Collected a tamarack

Javaman4373

Yamadori
Messages
55
Reaction score
30
Location
SW Vermont
USDA Zone
5
I had found this tamarack (Larix larcinia) in a bog. Its main trunk had died and it had a large lateral branch that then turned upward. The horizontal branch was not appealing, so as an experiment I thought I would lift it and see what I could do with it. To lift it and fit it into a tray, I had to cut several large lateral roots. It had just rained for only the second time in the month last night (1.94") and there was standing water right next to the tree. Since I didn't like the right angle trunk bend, I chopped it at a point where a branch can form a new trunk and give some taper. The plan is to winter it and see if it lives in the spring. I have several other tamaracks I plan to collect in the spring. One question: should the chop stump be trimmed down to give a smoother transition to the new leader or left a bit long until the survival of the tree is more assured?
 

Attachments

  • Tam 4.jpg
    Tam 4.jpg
    255.4 KB · Views: 99
  • Tam 3.jpg
    Tam 3.jpg
    232.7 KB · Views: 88
  • Tam 2.jpg
    Tam 2.jpg
    231.8 KB · Views: 85
  • Tam 1.jpg
    Tam 1.jpg
    231.6 KB · Views: 89

leatherback

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
7,537
Reaction score
11,975
Location
Northern Germany
USDA Zone
7
I woudl not do anything else to it.
To me it looks this was collected a little early. No fall color on this one yet.
 

Javaman4373

Yamadori
Messages
55
Reaction score
30
Location
SW Vermont
USDA Zone
5
I revisited the tamarack bog today to check out some trees that I had scouted previously for possible collection in the spring. The foliage is just beginning to turn yellow on some trees now.
Tam foliage .jpg
The bog is a very different place compared to last Wednesday as we have had 2 inches of rain since then. It is comprised of a layer of moss with interspersed bushes, cattails, tamaracks, all floating on water underneath. At one point my boot punched through and I was up to my knee in water, with the boot almost stuck. I have two trees under consideration. The first (Tam 5) is about a meter tall, and typically a straight tamarack. It has a flared root system that drops downward and then run out horizontally and they seemed to have grown over the stump of a small tree that had died some time ago. The roots are interesting and I can envision collecting the tree and draping the roots over a rock. A question is what would be a good plan for the trunk.
Tam 5.jpg

Tam 5 roots.jpg

The second tree (Tam 6) is larger, about 2 meters tall, and the upper half meter or so of the main trunk has died and is dead wood. Near the base, there is a large branch angling upward and I can envision chopping the trunk and making that branch a new leader. It is a bit hard to see in the photo, but the branch is about 20 cm above the secateurs. If that seems a viable plan, where should one chop it, that is how high above the new leader branch? I could see that chopped trunk becoming dead wood.
Tam 6.jpg

Working in that bog in the spring with even more water should be interesting.Tam 6 base.jpg
 

Javaman4373

Yamadori
Messages
55
Reaction score
30
Location
SW Vermont
USDA Zone
5
I think after reading a number of threads on this forum on this topic I am going to collect one or both of these trees when their foliage starts turning yellow. It is already very wet where they are and in the spring it will be worse. It was also mentioned that the trees might start budding before the ice is out in a bog. So there is that.
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
Messages
27,430
Reaction score
36,972
Location
Berwyn, Il
USDA Zone
6.2
I feel like you probably get enough good root to have succes now, maybe even a moon earlier.

Nice.

Sorce
 

Javaman4373

Yamadori
Messages
55
Reaction score
30
Location
SW Vermont
USDA Zone
5
I had to plant a shrub at my daughter's house this afternoon and it is not far from the tamarack bog. So I collected the smaller tree I had identified and started to work on the larger one. As per their reputation, a tamarack in a bog seems to grow on a small mound or old stump and send out long lateral roots that have most of the feeder roots. This tree fits that pattern and I potted it in a large nursery pot by coiling the roots, and adding soil. I think it should be fine for getting through the winter and then I can work further on it in the spring. The roots were in moss, sod, and standing water at this time. These trees have no problem with wet feet. Any suggestions are welcome.T 1.jpgT2.jpgT3.jpgT4.jpgT6.jpgT5.jpg
 

Leo in N E Illinois

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
8,585
Reaction score
15,991
Location
on the IL-WI border, a mile from ''da Lake''
USDA Zone
5b
Many do collect larches in autumn, but they do wait for the foliage color to change. They do not collect them "green". But you might be okay, you might not, time will tell. If you collect when dormant, that is yellow needles or zero needles, you can be more aggressive with removing roots. A dormant larch can have 90% of its roots removed, then in spring, it will only open the buds the remaining roots can support. Remove the roots when "green" and the whole tree dehydrates and dies.

