It is much employed for house-building; most of the picturesque log-houses in Vaud and the adjacent cantons are built of squared larch trunks, and derive their fine brown tint from the hardened resin that slowly exudes from the wood after long exposure to the summer sun; the wooden shingles, that in Switzerland supply the place of tiles, are also frequently of larch.
When standing in an open space, the larch grows of a nearly conical shape, with the lower branches almost reaching the ground, while those above gradually diminish in length towards the top of the trunk, presenting a very symmetrical form; but in dense woods the lower parts become bare of foliage, as with the firs under similar circumstances.
The Ayan spruce (Abies ayanensis), the Sakhalin fir (Abies sachalensis) and the Daurian larch are the chief trees; on the upper parts of the mountains are the Siberian rampant cedar (Cembra pumila) and the Kurilian bamboo (Arundinaria kurilense).
The cultivation of the tree rapidly spread, and the larch has become a conspicuous feature of the scenery in many parts of Scotland.
The larch is raised from seed in immense numbers in British nurseries; that obtained from Germany is preferred, being more perfectly ripened than the cones of home growth usually are.
The thinnings of the larch woods in the Highlands are in demand for railway sleepers, scaffold poles, and mining timber, and are applied to a variety of agricultural purposes.
The young shoots of the larch are sometimes given in Switzerland as fodder to cattle.
The best variety for culture in Britain is that with red female flowers; the light-flowered kinds are said to produce inferior wood, and the Siberian larch does not grow in Scotland nearly as fast as the Alpine tree.
The larch is said not to succeed on arable land, especially where corn has been grown, but experience does not seem to support this view; that against the previous occupation of the ground by Scotch fir or Norway spruce is probably better founded, and, where timber is the object, it should not be planted with other conifers.
The larch suffers from several diseases caused by fungi; the most important is the larch-canker caused by the parasitism of Peziza Willkommii.