How to care for a white pine christmas tree
Garden Guides | About White Pine Christmas Trees
The Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) is among the best-selling Christmas trees in America. It is valued for it delicate appearance and excellent needle retention, and is especially well-suited for small and lightweight ornaments. You may wish to choose the eastern white pine as your Christmas tree if you have allergies, since its scent is light.
In the wild, Eastern white pine can reach 80 feet in height and gain a diameter of 2 to 3 feet. It is the largest pine in the United States, and is the state tree of Maine and Michigan. The soft, flexible needles, ranging from silver-green to blue-green in color, are 2 to 5 inches long and regularly arranged in groups of five. The bark of young trees is smooth and greenish-brown, but on older trees, becomes dark grey and cracked.
- The Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) is among the best-selling Christmas trees in America.
- In the wild, Eastern white pine can reach 80 feet in height and gain a diameter of 2 to 3 feet.
Range and Use
The Eastern white pine, as its name indicates, is native to Eastern North America. It grows in many different locations, but does best in moist sandy loam. It is usually propagated by seed, and some 70 different cultivars are available for commercial use. The white pine has been highly valued since colonial times, when it was used for ship-building. Although over-harvesting has resulted in the destruction of most of the country’s original pine forests, the white pine reproduces readily and can be found throughout its growing range.
Use as a Christmas Tree
Many types of Christmas trees, including the Eastern white pine, are usually sheared to give them a pyramidical shape. Such shearing gives them a very dense look. The slender boughs of white pine will not hold as many ornaments as some other trees, such as the Scotch pine, nor will they support very heavy ornaments. The white pine does not have as strong an aroma as some other kinds of pines, but this can be an advantage to those with allergies, since it reportedly may cause fewer allergy symptoms, according to the National Christmas Tree Association.
- The Eastern white pine, as its name indicates, is native to Eastern North America.
- Many types of Christmas trees, including the Eastern white pine, are usually sheared to give them a pyramidical shape.
Selecting an Eastern White Pine
Although checking to see if the needles break crisply is a good check of freshness for a fir, this is not an accurate test for a pine, since pine needles do not break unless they are very dry. Instead, check to be sure there are no signs of excessive dryness or other deterioration. Very few needles should come off when you pull a branch toward you; shaking or bouncing the tree should produce little in the way of fallen green needles, says PineTreeBarn.com. The needles that pines shed naturally as part of their life cycle should be shaken out before you bring the tree into your house.
Store your Eastern white pine in a sheltered, unheated spot until you are ready to set it up. Make a fresh, straight cut across the trunk’s base before placing it in a holder with at least a gallon of water. Be sure to check the tree’s holder often and refill as necessary. If the water is allowed to fall below the base of the trunk, a seal will form and the tree will not be able to take up water, requiring a fresh cut. Your tree may absorb as much as a gallon of water in the first 24 hours.
- Although checking to see if the needles break crisply is a good check of freshness for a fir, this is not an accurate test for a pine, since pine needles do not break unless they are very dry.
- If the water is allowed to fall below the base of the trunk, a seal will form and the tree will not be able to take up water, requiring a fresh cut.
Tips for Selection and Care of Cut Christmas Trees
There is no right or wrong species when it comes to choosing a Christmas tree. It all depends on your tastes and what is available locally. Bringing a freshly cut tree into your home, having it hold irreplaceable ornaments and bear witness to the most loving traditions within your family deserves a bit of research.
Most commercially available Christmas trees are harvested the first couple weeks of November. If you enjoy decorating your home as early as Thanksgiving or early December, you are challenging a tree to maintain its freshness in the warm, dry environment of our heated homes. To optimize the length of time a tree looks its best, seek out the freshest tree, choose tree varieties which can take indoor conditions, and optimize the environment once the tree is brought into your home.
The freshest trees are farmed locally and harvested closer to Thanksgiving. Some of these farms allow you to cut your own tree or choose a tree they will cut for you. To locate a Christmas tree grower in your area, visit the Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Growers Association website.
Some of the most popular conifers grown for Christmas trees
have soft, flat, blue-green needles that are attached singly to the stem. Their naturally symmetrical growth habit yields a full, attractive Christmas tree, and their reputation for good needle retention makes Douglas-fir one of the most popular species to invite home for the holidays. The branches are moderately stiff and may not be suitable for the heaviest ornaments. Best of all, Douglas-fir has a sweet citrusy scent that most people enjoy.
Frasier and balsam firs
have soft, flat, dark green needles marked by silver bands on the undersides. They are thicker than Douglas-fir needles, and are also attached singly to the stem. Their overall growth habit is a bit more stiff than that of a Douglas-fir, but quite attractive, and they also win praise for good needle retention. Their branches are moderately stiff and may not be suitable for the heaviest ornaments. The spicy, resinous fragrance makes Frasier and balsam firs holiday favorites.
White and Scotch pines
have needles bundled into groups of five (white pine) or two (Scotch pine). They are tightly sheared when grown as Christmas trees to create a dense, full shape. Both are popular, traditional Christmas trees with good reputations for needle retention. Scotch pine is quite strong and will hold heavy ornaments with ease; white pine is more flexible and may not support the heaviest ornaments. Both perfume a room with a clean pine fragrance.
