Tamarack Tree Complete Guide To Grow And Care

In colder climates, ornamental horticulture uses Tamarack Tree to give a landscape interest throughout the year. In the fall, this species turns a brilliant yellow, and in the winter, it sheds its needles to reveal beautiful flaking bark. Then, in the spring and summer, its needles reappear in a blue-green color. Each year, the gorgeous needles that fall provide a wonderful, aesthetically pleasing, and entirely sustainable mulch.

The Tamarack Tree may grow too big for certain people’s properties, which is one of its drawbacks. There is a solution available if this is causing you concern. Due to the growing demand for miniature conifers in landscape design, an increasing number of cultivars are being introduced to the market each year.

Tamarack Tree Overview

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Common Name Tamarack, American larch
Botanical Name Larix laricina
Family Pinaceae
Plant Type Tree
Mature Size 40-80 ft. tall, 15-30 ft. wide
Sun Exposure Full
Soil Type Moist
Soil pH Acidic
Hardiness Zones 2-5 (USDA)
Native Area North America

Tamarack Tree Care

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The following are the primary maintenance needs for tamarack tree growth:

  • Plant the tree in rich, moist, acidic soil that receives full sun.


  • Once the tree has established, give it regular irrigations.


  • Cover the base with mulch to retain soil moisture.


  • If you want to fertilize the tree, use only organic compost or don’t fertilize it at all.


  • Keep an eye out for pests.

Light Requirements

This type of tree needs direct sunlight. Since tamarack plants cannot tolerate any shade at all, it’s critical to remove any competing shrubs or trees. Ensuring that your tree can receive direct sunlight will aid in establishing sufficient spacing. Set it back from any other trees by at least 15 feet.

Soil & Potting

Larix laricina grows well in moist, organic soil. It originates from a kind of peat-based bog known as muskeg. This rich, moist, acidic soil is ideal and will support the growth of your tree; nevertheless, tamarack is more tolerant of this type of soil than it is of sun.


Tamarack trees need some additional water, particularly in the early stages of the tree’s establishment and during dry spells. It is crucial to maintain the soil beneath it moist because it cannot withstand being excessively dry. To assist maintain moisture during planting, cover the dripline with two to three inches of high-quality organic mulch when first planting. You won’t need to apply additional mulch after a few seasons because the tree will produce lovely needle mulch on its own.

Watering your tree once a week is crucial for the first three years. As a guideline, use a caliper at knee height to measure trunk diameter and add 10 gallons per inch. In really dry weather, add up to 15 gallons of water; the tamarack will not mind!

Temperature and Environment

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Sadly, tamarack trees cannot withstand greater temperatures; they are found just south of USDA hardiness zone 5. The tree can withstand extremely cold temperatures in the winter and needs cool conditions in the summer. It simply cannot withstand temperatures that are higher than those seen in USDA zones 2 through 5. If you adore the appearance of this stunning tree but are unable to move far enough north, consider the similarly stunning golden larch (Pseudolarix amabilis).


Since tamarack trees are accustomed to growing in the wild, once they are established, they won’t require much additional fertilizer. Taking a cue from nature is always a smart idea. For a little push during the first few seasons, fertilize immature trees with some organic compost; after that, let nature do its magic.

Types of Tamarack Tree

You can still plant a tamarack tree even if you don’t have enough room for the tall variety. It is possible to find little tamarack varieties that work well in even the smallest, narrow yards. Several compact varieties are among the popular cultivars:

  • The species’ “Northern Torch” dwarf form is incredibly thick and globose. After ten years, it will only reach a height of five feet.


  • The dwarf cultivar known as “Bear Swamp” is low-spreading and will grow broader than tall. Its bluish blue needles provide a striking contrast to the autumn’s yellow needles. After ten years, this cultivar only reaches about 32 by 42 inches in size.


  • Popular cultivar “Nash Pendula” has distinctive, open, pendulous form that reaches 10 feet after 10 years, along with vivid green foliage.
    Compact in nature, ‘Ethan’ grows to a height of 6 to 8 feet in 10 years, making it a good choice for smaller yards.


  • In 10 years, ‘Deborah Waxman,’ a petite, upright cultivar with bluish-green needles, will only reach a height of three feet.


The tree often requires little maintenance and looks best when let to grow organically. However, during the late fall and early spring, when the tree is dormant and has dropped its needles, trim any branches that are crossing or poorly shaped.

Propagating a Tamarack Tree

Tamarrack tree propagation is a labor-intensive operation that is better left to nursery experts. The tree only yields a seed crop every three to six years, therefore propagating from seeds or cuttings is not recommended. Grafting is the method used to reproduce the majority of cultivars and dwarf types, and it is also difficult for home gardeners to do.

Potting and Repotting a Tamarack Tree

Tamarrack cannot be grown in a pot unless it is a dwarf variety. Pick out a sizable, well-drained deep planter and fill it with premium potting soil that drains easily. Planters that are heavyweight perform well since they are less likely to tumble over. Because terracotta wicks away excess moisture, it functions well.

Remember that even though tamarack is an extremely durable tree, you will still need to winterize it because containers expose the roots to the elements. You can either create a planting silo by putting the container in a second, larger container or insulate the roots by wrapping the container in burlap or bubble wrap.

When the roots grow out of the drainage holes or the root system reaches the container’s sides, repot the tree in a larger container filled with fresh potting mix.


Tamarack doesn’t require any winter protection because it is well-suited to hard winters.

Common Pests

Even while your Tamarack Tree may be bothered by other pests, nothing will cause your tree as much problems as the larch casebearer and larch sawfly. These two insects can gnaw away at the tree’s bark and branches, causing significant harm. The injuries may be lethal if they are serious enough.

The larch casebearer receives multiple biological controls but no chemical treatment. Fortunately, trees rarely die as a result of casebearer injury.

As a preventative measure against the larch sawfly, you should remove any larvae that you notice on your tree, making sure they belong to the sawfly and not any other helpful bug. After that, apply horticultural oil or insecticidal soap to the tree for the least amount of damage. You should reapply as needed.

Also Read: Mango Trees Complete Guide To Grow And Care

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