Tamaracks Shine Bright This Time Of Year + Are Only Pine Trees To Lose Needles In Minnesota
We're past the peak for fall colors for our deciduous trees across Minnesota, but there still are some trees changing color. I was driving along Highway 53 when I noticed how beautiful these pine trees were. My daughter asked me a legitimate question - "I thought pine trees didn't change color."
They're called Tamaracks (Larix laricina), and they are across the central United States and Northeast United States. They are a part of the pine family of trees. They are coniferous, and they are the only kind that actually loses their needles.
In the fall, they turn a bright orange/yellow. You'll find them in wet areas, like bogs or swamps. The stretch of highway between Cotton, Minnesota, and Canyon Minnesota is a great location in Northern Minnesota to see them easily. That's where we encountered them recently.
Why we don't have very many large tamarack trees in Minnesota?
While I was looking up some information on these trees, I found an interesting nugget. These trees can be a lot larger than most of the ones you see. Tamarack trees can grow up to 70 feet tall. There was a Larch Sawfly infestation years ago and they wiped out many of the trees, so most of our trees are relatively young.
Back in the 1970s, scientists introduced a parasite to the Larch Sawfly in Minnesota forests. This has helped control what was once widespread deforestation.
As the years go by, we will be seeing more of these larger tamaracks with their brilliant colors in the fall.
LOOK: 20 of the biggest insects in the world
Gallery Credit: Andrea Vale