Focus on Forestry | Eastern Larch

Botanical Name: Larix laricina
Common Names: Tamarack, American Larch

Larch tree with cone

Larch Tree


Larch is unique in the forest in that it is deciduous conifer. During the fall foliage season the normally bright green needles turn yellow and fall. Typically found in cool swampy areas the larch tree can grow from 40 to 80 feet tall. The species range is typical of the Canadian boreal forest but ranges into New York and is found mostly amongst Black Spruce and Balsam Firs. A shade intolerant tree it grows faster than any other conifer making it productive for commercial use. It is considered a pioneer species in that it gets quickly established especially after fires and in filled in lake bogs.

Larch needles changing colors in the fall


Larch Braces

Larch Braces

Considered a tough and durable lumber species Larch has a reddish quality similar to Cedar. When fresh from the mill it can be dented with a fingernail but becomes denser and harder over time. It is a highly reactive species so when it is dried too quickly then twist and warp are a concern. Consequently we don’t recommend it for interior use where moisture loss can be sudden and prolonged; compared to outdoor use. Its natural rot resistance makes it an ideal outdoor wood and excellent substitute for pressure treated wood. If left untreated the wood turns a deep red before slowly weathering to gray. If oiled after it reaches its deep red, the warmth and deep tones can be preserved for years before it needs to be re-oiled. Its special growing conditions means its availability is limited at times so lead times for timber orders can vary.

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