Colorado blue spruce
have sharp, square needles that are attached singly to the stem. Valued for their blue-green to silvery blue color, Colorado blue spruce has gained popularity as a Christmas tree. They tend to have a symmetrical growth habit and hold the heaviest ornaments without complaint. They hold their needles well, but only if care is taken to make sure they never run out of water. Once they dry out, even once, many needles will fall. Another drawback is that their needles are very sharp - this is not a good selection for homes with small children.
Selecting a Fresh Tree
You can definitely be assured of getting a fresh tree if you cut your own tree from a local Christmas tree farm. While this is a cherished family tradition for many, the convenience of purchasing a pre-cut tree is more attractive for others.
To check a pre-cut tree for freshness, look for flexible needles that remain firmly attached when you tug on them. All needled evergreens shed their oldest needles every year, so do not be concerned when brown needles fall from the interior of the tree when you knock the base of the tree on the ground. Just make sure they are thoroughly shaken off the tree before taking it indoors. If the needles pull out easily, or if they appear a dull, lifeless green, that tree may be past its prime.
Maintaining a high moisture level in the tree is the single most important factor in reducing needle loss and keeping the tree fresh. This is accomplished primarily through the use of water-holding stands and keeping the water level in the stand above the base of the tree. Every year, there are many articles written concerning the handling and care of Christmas trees. Unfortunately, they often contain erroneous information.
These research-based guidelines will help you to maintain the freshness and aroma of your live Christmas tree this holiday season:
- Use a tree stand with an adequate water-holding capacity. A tree stand should have a water basin that provides 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter. For most Christmas trees, the stand should hold at least 1 gallon of water. A cut tree will absorb a surprising amount of water, particularly during the first week, so replenish the water daily.
- The tree stand should fit your tree. Some stands have circular rings at the top, so the ring must be large enough for the trunk of your tree to go through the hole. Avoid whittling down the sides of the trunk to fit a stand. The outer layers of wood are the most efficient in taking up water and should not be removed.
- If the tree is to be stored for more than a couple of days before display, it is advisable to place its trunk in water and store it in a cool, shaded, and protected, area such as an unheated garage.
- If the tree has been cut within the past 12 hours, it will not be necessary to recut the trunk prior to display indoors. If it has been longer than 12 hours since harvest, the trunk should be recut to improve water uptake.
- Cutting off a disk of wood about ¼" thick from the base of the trunk is all that is necessary before putting the tree in the stand. Make the cut perpendicular to the stem axis. Don't cut the trunk at an angle, or into a v-shape, which makes it far more difficult to hold the tree in the stand and also reduces the amount of water available to the tree.
- Keep displayed trees away from sources of heat (fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, and direct sunlight). Lowering the room temperature will slow the drying process, resulting in less water consumption each day.
- The temperature of the water used to fill the stand is not important and does not affect water uptake.
- Check the stand daily to make sure that the level of water does not go below the base of the tree. With many stands, there can still be water in the stand even though the base of the tree is no longer submerged in water.
- Drilling a hole in the base of the trunk does not improve water uptake.
- The use of "IV" type devices to supply water directly to holes drilled into the sides of the tree trunk is not as effective as displaying the tree in a more traditional, water-holding tree stand.
- Applying anti-transpirants to the tree does not have a significant effect on the rate of moisture loss. These products are marketed as a way to block evaporation from the foliage surface, but, in reality, they have little effect on a cut tree displayed indoors.
- Adding water-holding gels to the stand is not beneficial, and they can reduce the amount of water in the stand that is available to the tree.
- Do not use additives, such as floral preservatives, commercial tree preservatives, molasses, sugar, bleach, soft drinks, aspirin, honey, and other concoctions, in the water. Clean water is all that is needed to maintain freshness.
- Displaying trees in water with the proper care is much more effective in reducing fire hazards than spraying trees with flame retardants. Some flame retardants can damage needles and actually increase the rate of moisture loss from trees.
- Monitor your tree for dryness. Run your fingers across the needles to determine whether they are dry and brittle. If the needles break easily or fall off in your hand, the tree is dry and should be removed
Newer LED Christmas lights generate less heat than older types of lighting. Always turn the lights off when the tree is unattended.
After the holidays
When you are ready to take the tree down after the holidays, do not be in hurry to send it to a landfill. Evergreen boughs make a great mulch for perennial flowering plants that do not tolerate other mulches that can hold excessive moisture around their crowns. They can also be placed on the ground near bird feeders to create a little shelter for ground-feeding birds. Also, many communities have a special pick up or designate a drop off site for Christmas trees. They may hold a big community bonfire or grind the trees into mulch that can be used for the garden in spring.
Caring for a Christmas tree in a pot at home
Buying a Christmas tree in a pot, I was not sure that it would last long at home. But for several years now, this green beauty has been pleasing to the eye. Now every year I buy a Christmas tree in a pot - I plan to plant it soon, I will create my own small coniferous garden.
