Spruce: types, varieties, cultivation
Latin name spruce (Picea) came from the ancient Roman word ‘pix’ - resin. As millennia ago, and now these evergreen beauties living up to 300 years, loved by gardeners. There are about 50 species in the spruce family, and many of them, thanks to breeders, have decorative shapes with a weeping or columnar crown, with blue, silver or gray-green needles, with a very different trunk height - from 40 cm to 50 m. But so that the Christmas tree is on your the site has taken root, from all this diversity you need to choose one whose requirements for a comfortable existence you can satisfy.
Types and varieties of spruce
Ayan spruce, or small-seeded spruce (Picea jezoensis) hails from the Far East. The species stands out for its harmony, conical shape of the crown, long needles (up to 2 cm) - bright gray below, and dark green, light brown cylindrical cones reaching 6 cm above. This giant spruce (height 40-50 m) is shade-tolerant, but does not tolerate wetlands, preferring moderately moist loam. Winters in the middle lane is good, but in the spring it can suffer from frost. Painfully reacts to transplant and pruning.
Very beautiful for growing a low garden form Aurera (Aurera) with golden needles.
Serbian spruce, or Balkan spruce (Picea omorika) is similar to the above view. The difference between the species is the horizontally diverging branches with a slightly bent middle and shoots of a new growth hanging in the form of a fringe, giving originality to the appearance of the tree. For growing in small areas, there are low decorative forms: Gnome (Gnom) 1.5 m high, Nana (Nana) up to 3 m high.
Norway spruce, or European spruce (Picea abies) This species of spruce is most often found in the European part of Russia. The tree is frost-resistant, shade-tolerant, up to 50 m high, with an annual growth of up to 50 cm. It reaches its maximum size by 150 years. Lives up to 250 years.
The European spruce cone-shaped crown with horizontally extending lateral branches, slightly drooping at the ends. The needles are tetrahedral, shiny, dark green, 1-2 cm long. From 15-25 years of age, branches are decorated with light brown cones, reaching 15 cm. Prefers moist loam, does not tolerate both stagnation of water and dry soil.
The decorative forms of European spruce are very beautiful. Unusual structure of trees differ: dwarf Compact (Compacta), in which the hanging thin shoots of growth densely cover horizontal branches; with drooping branches - weeping Inverse (Inversa), growing not more than 8 m; with upward branches - columnar Columnaris (Columnaris), reaching a height of 15 m with a crown diameter of 1.5 m; slim - Elegans (Elegans), the height of which does not exceed 4 m.
There are also small, dense, rounded-oblate forms that grow in width, like Gregoriana (Gregoryana) and Nana (Nana), looks like a giant wasp nest 2 m wide Clan brassiliana (Clan-brassiliana); decorate an alpine hill a very slowly growing dwarf bush measuring 20 × 40 cm Echiniformis (Echiniformis).
For fans of growing unusual color combinations are suitable: Aurea (Aurea) with golden or Argentea (Argentea) with silver needles.
Canadian, bluish or white spruce (Picea glauca), one of the most winter-hardy, early-growing (forms cones from 8-10 years old) and undemanding to the soil. The species grows in North America (from Labrador to Alaska), where it reaches 35 m. In the Moscow Region, a 30-year-old tree has a height of about 5.5 m and a trunk diameter of 14 cm. The crown is slender, conical, the branches are first directed obliquely upward, and with age go down. The needles are bluish and short (up to 1.5 cm), the cones are light brown, 3-5 cm long. Fruiting is almost annual abundant.
For growing, there are decorative forms with the original structure of the tree, the most diverse: a fast-growing giantess Albertina (Albertiana); narrow pyramidal Fastigitata (Fastigitata) with a long (up to 2.4 cm) needles; with a crown of cylindrical shape Alberta Gpobe (Alberta Clobe); with drooping branches, red bark and bluish-white weeping needles Pendula (Pendula).
Fans of growing small plants will be interested in: growing up to 60 years to 4 m Konika (Conica); 1-2 m high Nana (Nana), by the age of 30 it grows up to 0.5 m with a crown diameter of 1 m with bluish-green sticking long needles Echiniformis (Echiniformis).
Very beautiful Canadian spruce with blue needles Cerulea (Coerulea), originally looks golden yellow Aurea (Aurea).
Blue spruce (Picea pungens) Synonym - Prickly Spruce. Winter-hardy, windy and drought-resistant, better than other types of gas tolerates urban air, this species of spruce has a long lifespan (almost 500 years). This large, slender and beautiful tree hails from the mountainous regions of North America, grows up to 40 m, has a cone-shaped crown, and a long (up to 3 cm) needles. Small (up to 3 cm) light brown cones ripen in September and decorate the tree until next spring.