The deadwood stub you left on your original larch is too short. Leave the deadwood long, as in the deadwood for Tam 6 photo, this gives you something to work with. When you want to have a new leader, strip the bark from the old, shorten the old some, but leave a good amount. You can then carve and treat the deadwood to make a feature. It can always be shortened later, it is difficult or impossible to add deadwood back to the tree later.

Nice patch of larch in that bog. The reason some collect larch in autumn is that the bogs are inaccessible except maybe by canoe in spring. And I know from personal experience how easy it is to tip over a canoe. Floating bogs are a fascinating experience. For those who have not experienced them, imagine walking on a waterbed, with grasses, shrubs and trees all on the floating, surface. Everything bounces, the surface rolls, as you walk. The bog I visited often in my youth had 8 feet or more of clear water underneath in spots. It was tricky to get back on top if you fell through.

My main suggestion is wait until needles are dropping, not just beginning to turn, and then be much more aggressive shortening roots after collecting.
 

Javaman4373

Yamadori
Messages
55
Reaction score
30
Location
SW Vermont
USDA Zone
5
Thank you Leo and Norway Spruce for your comments. I think the needles were just starting to turn, as they seem lighter green now than on prior visits to the bog. However, I will wait to collect the Tam 6 tree as Leo suggests. The tree I just collected has just been potted, no chops. I do intend to do a chop and start a new leader when appropriate. My plan is to chop the main trunk lower and create a deadwood feature (there are already some naturally occuring jin branches on the trunk) and form a new leader with the large low branch. As you suggest Leo, I will postpone that collection of the Tam 6 tree in the OP and leave the trunk stub long. I think the tree collected yesterday should be ok, as I saved almost all the roots.
So to summarize, you can prune the roots more severely, if collected after needle drop.
Questions: 1.When is the best time to wire the larch? 2.When is the best time to prune branches? 3.Is it ok to make a chop after needle drop in the fall, or should one wait until spring? 4. When the roots are long with feeder roots at the ends, how does one go about shortening them and stimulating feeder roots closer to the trunk?
 
Last edited:

NorwaySpruce

Yamadori
Messages
80
Reaction score
49
Location
Montpelier, Vermont USA
USDA Zone
6
I guess you might let a year before working on it.
I had collect a spruce this summer and let it free for this moment.
I do not know when you can wire, but I believe mid summer to autumn
 

leatherback

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
7,537
Reaction score
11,975
Location
Northern Germany
USDA Zone
7
Larix are best wired when without needles. I like christmas break because I have lots of time then.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
8,585
Reaction score
15,991
Location
on the IL-WI border, a mile from ''da Lake''
USDA Zone
5b
So to summarize, you can prune the roots more severely, if collected after needle drop. 👍

Questions: 1.When is the best time to wire the larch? 2.When is the best time to prune branches? 3.Is it ok to make a chop after needle drop in the fall, or should one wait until spring? 4. When the roots are long with feeder roots at the ends, how does one go about shortening them and stimulating feeder roots closer to the trunk?

1. best time to wire is when the tree has no needles, late autumn through early spring, when ever you have time in that time period. Do not keep it indoors in the warm for more than a couple hours, don't want it to warm up and wake up out of season.

2. Early summer for major pruning, after the tree has "woken up" and the first flush of growth has extended and the first half dozen or more of internode length of branches the foliage has extended and hardened off. Somewhere in the first week up to 4 weeks after the summer solstice for people living in northern climates. Earlier if you live south.

3. Newly collected larch, I would not make the chop until the summer solstice. Reason, carbohydrates and hormones from the part to be chopped will help form roots. Generally chopping in autumn and winter is bad for most species, most of the time. You can "chop" deciduous trees in early spring as they are waking up. I do most of my chopping in early to middle summer.

