Golden Larch

Living up to its name with a really “popping” color. That one is 40 years old. They generally prefer some late afternoon shade in the heat. But here in Virginia it’s not getting any.


They really go wild here in the fall:


where i grew up we had a big one like that in the front yard. known as tamarack here. i love walking through stands of them this time of year. the grounds all bright yellow and it rains yellow needles when the wind blows. the silver poplar are also that stunning yellow right now. they are the last to lose their leaves/ needles here.


Is this a Pseudolarix amabilis (AKA golden pseudolarch)? I just ordered a pack of seed since I want to experiment with it (a deciduous conifer means more intercropping possibilities during winter), but was a little surprised at how small that looks, especially after 40 full years—maybe it’s the pic angle, but that looks maybe 10 m (30 ft)? I’m familiar with a few specimens at the JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State, which have averaged closer to 30 cm (1 ft) per year (which is slower than native pines, but comparable to understory hardwoods). Though they’re a similar USDA zone to you, except in heavy clay (I’m assuming you’re more sandy) and with little temperature moderation from the ocean, this seems like quite a significant growth difference: do you have an idea if anything is holding the tree back, besides lack of shade? Here’re the JC Raulston trees:

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I love that shade of yellow. The maple trees have a similar shade here this time of year.

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The tree is Pseudolarix amabilis that I got as a seedling in San Francisco and packed in my luggage to bring to Virginia in 1984. It was planted in a deep sandy field with high ph that grew peanuts in 1983 before I expanded my yard into the field.

The golden larch needs cool nights and not the high humidity and heat that I get in the summers. A few years that I had extreme drought, it barely grew at all.

Its at least 30 feet tall and has done better than I expected when I planted it knowing it was out of its preferred growing conditions.

This NCSU publication mentions its preference to cool conditions and not reaching the heights seen in the wild.