In different garden forms, the needles can be yellowish, blue, gray, and even almost white. Its color depends on the thickness of the wax coating on young needles. By winter, the plaque gradually disappears and the crown becomes dark green.
The view is rich in luxurious decorative fir trees for growing. Good: short-branched columnar Fastigata (Fastigata); flat crown dwarf Compact (Сompacta); with bluish needles weeping Bonfire (Koster), which at a height of 10-15 m has a crown with a diameter of 4-5 m; 1 m high with a width of 1.5 m Glauka Globosa (Glauca globosa) Among the colorful Christmas trees there is a dark green Atviridis (Atviridis); bluish green Glauka (Glauca); bluish white Tserulia (Coerulea); yellow white Flavescence (Flavescens); with yellow needles all year round Lutescens (Lutescens).
Useful advice: In order for the Christmas tree to grow better, in early spring it is necessary to remove the buds located at the end of the shoots.
Siberian spruce (Picea obovata) grows in the north of Europe and Asia to Kamchatka and Manchuria. She is more adapted to the harsh climatic conditions of the north-eastern part of our country. Very hardy, undemanding to fertility and soil moisture, shade-tolerant. It grows to 30 m (at 12 years old, height 4 m), the crown has a cone-shaped, dark green needles, 1-2 cm long, cones 6-7 cm long, shiny, dense, red-brown.
Of the decorative forms of this species of spruce, fast-growing is most interesting for amateur gardening Glauka (Glauca) with silver-white needles. This spruce is well propagated by seeds.
Tien Shan spruce, or Tianshan spruce (Picea schrenkiana subsp. tianschanica), a subspecies of Schrenk's spruce (Picea schrenkiana), originally from China. Very beautiful tree with a height of 45 m with a narrow crown. The ends of the branches are drooping, with a bluish-green long (up to 4 cm) sickle-shaped needles and large (up to 12 cm) shiny brown cones. Frost-resistant, demanding on humidity of air and soil, photophilous. Its spherical shape is especially good Globose (Globosa) up to 1.8 m in diameter.
Engelman spruce(Picea engelmannii), also with slightly drooping branches, on which cherry, then light brown cones flaunt first. The needles are gray-green, about 3 cm long, the cone is conical. It grows up to 20 m. It is winter-hardy, undemanding to growing conditions.
Among the decorative forms of this spruce are the most beautiful for growing: gray-blue Glauka Pendula (Glauca pendula), with a weeping crown; gray blue Glauka (Glauca); dwarf Microfila (Microphilla), similar to a ball.
How to grow spruce?
Like all conifers, spruce is best planted on a site in late April - early May. But, if the weather is hot, landing is possible after August 20 and until the end of September. Spruce trees are planted at a distance of 2-3 m in pits 50-70 cm deep. Drain from broken brick with a thickness of 15-20 cm is poured into the bottom and filled into two-thirds of the nutrient substrate, consisting of turf soil, leaf mix, peat and sand in a ratio of 2 : 2: 1: 1.
100-150 g of nitroammophos are added thereto and mixed thoroughly. A tree is planted so that the root neck is at ground level. In the future, they make sure that it is not exposed and not buried due to subsidence of the soil.
After planting, a hole is made, watered and covered with peat in a layer of 6-7 cm.
Useful advice: If you purchased conifers in a pot or some other container, then transplant them to the same depth at which they grow there.
Novosovki poorly tolerate dry soil and air, so in hot weather they need weekly watering (10-12 liters of water per plant) and sprinkling of crowns. After each watering, the soil in the near-stem circle is loosened, weeds are weeded and mulched with peat.
Top dressing and watering
It is not necessary to feed spruce, but early in the spring (before the shoots begin to grow) it is useful to add 100-120 g of universal fertilizer to the trunk circle. Some species of spruce do not tolerate excessive dryness of the soil and need to be irrigated in hot weather.
If spruce trees are planted as hedges, then they need a special formation. The effect of an impenetrable green wall is achieved by cropping. In all other cases, in the spring or autumn, only dry, broken or diseased branches are removed from the trees, since the formation of the crown quite successfully occurs naturally. If two tops began to grow at the same time, one of them must be removed by cutting at the base.
Young Christmas trees, newly planted and some decorative forms need protection from sunburn, early spring and late autumn frosts. Under such plants, the soil is mulched with peat, and the needles are covered with non-woven material, spruce branches or kraft paper.
