Tamarack Tree

By: C. Colston Burrell
A Tamarack tree branch.
The tamarack tree loses its needles in the winter. Ed Reschke / Getty Images


­­Tamarack tree, or Eastern larch, is among the few conifers that lose their leaves in the Fall. They do so gracefully, taking on a beautiful fall coloration beforehand. The tamarack, native throughout northern North America, is underappreciated as a landscape tree. It is at least as interesting as many of the imported species often used in its place.­ ­


Description of tamarack tree: This is a conical tree that grows to 40 feet or so in cultivation. It would be a perfect "Christmas tree" if it didn't lose its needles in winter. The stems of the numerous branches are yellowish brown, giving the tree a more than acceptable appearance even without needles. The needles, borne in bundles, are soft and blue-green in color, turning yellow in fall. Its cones are small and egg-shaped.

How to grow tamarack tree: In the wild, the tamarack grows in cool, moist spots, but in culture, it has proven itself adaptable to a wide range of conditions. It prefers slightly acid soils to alkaline ones and is intolerant of shade and air pollution.

Uses for tamarack tree: The tamarack makes a good choice for wet soils where other trees will not grow. It creates a handsome effect in groves and rows.

Tamarack tree related species: There are several other species of larch, all quite similar in appearance and use. Some offer dwarf or weeping varieties.

Scientific name of tamarack tree: Larix laricina ­

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