In this article, based on my experience, I will tell you how to properly care for a Christmas tree in a pot, how to choose a plant, which varieties are best suited for the Russian climate, and give advice on care and transplantation.
Content of Article
- Care for a Christmas tree in a pot
- Selection of location
- The required temperature
- irrigation and moisture 9001
Caring for a Christmas tree in a pot
Before bringing a Christmas tree in a pot into the house, you need to leave it in a cool room for several days. Otherwise, the plant, due to a sharp change in temperature (getting from a cool environment to a warm one), may begin to grow, deciding that spring has come.
If you think this is good, I have to disappoint you. Together with the tree, its roots grow and they become crowded in a pot, and this weakens the root system and the tree as a whole.
Choosing a location
Spruce loves coolness and humid air, so the place should be appropriate: there should be no heaters or any thermal objects nearby.
The Christmas tree cannot be placed in a room with dry air, so ventilate and humidify the air more often. It is also important to remember that the plant should not be in room conditions for more than 2-3 weeks. In winter, spruce is at rest, so it needs to be taken out to a cool place.
Tip: Place a container of water in the room where the plant is located to provide humid air.
As mentioned earlier, spruce cannot be kept in a room for a long time, it will be best for it on a balcony or in another cool place. In winter, the plant needs a temperature from +6 to +10 ° C, while negative temperatures can also be easily tolerated by the Christmas tree, but not by its roots.
Therefore, if the temperature has become negative, you need to wrap the pot with a thick blanket, scarf or other thing that retains heat. If there is straw or hay, then they can also be used.
Tip: if you decide to take the plant to the garage - do not put it on concrete, otherwise the soil with the roots will freeze. In summer, it is worth taking the spruce to fresh air, where it will be more comfortable, while avoiding direct light rays on the Christmas tree.
Watering and moistening
A potted tree loves moisture, so it should be watered every other day (or at least 3 times a week, use about 2-3 liters of water). But do not overwater the plant - it can die from waterlogging. If there is a lot of this amount of water for your spruce, then you need to monitor the soil and water when it dries.
You also need to moisten the needles, feel free to take a spray bottle and spray the needles at least 1-2 times a day.
In winter, spruce rests and is at rest, so watering should be reduced to 1 time in 3 weeks, provided that the temperature is optimal (+6 - +10 ° C), if the temperature drops below 0 ° C - you need to water 1 once a month. (You need to water every day in summer)
Tip: Place a spray bottle near the tree so you spray the plant more often. It is better to use settled water.
Spruce needs light, no need to put it in a completely unlit place. Diffused but bright light works best. Especially young trees need proper lighting.
Therefore, you should not ignore the light factor if you want your pet to have green and lush needles. But avoid getting sunlight on the Christmas tree, they burn the needles.
Tip: for a uniform and even color of the needles, you can turn the tree around its axis from time to time.
During the active season of the Christmas tree, that is, from May to September inclusive, the plant should be watered with the addition of conventional mineral fertilizers once or twice a month.
They can be bought from flower shops or other specialized shops. Spruce does not require other additives; in this regard, it is not whimsical. In winter, during the dormant period (from November to March), it is not necessary to feed the tree with fertilizers, because it is resting and should not grow.
Tip: you can use onion peel tincture as a source of trace elements.
- These plants are under a lot of stress when repotting, so the tree can be repotted about once every two or three years, and this is a crucial moment. But if the spruce is actively growing, its roots are growing more and more, then you need to replant as this growth.
- For transplanting, it makes sense to take a transparent plastic pot in order to observe the growth of the roots and the moisture content of the soil. Be sure to make large holes that do not clog. If you do not like the look of such a pot, you can always buy a planter.
- The plant must be pulled out with a whole clod of earth without bare roots.
- The soil must be acidic, it can be made at home from earth from coniferous forests and ordinary universal earth mixture. But it’s easier and better to just buy special land for coniferous plants. Put expanded clay drainage and some charcoal at the bottom.
- Do not cover the neck of the plant, otherwise it will die.
- It is better to transplant into another pot in winter, when the tree is at rest.
But it is important to remember that spruce is not a house plant. Sooner or later, if you do not want the tree to die, it will have to be planted in open ground.
How to choose a plant
It must be remembered that if you grow a coniferous tree in a pot, then its height will be 15-30 cm, while in open soil the height can reach 2 meters (usually about 170 cm). Therefore, if you decide to purchase a Christmas tree in a pot, you should consider the following factors:
- Pot size - if the pot is small relative to the crown of the tree, then the roots were cut off during transplantation. It makes no sense to buy such a plant, because it will die.
- Shoots at the ends of a tree - if in winter there are shoots at the ends of a spruce tree, then it was forcibly awakened. Soon the spruce will start to hurt.
- Decorations - if the tree is decorated with something (shiny spray or varnish), then the tree will die, because the pores of the needles will become clogged with aerosol. (But you can try to wash it off with warm water)
- Stem Position - If the stem is loose in the soil and moves, it has recently been transplanted. You should not take such a plant, because the transplant could be done incorrectly. This will kill the plant. Carefully move the barrel to check.
