What it looks like

Tamarack trees grow to be about 20 metres tall. Its bark starts out smooth and gray when the tree is young, and turns reddish brown and scaly as the tree grows. Its needles grow in tufts of 10 to 20 (sometimes many more) and are 2 to 3 centimetres long. Most conifer trees keep their needles year round but tamaracks are deciduous conifers — their needles fall off in the autumn and new ones grow in the spring. They are soft and flexible bluish green except in the fall when they turn yellow before falling off. The tamarack’s seeds grow inside light brown cones which are 1 to 2 centimetres long. Trees don't produce seeds until they are 10 years old.

Where it is found

The tamarack is found everywhere in Ontario but is most common in the north.

Planting Tips

  • Size: 20 metres tall, 60 centimetres in diameter
  • Moisture: Can grow in a variety of moisture levels
  • Shade: Intolerant of shade — needs full sun
  • Soil: Can grow in a variety of soils

The tamarack is great for landscaping because of its nice shape and the fact that its needles turn a brilliant yellow in the fall.

Did you know?

The tamarack is found in every province and territory in Canada.

Image credits

  • Tree: Daniel Tigner, Canadian Forest Tree Essences
  • Needles: Gary Fewless, University of Wisconsin
  • Bark: Robert H. Mohlenbrock, USDA Plant Database
  • Cone : Gary Fewless, University of Wisconsin
Updated: October 06, 2021
Published: July 18, 2014