Japanese Larch in the South

digger714

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What is it about the Japanese Larch that makes them hard to grow in the south? I live near charlotte nc, actually closer to the mountains, and i have some atlas cedars that are awesome. I really like the larch look and was wondering if anyone knows about them. Thanks for any input.

Brad
 

davetree

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It's either too hot in the summer or not cold enough for long enough in the winter, or both.
 

rockm

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The primary problem, I think, with growing larch south of the Mason Dixon line (and that seems to be roughly the line where they do well and they where they don't), are summer nighttime temps. Larch are happiest where temps dip below 70 F at night. They need the lower temperatures to complete their photosynthetic cycle. Higher temperatures at night inhibit that process. The constant strings of 75, 80 degree and higher summer nighttimes take their toll gradually.

I've tried to grow larch here in N. Va. for some time. Every time I try, the tree slowly fades away over two or three years, gradually weakening until there are only one or two branches left. It's happened more than twice. Others I've talked with here in Va. have had the same familiar experience.

The story, however, is exactly the opposite only 40 miles or so to the North of here. Larch grow quite happily in Maryland and beyond. The difference is only a few degrees in temperature and a few miles. Northern Va. and DC lie on the boundary line between two different climate zones--we can grow a mix of Northern and Southern species that isn't possible 50 or 60 miles to the North or South.--Unfortunately, larch isn't on the list this far south...

There is a solution that is more than adequate--grow bald cypress. It's a spectacular species to use and comparable to larch in the south. You also might look around you for native conifers--high altitude native species in NC include Fraser fir, pitch pine, Virginia pine and table mountain pine (pinus pungens, a particularly underused bonsai species IMO--also called Hickory Pine).
 

Dav4

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The arboretum in Asheville, N.C., has a very nice Larch bonsai. I believe it's a L. laracina. I suspect the altitude plays a role in its apparent health.

Dave
 

digger714

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Thanks for the info. I knew it had to be something about the temps. Ive got the Atlas Cedars also, so they will have to do. Ill try the bald cypress also. Ihave a trip planned to a friends house in florida.
He lives on a river, and has hundreds growing on his property. Does anyone know if they are protected in central florida. Its between daytona and orlando. Ill check with the locals and see if they are protected. Thanks again.

Brad
 

Martin Sweeney

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digger714,

Have you found the Bonsai Society of the Carolinas and Randy Clark at the Bonsai Learning Center yet?

Also, if you can find him, John Dixon is a very talented, generous and experienced enthusiast (don't tell him I said so) from Mooresville.

Regards,
Martin
 

digger714

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Yes, i do know Randy. I took a beginner class from him last year. Ive been back, and bought a few plants from him. Super nice place. I havent met John Dixon yet, but hope to be doing this for a long time, and sure i will. I do have a friend closer to you, Mike Brawley. Do you know him? Being from the area, do you know of anyone who offers collecting trips around here? I am really interested in Yamadori. Thanks

Brad
 
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Martin Sweeney

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digger714,

Mike was my first teacher many years ago, back when he had a nursery off of Robinson Church and Harrisonburg roads.

The only organized collecting trips I have heard of have been through the Bonsai Society of the Carolinas, but they haven't had one for 2 or 3 years now. You would be welcome at the next meeting, if you haven't made one yet, Saturday the 13th I believe. They have a webpage.

Regards,
Martin
 

digger714

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Thats cool. Mike and my parents have been friends for many years. He still has his awesome collection and takes care of trees. He just keeps them at someone else's nursery. Ill check the website, and i think Randy is on the board, so ill contact him also. I would love to start coming to the meetings. That would be great if you could let me know if you hear of anything. Thanks again.

Brad
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Brussel's Bonsai has quite a few Japanese Larch that grow well in the Memphis area. He keeps them under shadecloth and I've seen them there for quite a few years.
 

rockm

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If you decide to get a Bald Cypress in Fla., you should know that I've found them to be a lot less hardy in colder climates than specimens collected farther north.

BC in Fla. tend to be cross-bred (IMO) with pond cypress--which isn't as vigorous as the BC---the foliage on a lot of Fla. collected BC is awl shaped (like pond cypress), not the flat feather shaped leaves that are prevalent in places like NC, SC, Va and the Gulf Coast states.

I've had a collected BC from La. and one from Fla. The Fla. specimen died after two years from winter kill--I provided it with the same protections I had been giving my La. collected tree for 10 years.
 

digger714

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Good point. Im sure they are different than ones from closer to here. Maybe i should locate someone in sc. Their weather is very comparable to ours, with alot of swampy areas. thanks for the input, Im sure it would make a difference. We are always sending plants back and forth to see what happen, and it is amazing how different they act. He sent me some pics of some not even 6" round that already had knees on them. They are awesome.
 

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