- The location of the roots in the pot - the roots should fill the entire volume of the pot, this will mean that the spruce has not been transplanted. To check, you need to pick up the soil a little, while paying attention that it should be slightly damp.
- Frost Resistance - Frost resistance should be 1-2 points higher than your zone. Therefore, if you have a 6 zone, then you need to take spruce for 5 or 4 zones. Check this information with the seller.
For the Russian climate, frost resistance is perfect:
- German spruce
- dwarf fir
- Serbian spruce
- conic spruce
- western thuja
- decorative blue spruce
- Christmas tree in a pot needs special care
- it is important to transplant the plant on time and correctly
- spruce will need to be planted in open ground anyway
- the right choice of a plant determines its further fate in your home
planting and care, growing in winter and autumn, types and varieties, photo
Author: Elena N. https://floristics. info/en/index.php?option=com_contact&view=contact&id=19 Category: Garden plants Reissued: Last amendments:
- Planting and leaving spruce
- Botanical description
- Planting spruce
- Growing conditions
- Diseases and pests
- Propagation methods
- Growing from seed
Spruce (lat. Picea) is a genus of trees of the Pine family, which includes about 40 species. The Latin name of the genus comes from the word "pix", which means "resin" in translation, and the deriving word of the Russian name refers to the Proto-Slavic language and has the same meaning. The most common species in culture is the common spruce, or European.
In the Fulufjellet National Park in western Sweden, there is a spruce of this species, which is more than 9550 years. It is the oldest tree organism on Earth. Spruce is one of the most important symbols of Christmas and New Year.
Planting and caring for spruce
- Planting: in the second half of April or at the end of August-beginning of September.
- Lighting: bright sunlight.
- Soil: to fill the planting pit, prepare a mixture of humus, forest soil, peat, sod land and ¾ cup of Nitroammophoska.
- Watering: seedlings and miniature and dwarf trees require regular watering. Water consumption for each plant - 12 liters. Adult large spruces do not need watering: they have enough natural rainfall, and they calmly endure drought.
- Top dressing: starting from the second season, complex mineral fertilizers for coniferous plants are applied to the near-stem circle of spruce.
- Pruning: Spruce does not need to form a crown, but sometimes the plant needs sanitary cleaning, which is carried out in early spring.
- Propagation: by seeds and cuttings.
- Pests: spider mites, spruce bark beetles, common spruce sawflies, false scale insects, needle beetles.
- Diseases: rust, common schütte, snow stubble, root fungus.
Read more about growing spruce below.
Spruce is a slender monoecious evergreen tree up to 40 meters or more high. The root system of spruce is pivotal for the first ten to one and a half years, then the main root dies off, and the plant lives at the expense of roots located superficially in the soil within a radius of 15-20 m from the trunk. Due to the superficially located root system, spruce is a tree that is not wind-resistant and even wind-resistant. Her crown is pyramidal or conical, spruce branches are whorled, drooping or horizontally spread. The first few years the tree does not give side shoots. The gray bark of spruce peels off the trunk in thin plates. The needles of the plant are needle-shaped, the needles are short, sometimes flat, but more often tetrahedral, sharp and hard. They are arranged spirally, sometimes in two rows, and remain on the shoots for up to six years or more. Every year the tree loses up to one seventh of its needles.
Spruces are gymnosperms. Male strobili in the form of small catkins grow from the axils at the ends of the previous year's branches and begin to release pollen in May. Female strobili are also located at the ends of the branches, but in the form of cones, which, after pollination by the wind, grow and hang. Pointed, oblong-cylindrical, leathery or woody cones fall off after seed ripening. Spruce cones consist of an axis on which covering and seed scales are located. Spruce seeds, which do not lose their germination capacity for 8-10 years, ripen in October, spill out of the opened cones and are carried by the wind.
Depending on growing conditions, spruces begin to bear fruit at the age of 10 to 60 years. These trees live on average from 250 to 300 years, but it is not uncommon to find spruces that are more than half a thousand years old.
When to plant
Coniferous plants are considered unpretentious to environmental conditions and undemanding in care, while their decorative qualities are beyond praise. Thanks to these characteristics, spruces have recently been grown everywhere in household plots. The most difficult moment is planting a tree, especially if it is a large tree.
When buying planting material, give preference to seedlings with a closed root system, since spruce does not tolerate overdrying of roots: bare spruce roots die in 15-20 minutes in air. It is better to purchase seedlings in a nursery or in a well-established garden center, and not in seasonal markets. In a healthy seedling, the needles should be bright, shiny, without dry needles, and the roots should not stick out of the container. An earthen ball of a plant ready for planting, about 1 m high, must be at least 50 cm in diameter.
It is best to plant spruce in mid-late April, you can also do it in late August or early September: during these periods, the root system actively grows, and spruce will more easily take root in a new place. Spruces larger than three meters in height are recommended to be planted from November to March with a frozen earthen clod.
A small decorative Christmas tree can be planted close to home, but a large tree with its superficial root system will deprive neighboring plants of nutrition and moisture, so it is better to plant it outside the site or you will have to cut its roots annually. As for lighting, decorative low-growing spruces and forms with colored needles need a lot of light, otherwise they quickly lose their decorative qualities. And in large spruces, if they are well lit by the sun, the crown is formed evenly.