Species fir trees are usually grown from seeds, while garden forms created by breeders are grown from cuttings or by grafting, since during seed propagation many of them lose their decorative qualities.
Growing a Christmas tree from a nut
Fir cones ripen at different times, but they are usually harvested for reproduction in late autumn. Nuts (seeds) from cones, which are stored in a dry and cool place, are removed 2-3 months before sowing and put on stratification to soften the shell and increase germination.
First, the seeds are lowered for 30 minutes in a 0.5% solution of potassium permanganate, then washed with clean water and soaked for a day for swelling. Then placed in nylon bags with wet sand and stored until sowing in a snow pile or refrigerator.
Sown in the second decade of April in a greenhouse. Sawdust is poured on loose sandy soil with a layer of 2 cm, seeds are laid on them and sprinkled with fresh coniferous sawdust with a layer of 1-1.5 cm. Then, the greenhouse is abundantly watered and covered with a film or frames.
You can also sow spruce seeds in spring and in open ground. Then the sowing place is covered with a layer of rods so that wind and rain do not blow away and erode the sawdust. To protect from direct sunlight, a non-woven material or cotton fabric is pulled from above. In mid-August, the frames from the hotbeds and covering material are removed; closer to winter, plants are covered with dry leaves.
When growing seedlings, the soil is kept in a moderately moist state. In hot weather, the frequency and volume of irrigation is increased. So that there is no overmoistening, which can cause seed decay, greenhouses or shelters are periodically ventilated. In the summer, the seedlings are fed three times with a 0.1% hydropone solution or mullein diluted with water 1: 5, combining top dressing with watering.
You can sow the seeds of fir in boxes in which the seedlings are left for 2-3 years, while creating the above conditions for seedlings.
Regardless of the place of cultivation, after 2-3 years, the grown seedlings are transplanted in the spring, placing after 30-50 cm. Damaged and too long roots are pruned during the transplant period. At the same time, they should not be shaken in order to preserve the mycorrhiza present on the roots, which is necessary for good growth and development of conifers. Before planting, it is advisable to dip the root system into a mash from garden soil and humus in a 2: 1 ratio.
In a new place, seedlings grow an average of another 4 years. Once a week they are watered, followed by loosening the soil, weeds are weeded, and organic or mineral fertilizers are applied. They are fed in the second year after transplantation in the spring (before swelling of the kidneys). On 1 m² of beds, a mixture of 500 g of manure, 25 g of superphosphate, 10 g of potassium nitrate is added. Fertilizers are evenly scattered over the soil, sealed with a chopper to a depth of 10 cm and watered.
6-7-year-old fir trees grown from seeds are planted in a constant place in spring or early autumn. Due to the shallow location of the root system to the transplant, they usually respond well.
Growing a Christmas tree from a twig
Decorative forms of fir trees, like many other conifers, are propagated by stem cuttings. Cut them at the end of April (such spring cuttings take root in the year of planting); in June, when there is an intensive growth of shoots (June cuttings form callus in the first year, and take root in the second year); in August, when the growth of the shoots stops and the lignification of the shoots begins (such cuttings are most preferable for fir trees); in September - November (lignified, or winter cuttings).
Spring and summer are planted immediately, and lignified until spring planting is stored in a cool place with a temperature of 1-5 ° C and high humidity.
Cuttings from young 4-8-year-old plants are best taken root. Only annual shoots are cut. And completely, sometimes even with 2-year-old wood at the base. Needles are removed only in the lower part of the branch to the planting depth (2-6 cm). Usually the length of the cuttings of spruce is 10-25 cm.
Useful advice: For summer cuttings, it is best to cut the shoots early in the morning, when the plant tissues contain maximum moisture. If the weather is cloudy, cuttings can be carried out during the day. Immediately after cutting the branches, you need to put them in moistened moss or burlap, especially if transportation is to be done.
For cuttings, shoots from the upper half of the crown are used, since cut off in the middle or below can subsequently give a one-sided or incorrectly branching crown with a curved trunk, and besides, they are poorly rooted.
Cuttings are planted in a greenhouse. It is better if it is heated and with a fogging plant, but there are few of them in summer cottages, so we will stop at a cold greenhouse that every gardener can build. Drainage from small stones or gravel is laid at the bottom with a layer of 4-5 cm, then turf soil is poured with a layer of 10-12 cm, and washed with river sand with a layer of 5-6 cm.
