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What Is a Weeping Larch?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 04 September 2016
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A weeping larch (Larix decidua) is a deciduous ornamental tree with green needle-like foliage. It can be grown as a feature in the garden, including in tight spaces where there is limited room for large or elaborate plantings. Nurseries and garden supply stores may carry the plant or can special order it. Larger specimens tend to be more expensive, especially if they have been carefully pruned and trained to create a more desirable aesthetic appearance.

These trees prefer cool to temperate climates and do not tolerate heat well. While they tend to appreciate moderate watering, they can thrive in damp or soggy soil like that found near bogs. Full sun to part shade is recommended to keep the tree healthy, making it advisable to avoid planting a weeping larch under a larger tree unless it is carefully trimmed to keep the environment underneath light and airy. This species tolerates a broad soil pH range, though the weeping larch prefers slightly alkaline to slightly acidic conditions.

Branches of the weeping larch have a trailing growth habit, and may sprawl along the ground unless the tree is grafted on upright rootstock and carefully trained. As the tree develops, the branches and leaves will slowly droop downward, cascading over the side of the trunk. The needles are soft, appearing bright green in summer before yellowing and falling off. Small cones form in the fall and will eventually drop off as well, leaving bare branches.

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This ornamental tree is sometimes used in Japanese-inspired gardens, where it can make a striking specimen. Weeping larches are readily trainable and can be grown with twisting trunks or forced into other interesting shapes to add visual interest to the garden. Some have foliage with a more bluish appearance which can be offset with careful background or border planting. They pair well with other conifers as well as deciduous trees like maples, along with ornamental grasses or arrangements of succulents and rocks.

If necessary, a weeping larch can be pruned in the spring months, before it has started to set new growth. This can help determine the shape and direction of growth. It can also be helpful to add a top dressing of fertilizer to promote healthy, even growth after the tree is pruned. Weeping larches are hardy, and should resist most pests and infections with fungi and other microorganisms. If a plant does start to appear diseased, it may be getting too much or not enough water or fertilizer.

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ZipLine
Post 3

A weeping larch is an interesting looking plant. I guess it's called a "weeping" larch because the branches droop. But to me, a weeping larch looks like Gossamer the cartoon character, or another hairy monster. I think it's cute.

I realize it takes a while for a weeping larch to look like that though and sometimes, it has to be trained to have that kind of look. So they don't all look like that.

bear78
Post 2

@bluedolphin-- They become completely bare in winter, usually by January.

I have a weeping larch and it's full of dark green needles in the summer. The color becomes lighter and lighter in the fall, first a lime color and then entirely yellow before the needles fall off. And it becomes totally bare.

It doesn't look attractive in winter, but it's beautiful again in spring. If you are looking for a plant that's green year around, then a weeping larch is not what you're looking for.

bluedolphin
Post 1

I didn't know that weeping larch loses its needles. How does it look when it does? It never becomes entirely bare right?

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