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How to plant
The planting hole is dug 50-70 cm deep. a layer of drainage material (crushed stone or broken brick sprinkled with sand) 15–20 cm thick. cups of Nitroammofoski. It would be better to add forest soil to the soil mixture instead of leafy soil. The root system of the seedling two to three hours before planting should be lowered into the water without removing it from the container.
Sprinkle the soil mixture on the drainage layer, carefully, without damaging the earthen clod, remove the seedling from the container and place it in the hole on the soil layer. If you accidentally destroyed an earthen ball, then hurry up: you have no more than 20 minutes to complete the landing. The seedling placed in the pit is set strictly vertically and the remaining space is filled with soil mixture, not trying too hard to compact it. The root neck after planting should be at ground level. Make an earthen dump around the seedling, which will not allow water to spread, and pour 10-20 liters of water under the Christmas tree, and when it is absorbed, mulch the trunk circle with peat.
If you are planting large fir trees, the distance between them should be at least 2-3 m. , as well as seedlings and young plants, especially if they are planted in winter, require a more responsible attitude to watering. Winter planting spruces, for example, are watered weekly for the entire first season, spending at least 12 liters of water each time. When watering, do not allow water to get on the needles. And so that the rotting of the superficially located root system does not happen and there is no rapid evaporation of moisture from the soil, the root area of the spruce must be mulched with a layer of bark, needles, sawdust or shavings of coniferous trees 6 cm thick. You can also pour expanded clay around the tree or lay decorative stones. If, for any reason, the site is not mulched, you will have to regularly loosen the soil around the spruces to a depth of 7 cm and remove weeds.
Like any ornamental plant, the spruce needs to be fed, but in the year of planting, if you applied fertilizer to the pit, the tree is not fed. In the future, once a season, complex fertilizers for coniferous plants are applied to the soil under the spruce. Newly planted or transplanted Christmas trees are first watered with solutions of a growth stimulator (Epin, Heteroauxin or Herbamine) and sprayed with their needles with Ferravit. Adult spruces do not need fertilizers.
Sometimes a tree may require sanitary cleaning: dried or diseased branches are removed. But keep in mind that strong pruning can destroy the plant, and only prickly spruce is sheared like lilac, forming, for example, cypress from it.
During the first 15 years, spruce grows very slowly, therefore, in order to quickly landscaping, transplantation to a site of mature trees is used. Sometimes the height of the spruce to be transplanted can reach 15 m. It is best to transplant such large trees at the beginning of winter, when the ground is already frozen, but the air temperature does not drop below -8-12 ºC. Spruces can also be replanted at the end of winter, while the soil is still frozen. In such conditions, the earth holds well on the roots, and they are minimally damaged.
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Spruce is prepared for replanting in advance: in the spring, along the projection of the perimeter of its crown, they dig a trench 20-30 cm wide and 1 m deep, carefully cutting the spruce roots with a shovel. Humus or peat is poured into the trench, fertilizers are added to stimulate root formation and watered well. It is necessary to moisten the substrate in the trench several times during the summer, especially in drought. By autumn, many thin roots form in this pillow.
A planting hole with sheer walls 1 m deep and 1 m in diameter larger than the crown diameter is dug in autumn. The soil mixture prepared for embedding is stored in the basement so that it does not freeze and remains soft. It is also necessary to make a supply of sand, bedding from under the fir trees and dry leaves. Spruce up to 2 m high can be dug independently along the radius of the trench, cutting the remaining roots. They dig up a tree by 60 cm - the roots of a Christmas tree of such a height go to such a depth. Burlap is placed under the spruce roots, wrapped in an earthen ball, the seedling is pulled out and transported to the planting site. Taller trees are removed with a rooter, which holds both the crown and the roots with the ground without damaging them.
Drainage, forest litter, a layer of sand and dry leaves are poured into the bottom of the planting pit, and then the seedling is placed in the pit so that its root neck is 5-7 cm above ground level. When placing, it is very important to keep the orientation of the tree in the south-north direction. The space between the walls of the pit and the earthen clod is filled with soil mixture, only slightly compacting it. Along the perimeter of the pit, at an equal distance from each other, several strong stakes are driven in and spruce is tied to them with stretch marks so that it does not fall from the wind. The trunk circle is covered with humus, peat, spruce branches or fallen leaves. When the soil in the hole settles, the root neck of the tree will be at ground level.