Cover with a film on top so that the distance to the sand is no more than 30 cm. For shading, burlap is placed on top of the film. In a greenhouse, the temperature of the soil should be 21-27 ° C, and the air should be 5-7 ° C lower. In this regard, in early spring, additional heating of the soil substrate is needed.
Before planting the cuttings at half length, they are immersed for a day in a weak solution of potassium permanganate or in any diluted root growth stimulator (for example, rootin). Planted in sand obliquely at an angle of 30 degrees to a depth of 2-6 cm, placing at intervals of 10 cm, and immediately watered abundantly.
Subsequently, it is watered in the spring, spraying from a watering can with small holes, once a day, in the summer - up to four times. In August, when the roots appear, watering is reduced to daily and the shading is removed.
After the start of rooting, good results are obtained by spraying the cuttings with a mineral nutrient mixture. To prepare it, 1 g of water is diluted with 8 g of ammonium nitrate, 20 g of simple superphosphate, 1-2 g of magnesium sulfate, 16 g of potassium nitrate, 30 g of sucrose, 60 mg of indolylacetic acid (IAA). For the winter, the cuttings are covered with sawdust or dry leaves. Transplanted into the open ground in April next year and grow in the same way as 2-3-year-old seed plants.
So spruce is rarely propagated and only decorative forms. 4-5-year-old seedlings are grown from the seeds of fir trees growing in the district, and silver, blue, weeping or any others like them are planted with cuttings on them.
Useful advice: If your fir-tree has broken an axial shoot, replace it with the nearest lateral one.To do this, put a peg near the plant, tie a vertically selected branch to it. So that there is no skip near, pull the twines growing around the branch to each other. Remove the garter no earlier than a year later.
Harvested in November (winter) grafts are inoculated from late April to mid-June; cut off in spring (before budding) - from late April to mid-May.
Spruce (and other conifers) is most often planted by copulation, combining oblique sections made by a copulation knife on the stem of a seedling (rootstock) and on a cuttings (graft). It is also good to master improved copulation, in which an additional incision is made in the upper third of the stock and in the lower third of the scion. The resulting spikes when folding the slices enter each other and hold the scion on the stock more firmly.
Still use inoculation with butt wood on cambium. In this method, lateral branches and needles are removed on a 8-10 cm long stem, leaving only at the apical kidney. The slice is made so that a one-sided wedge is obtained. On a rootstock, 3-4 cm below the apical bud, first remove the needles, and then with a thin layer remove the bark in an area equal to the cut of the cuttings. Connect both parts.
When vaccinated, the butt of cambium on cambium on the stock (below the apical bud or at the base of the annual shoot) cut the bark along the cambial zone. A cut of the bark on the handle is made of the same length and combine both parts.
Useful advice: When growing a grafted plant, do not forget that it needs more careful care. Regular weeding, loosening, watering and spraying, mulching the trunk circle with peat or compost (4-6 kg / m2) are vitally important for such Christmas trees.
Vaccinations are bound with sterile plastic tape (first with rare turns, and then with a continuous layer) and covered with garden var.
After splicing, the strapping is loosened or removed completely and the grafted graft is shaded.
In the second year, the rootstock branches are shortened by one third of the grafted Christmas tree and at the same time the top above the cuttings is removed. On the 3-4th year, the rootstock branches are shortened more strongly, and on the 4th-5th year, they are cut into a ring.
In the first year, 1 to 4 shoots 1-5 cm long are formed at the scion, and after 6 years the grafted plant can be planted in a permanent place.
Yellowing of pine needles can be caused by the appearance of a pest on its branches - spruce-fir hermes. Its colonies, similar to white cotton wool, are usually located on the underside of needles. To get rid of this pest, it is necessary in April to spray the branches with a working solution of anti or horn preparations (20 g per 10 liters of water).
If the young shoots look like burnt, then surely an ordinary spruce sawfly settled on a tree. When its caterpillars appear, treat the branches with Fufanon (20 ml per 10 l of water).
The appearance of brown spots on the needles with subsequent yellowing or browning is a sign of the disease, which is called “ordinary shute”. To stop the development of the disease, in the spring and in July-September, spray the Christmas tree with colloidal sulfur (200 g per 10 liters of water), or kineb (50-100 g per 10 liters of water), or Bordeaux liquid (100 g per 10 liters of water).
The branches are treated with the same drugs for rust (orange spots on the needles, swelling on the shoots). With a strong development of the disease, the affected branches must be cut or even uprooted to stop the infection of other garden inhabitants.
Author: Tatyana Dyakova, Candidate of Agricultural Sciences