
 

Eckhoffw

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Well here’s my adventure!
Got my stuff togetherED7517BE-394A-401B-B417-85379F31855A.jpeg
Headed out to the bog. E890884D-4340-4155-A238-E6793B72F83D.jpegSome pics of the prospects.
6C9EA262-ACD2-4536-BDA4-9B3BE9C25173.jpegE7D0C574-E3F5-42E4-812B-DF5F221184AF.jpegDF4DCBA4-0CFB-4EAE-8193-C58A7BF2F6EF.jpegDecided to go for this one 4754EB28-D421-4D4F-8B8D-B023EDBFDB5B.jpegThe moss islands around each of the trees are very interesting!569A0D4F-CBBF-4B8F-8E9D-F467FF39CFCB.jpegC8C5301A-8D9A-4645-B1D3-07ABB633CE28.jpegOften times the trunk goes down a foot or more before coming to a root. I founds that out on this attempt. CFF0401F-C398-4768-A374-CED2B2B4DC3E.jpeg
I cut the trunk 16” down beneath the moss and still no feeder roots.
This one was pitched. D9F0B731-609D-4495-B5E6-F09BB6D905E3.jpeg
To be continued….
 

Eckhoffw

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Walking through the bog was very hard work! After collecting three trees, I had my fill!E25805AF-6BDC-478A-80D8-612ABC2E8206.jpeg49421043-E63B-4E05-81F7-484588C660FD.jpeg
Time to bring them home and pothem up.
I made sure I had plenty of sphagnum moss, pumice, perlite and Some calcined clay to mix up a big soil batch.
The 3. 86E27938-1E2F-4DEC-9FF7-1989557EB651.jpegThe first and biggest one I collected D957747A-0FDF-49BC-9390-5347097D5A74.jpeg
#2
9AA9FD7B-A351-425E-9B67-CEB950EA903A.jpeg
#3
E38627E1-6A2E-477B-AC6D-CC342B111F83.jpeg01E91786-44A3-4B8D-BF51-0C0CF552F670.jpegI cut the trunks back further after cleaning out the root/moss balls 37CFC36E-12AD-45C8-AA95-88A6A491148B.jpeg2EAF0D67-6374-4150-99EF-FACBB156764E.jpeg
 

Eckhoffw

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More pics. 4EE0FE96-8866-49BA-813A-820205B9E156.jpeg0ECF286B-997C-4249-A3BD-4946F18C1652.jpegThe biggest one had the worst rootball and I don’t expect it to survive. Of course I hope it does 480D006C-B67B-4F37-A573-4BCCFAF6D65D.jpeg
I will take pics tomorrow of them potted up. If they survive, I will leave them for a couple years to recover.
 
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Looks like you have plenty of roots for survival. My understanding is that the live sphagnum moss from the bog is very good for encouraging root growth and should be used. You do want to remove any dark muck, which some call "black death".
 

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