Diseases and pests
Coniferous plants have many enemies among insects, they are also affected by many diseases. For example:
Pine needle rust is a fungal disease that causes numerous golden cylindrical blisters 2-3 cm in diameter to appear on needles at the beginning of summer. neighboring plants. Young spruce trees suffer the most from rust, in which the disease causes premature death of the needles. For preventive and therapeutic purposes, spruce in early June should be treated with a one percent solution of Bordeaux liquid or another fungicide of a similar action. Fallen needles must be removed and burned in a timely manner. It is also very important to conduct regular weed control. In addition to needle rust, spruce can also be affected by cone rust. Sick cones must be removed immediately, but otherwise the measures to combat this type of rust are the same as with needle rust;
Schutte common spruce appears in spring on last year's shoots: the needles on them turn brown, die off, but do not fall off, but remain in place until the next spring. Then, on the underside of the needles, apothecia of the fungus will begin to appear in the form of black, shiny and convex formations. Sick trees lag behind in growth, and sometimes even die. At the first signs of the disease, it is necessary to remove the affected branches and treat the spruce with a fungicide solution. It will take 3-4 treatments to destroy the infection;
Shutte brown - from this disease, the needles on young spruce trees become brownish-brown and dry out, but do not fall off, but remain on the tree for a long time. The affected branches must be cut off, and the plant should be treated with a fungicide.
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Snow Spruce Schütte appears on the needles in autumn as reddish-brown spots, on which a white bloom forms in spring. With the development of the disease, the plaque darkens and becomes covered with black fruit bodies of the fungus. Like an ordinary or brown shutte, a snowy shutte leads to the fact that the needles on spruce turn brown, dry out and die. Sick branches should be cut and burned. Destroy pathogens by repeatedly treating the tree with a fungicide solution;
Root fungus is a widespread disease that causes root rot not only in coniferous but also in deciduous trees. Fruiting bodies of the fungus are formed in the voids under the roots and on their lower surface, at the root collar, and sometimes on the litter around the tree. These are leathery, different in shape and size formations, brown or brown on the outside, and white or light yellow on the inside. The texture is like soft cork. This disease destroys spruce wood. If signs of the disease are found, it is necessary to remove the foci and treat the affected areas with fungicidal preparations.
The most dangerous pests for spruce are spider mites – not insects, but arachnids, the main activity of which is manifested in hot, dry weather. Ticks feed on cell sap. Numerous small dots on needles and cobwebs are evidence of their presence. With a large number of pests, the spruce turns yellow, the needles affected by ticks become light, almost white. For preventive purposes, it is necessary to spray needles in the evenings in dry and hot times, and acaricides are used to kill ticks: Apollo, Flumite, Floromite, Borneo. Effective against ticks and insectoacaricides Actellik, Agravertin, Akarin and Oberon. Keep in mind that in order to defeat these pests, you will need to carry out more than one treatment.
Common spruce sawflies are small dark or yellow insects no more than 6 mm long, damaging mainly young trees, but they multiply massively on ten-thirty-year-old spruce trees, slowing down their growth, exposing the ends of the shoots and causing crown rounding. Young needles on trees infected with sawflies acquire a reddish-brown hue and stay on the tree for a long time without falling off. As a preventive measure, it is necessary to dig up the soil in the near-trunk circles and destroy the nests of pests, but if the plant is heavily infected, they resort to treating young larvae with insecticides, among which Actellik, BI-58, Decis and Fury have proven themselves well.
Spruce beetle makes holes in the bark of spruce, and if these insects colonize the whole tree, the spruce will die. Bark beetles are especially dangerous for decorative plant forms. The best drugs in the fight against bark beetles are Krona-Antip, Clipper, BI-58 and Bifentrin, but you need to keep in mind that it is very difficult to deal with this beetle.
Spruce needle beetle is a brown butterfly with a wingspan of 13-14 mm. The danger for spruce is its caterpillars of a light yellow-brown shade with two dark stripes along the back. If you find clusters of rusty needles on the shoots of spruce, connected by sparse delicate fibers, then this is the work of a needle beetle. Caterpillars mine spruce needles, making round holes in their base. With a slight lesion, the damaged shoots are cut and burned, and the tree is treated with a solution of green soap.
Spruce scale is protected by a smooth, shiny brown shell, so spraying spruce with insecticides is unlikely to work. The false shield lays about 3000 eggs under its shield, from which pinkish larvae emerge in July. Their food is spruce juice. As a result of the activity of the larvae, the ends of the shoots are bent and die off, the needles become shorter, turn brown and fall off. The growth of the whole plant is slowed down. In addition, fungi settle on the honeydew of false shields. Trees growing in the shade and on dry soils are especially affected by these pests. Proper agricultural practices and preventive treatments of young trees with insecticides can prevent infection of spruce with false shields, especially at the time when larvae appear from eggs.
In addition to the described pests, spruce-fir hermes, barbels, aphids can annoy spruce trees, and gray mold can also cause damage to the plant from diseases. It is worth saying that mainly weak and poorly developing plants that are grown in improper conditions, or those spruce trees that are poorly cared for, are affected by diseases and pests. Strong and healthy plants are quite resistant to both diseases and pests.
Propagation of spruce
Professionals can graft cuttings of ornamental spruce varieties onto frost-resistant rootstocks of other conifers. However, for amateur gardeners, the most affordable ways to propagate spruce are seed and cuttings.
Growing from seeds
Generative (seed) propagation of spruce is a long and laborious process, but for those who are not in a hurry and are not afraid of difficulties, it will be interesting to grow a Christmas tree from a seed.