4. If you had waited until needles had turned yellow, you could have cut those long roots off at the time you collected the tree. Now you have to wait, most repot their larches very early in spring just before green peaks out of the buds. Some repot larch in autumn after needle drop. Those are the 2 times for reducing the root system.

Normally I would try to go 2 years between repotting on young stock that you need to work the root system. More mature stock I would try to let it go 3 to 5 years between repotting. Mature, well developed trees I would try to go 5 to 10 years between repotting. Because of the long intervals it is important to plan, and get your repotting right, because you can't just go back and correct mistakes.
 

Javaman4373

Yamadori
Messages
55
Reaction score
30
Location
SW Vermont
USDA Zone
5
Thank you Leo. Excellent guide. Looking at old photos, most of the large Tamaracks here turn yellow the first week of November. I will provide a follow up on collecting Tam 6 tree then.
 

Javaman4373

Yamadori
Messages
55
Reaction score
30
Location
SW Vermont
USDA Zone
5
I collected the second tamarack yesterday.
It was a bigger job than I expected. It had roots emerging from the base that I followed into the surface of the bog and freed up. Then I found it had what appeared to be a 2.5 inch tap root going down. I cut that with a little folding saw under water and got the tree roots into a big trash bag. It was almost more than I could lift, but I got it into the car and home. I now have it in a grow box. I had to trim some roots to fit it in, but it should be ok. When I got it home I shortened the tap root with a chain saw and I think the bottom of it was all dead. There was only one patch of live bark at the top of the cut off piece. The live roots were coming out of the tree up near the bog surface. I am not clear how this tree has grown. It appears that what I called the tap root was the trunk, which became submerged when the water level rose and it died back. In the photo below, I removed the rotten bark and the top side is to the right. The photo of the base shows a place where live bark opens on the dead trunk. The whole tree is about 6 ft+ tall, so the tentative plan is to make a chop next growing season. The big question will be where to make the chop and convert the trunk below it to dead wood. Based on a preliminary count of the growth rings, this tree is about 25 years old.
 

Attachments

  • tap root.jpg
    tap root.jpg
    302.1 KB · Views: 29
  • top of tap root.jpg
    top of tap root.jpg
    189.4 KB · Views: 28
  • base back.jpg
    base back.jpg
    299.2 KB · Views: 25
  • first branch.jpg
    first branch.jpg
    293.1 KB · Views: 26
  • 2nd branch.jpg
    2nd branch.jpg
    454.5 KB · Views: 26
  • nebari front.jpg
    nebari front.jpg
    301 KB · Views: 29
  • tam whole tree.jpg
    tam whole tree.jpg
    260.9 KB · Views: 35

HorseloverFat

Masterpiece
Messages
2,703
Reaction score
3,545
Location
Northeast Wisconsin
USDA Zone
5a
Woof! It appears as though you and that root system were engaged in epic battle! 🤣. I know the feeling, “I seriously need another break!”

Looks good!
 

Javaman4373

Yamadori
Messages
55
Reaction score
30
Location
SW Vermont
USDA Zone
5
This tamarack was a slow growing tree. It looks like it is 40 yo. Here is a better view of the rings. The diameter of the trunk is basically 6 cm. tam 6 rings.jpg
 

Javaman4373

Yamadori
Messages
55
Reaction score
30
Location
SW Vermont
USDA Zone
5
I am thinking one plan for developing this tree is illustrated by this photo from a Peter Chan book. That is convert the trunk to dead wood and use the first branch. This would reduce the height to a more manageable size. There is quite a bit of root in the grow box, but much of it is long gangly roots with feeder roots in bunches along the length. So would it be best to just let the tree grow one season to improve the roots before any drastic chop and pruning work?
 

Attachments

  • Chan photo.jpg
    Chan photo.jpg
    151.9 KB · Views: 19

leatherback

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
7,537
Reaction score
11,975
Location
Northern Germany
USDA Zone
7
I am thinking one plan for developing this tree is illustrated by this photo from a Peter Chan book. That is convert the trunk to dead wood and use the first branch. This would reduce the height to a more manageable size. There is quite a bit of root in the grow box, but much of it is long gangly roots with feeder roots in bunches along the length. So would it be best to just let the tree grow one season to improve the roots before any drastic chop and pruning work?
You just pulled this out of the ground a few days ago?
No real work on the tree till 2022
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom