The larch

Disheveled by the wind, shaken by the storm, torn by lightning and debarked, deformed by growths, cut up and eroded by weather forces, swirled and twisted, injured and broken. If a life has survived so many dangers and changes, it is tough. That's the tough life of a tree. Or does an alpine ghost live behind the barks? How did Franz Kafka once say? ... In the woods are things that you could think about for years in the moss ... One of these trees is the larch . The larch is the second most common tree species in South Tyrol after spruce , which can sometimes be over 100 years old. The "Urlärchen" in Ultental in South Tyrol are considered the oldest conifers in Europe and are about 2000 years old.
The use of larch

The wood of this powerful, very high growing pine tree is used in many ways. The reddish-colored wood is particularly resistant to weathering and long-lasting because of its resin richness. In the construction sector it is used for farm buildings, bridges, roofs, pergolas, noise barriers, piles, or water pipes. In bridge construction, the larch wood is one of the preferred species of wood because of its great load-bearing capacity and longevity. A roof covered with larch shingles can easily last for several decades . In house building we find it by entrance doors, floors, windows, gates, fences , terraces , balconies and stairs. Inside, there is larch wood use for stairs, floors or furniture , paneling, corner benches with tables and the like. In South Tyrolean farmhouse parlors you can even see some paneling with this special wood. On children's playgrounds there are various play equipment, piles and poles made of larch wood. Water does not bother the larch wood, it only gets harder and therefore another important use is the boat and shipbuilding industry. Finally, it should be mentioned that from larch wood still different turnery items, carvings, household items and the like are produced. In the Alpine region , larch wood is also used for weather-beaten signs on footpaths.

The golden swabs in the autumn landscape

The larch is a conifer and thus evergreen. Or not? The larch is the only native conifer that loses its needles in autumn and stands naked in winter. But why is it like that?
There is no real scientific proof to this day. Good explanations speak for an " ice-cold survival trick " - the larch can be found up to a height of about 2,500 meters. In winter there are adverse conditions such as heavy frost. Needles need a lot of water, because over them the tree evaporates the liquid. This water is not available to him in frost, and the tree would die of thirst. Without the needles, the larch can survive temperatures up to minus 40 ° without damage! In addition, the needles of larches are very thin and not covered with a wax layer. The needles from other trees such as fir, spruce or pine are coated with a wax layer. On one hand they are protected for a cold in winter, on the other one they do not dry out. This natural spectacle provides for gold rush mood in the gray autumn and in the spring for bright, fresh green.

Protection tree with healing effect

The larch is not only legendary, but also has a healing effect. One can gather in the spring, the first shoots, and they process into tinctures, teas or compresses. More popular is actually the resin, it is much more intense than that of other conifers and has a high disinfecting and germicidal effect. A homemade massage oil from larch extracts is very beneficial. By the way, in South Tyrol there are still some herbal witches and schnapps producers who process the resin or the young shoots into a very tasty schnapps. Sometimes you get up alpine cabine one home-distilled schnapps offered. Cheers!

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