Seed for sowing must be freshly harvested. They are obtained from ripe but not yet opened cones, which, in order to remove the seeds from them, must be dried. The extracted seeds are stratified before sowing: they are placed in dry sand or in a mixture of sand and peat and kept for at least 4-6 weeks in a refrigerator at a temperature of 2-3 ºC. Then, at the end of winter or the beginning of spring, the seeds are sown in the ground, the crops are placed in a warm, bright place and watered abundantly. As soon as sprouts appear, watering is slightly reduced. In the open ground, young Christmas trees are planted in the second year, and it is desirable that they immediately get to a permanent place.
Spruce seedlings grow very slowly, and in addition to pests and diseases, rain, sun and strong wind can be their enemies.
Propagation by cuttings
The best result is rooted cuttings in the spring, before the buds begin to swell on the trees. Shoots 6-10 cm long with branches of the second order are cut with a pruner, the cut is dipped in a growth stimulator solution for a couple of minutes, after which the cuttings are planted at an angle of 20-30 º in a substrate layer consisting of sand and fine perlite (3: 1) or sand with peat (3:1) and laid on top of a drainage layer 5 cm thick and a layer of soddy soil 10 cm thick. The cuttings are sprayed from a fine spray and covered with a transparent film cap to preserve moisture. The distance between the cuttings should be at least 5 cm, and the distance from the tops of the cuttings to the film should be at least 25-30 cm. It is best to spray not the cuttings, but the film in the future, and this should be done often. It is undesirable to humidify the air in the evening. Make sure that the temperature in the greenhouse does not rise above 25 ºC, otherwise the cuttings may burn out. To prevent this from happening, you need to make small holes in the film for ventilation. After the root system develops in the cuttings, they are seated for growing, and a year later they are planted in a permanent place.
Spruce in the winter at the site
Preparing for winter
When choosing spruce seedlings, you should purchase those that were grown in your region, and then there will be no problem with the winter hardiness of the trees. But exotic heat-loving crops can freeze in the very first snowless winter. Actually, the coniferous spruce tree is a fairly winter-hardy plant, except for such species as Brever's spruce and Oriental spruce, but even winter-hardy species of spruce need to be prepared for winter.
Before the first November frosts, it is necessary to carry out the last, water-charging watering: 2 buckets of water are poured under the fir tree below 1 m high, and from 3 to 5 buckets under the plants above 1 m. Irrigation is especially necessary for one-year-old and two-year-old seedlings with an undeveloped root system, conifers with poor winter hardiness and those trees whose crown was formed by pruning in the current season.
So that the young shoots of spruce do not die in winter, it is necessary to stop applying fertilizers containing nitrogen from August: this element provokes the rapid growth of green mass, and meanwhile in the fall the tree needs to direct all its efforts to the maturation of already formed shoots. You will help the plant if you add potassium-phosphorus fertilizers to its near-stem circle in September - they will accelerate the lignification of the branches and strengthen the root system.
A very important point in preparing spruce for winter is the warming of the soil in the near-stem circle with tree bark - this is the best material for mulching spruce for the winter. Under such a mulch, oxygen easily penetrates to the roots, while the bark does not prevent the evaporation of excess moisture, and the roots of the plant do not fade, as can happen under cover of leaves or sawdust. Adult spruces, as well as seedlings grown in a local nursery, do not need to mulch the root zone.
Spruce wintering in the garden
Winter brings a lot of unpleasant surprises that you will have to resist. If a winter with heavy snowfalls occurs, and wet snow settles on the spruce trees with a heavy load, this can cause skeletal branches to break and thin branches to break off. Do not try to shake the tree to shake off snowdrifts from it: the branches of the plant are so fragile at this time that they can crack. Remove snow from branches that you can reach with a brush or broom, moving from the end to the trunk. To clear snow from high-lying branches, wrap the end of the board with a soft cloth, pry each branch with this board and swing it up and down. Columnar or spherical crowns can be slightly pulled off with twine in the fall: the branches must be pulled tightly to the trunk, but in no case should they be squeezed. This measure will protect the branches from cracking.
In winter, with a sharp contrast between day and night temperatures, spruce branches can become covered with an ice crust, which, having a decent weight, can strongly tilt the spruce legs and lead to the formation of cracks. Substitute under the branches the props that you used in the summer to support the branches of fruit-bearing trees, and as soon as it gets warmer, the crust will melt and crawl by itself.
Trouble spruce can deliver a strong winter wind. It is not dangerous for undersized species, but it can uproot a tall Christmas tree. Stretching will help you minimize the risk: on four sides at the same distance from the spruce, you need to drive in strong stakes a little more than half the height of the tree. One end of the twine is tied to each of the stakes, and the other end is fixed on the tree trunk, having previously wrapped the trunk with a piece of roofing material. Since it is very difficult to drive stakes into frozen ground, you can do it in advance in the fall. Prudent owners do just that.
Types and varieties
There are about forty types of spruces, and many of them have a number of decorative forms.
