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Western Larch

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Western Larch

Western Larch

The conifer that changes with the seasons From the northern reaches of Alberta across the continent to Nova Scotia and Maine, you'll find a tree that most everyone calls tamarack. As a conifer (softwood), it's memorable because in the fall, it turns gold, then drops its needles as do hardwood trees. A larger version grows in the mountains of Idaho, Montana, and the Pacific Northwest, but there it's commonly named western larch. Different in name as well as size, the tamarack and the western larch may be North America's most unappreciated species. Knowing woodsmen of the far north harvested tamarack for long-lasting boat parts and pier pilings. Yet, the lumbermen generally passed it by in favor of white pine. In the West, lodgepole and ponderosa pine, along with Douglas fir, drew the loggers' attention because they are prone to grow in thick stands. The occasional lonely western larch, although large, was a heavyweight and hard to move. Today, the forest products industry makes greater utilization of the forest. That's especially true in the West, where the larch has earned a distinctive place


Continued on page 2:  Wood identification


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