Ayan spruce (Picea ajanensis)
Or Hokkaido spruce is an ancient species that naturally grows in the Far East. This is a slender tree 40-50 m high with a regular conical peaked crown, dark gray bark, smooth in youth and peeling off plates in adulthood. The shoots of this spruce are yellow-green, yellow-brown or pale yellow. The leaves of the Hokkaido spruce are flat needles up to 2 cm long, dark green above and bright gray below. Decorative and slightly glossy, light brown, oval-cylindrical spruce cones up to 6.5 cm long. The species has shade tolerance and winter hardiness, but is demanding on soil composition and does not tolerate marshy soil. The limiting age of Ayan spruce is 350 years. In culture, a subspecies of Hokkaido spruce is known - Honda spruce, less tall, more resistant to late spring frosts, with more swollen leaf pads and buds with a purple tint.
Brewera spruce (Picea breweriana)
Originates from North America. This tree is 20-25 m high, with a trunk 45-75 cm in diameter and weeping branches of the second order. The buds of plants of this species are resinous, fusiform or elliptical, young shoots are deeply furrowed, pubescent, red-brown, but with age they become silver-gray. The needles are flattened, 15-30 mm long, blunt at the top, green above, below - with white rows of stomata. Cones are narrow-cylindrical, 6-10 cm long, with a cut off upper edge and very thick scales that open wide when ripe. In European culture, this species is rare.
Oriental spruce (Picea orientalis)
One of the forest-forming species of the Caucasian forests, also growing in the northern countries of Asia Minor. Eastern spruce can reach 35-50 m in height, and 2 m in diameter. It has a dense and branched conical crown, brown or dark gray scaly bark. Young shoots are yellow-gray or reddish, densely pubescent, old ones are gray or light gray. The needles are short, tetrahedral, slightly flattened, blunt at the top, very shiny. Cones are fusiform-cylindrical, up to 10 cm long, purple, but with age they become light brown. The species was introduced into cultivation in 1837. Eastern spruce does not differ in special winter hardiness. The species has several decorative forms, of which such large varieties are most interesting for gardeners:
- Aurea (Aureaspicata) – spruce with a narrow conical crown and asymmetric drooping side branches. Plant height - 10-12 m, crown diameter - 4-6 m. On young shoots, the needles are light golden, but later it becomes dark green, hard and shiny;
- Earley Gold - a form similar to Aurea, but its needles do not turn green, but become greenish-yellow;
- Skylands (Aurea Compacta) is one of the most popular varieties of eastern spruce up to 11 m high with a pyramidal crown and short dense needles that do not change their golden hue throughout the year;
- Natenz is a tree up to 20 m high with a dense crown of weeping hanging branches. The needles are dense, short, hard, shiny, dark green. Young buds are purple but turn brown when mature.
Of the miniature forms of Oriental spruce, the following are interesting:
- Bergmanz Jam - a plant with dark green needles no more than 60 cm high with a crown diameter of 90 cm. At a young age, the spruce crown is elongated, then it becomes spherical, and then acquires pillow shape;
- Professor Lengner - herringbone up to 30 cm high and the same diameter with a very dense spherical crown and dark green short needles.
Korean spruce (Picea koraiensis)
A plant from the Far East and North Korea, protected in nature reserves. Korean spruce reaches a height of 30 m, it has a pyramidal crown with drooping branches, reddish-brown bark, yellow or brownish young shoots, which eventually acquire a reddish-brown color. The needles are relatively long - from 9up to 22 mm, green, oblong-ovate cones, 8-10 cm long. The species is promising for landscaping due to its high resistance to adverse environmental factors, however, planting and growing Korean spruce in the middle zone is still in the future.
Black spruce (Picea mariana)
Native to North America. This tree is 20-30 m high with a trunk girth of 30 to 90 cm. The crown is narrow, irregularly conical. The bark is scaly, fissured, thin, reddish or grayish brown. Young shoots are also reddish-brown, covered with glandular pubescence. The needles of this species are thinner than those of all other spruces, with stomatal lines on the upper side and a dark bluish-green underside. Cones are small, ovoid or spherical, purplish-brown when young, dull brown when mature. The plant has shade tolerance, winter hardiness, undemanding to the composition of the soil. It has been grown in Europe since 1700. In decorativeness, it is slightly inferior only to Canadian spruce. Such forms of black spruce are known:
- Baysnery is a cultivar up to 5 m high with the same crown diameter, silver-bluish needles. There is a compact variety - Baysnery Compacta, which grows no higher than 2 m;
- Doumeti is a winter-hardy plant up to 6 m high with a dense, wide-conical crown and numerous ascending branches. The needles are dense, light blue, the cones grow directly on the trunk;
- Kobold is a hybrid between the Doumeti form and Serbian spruce, reaching a height and width of 1 m. The crown is dense, spherical, dark green needles;
- Nana is a frost-resistant elegant dwarf form about 50 cm high with a rounded uniform crown and thin, light bluish-green needles.
Black spruce also has varieties Aurea, Erikoides, Empetroides and Pendula.
Norway spruce (Picea abies)
Or European spruce native to Europe. In height, this species can reach 50 m, although on average it does not grow above 35 m. The diameter of the trunk is 1-1.5 m. The bark is gray or reddish-brown, fissured or smooth, relatively thin. Shoots glabrous, rusty yellow or light brown, buds ovate-conical, light brown, needles 8 to 20 cm long, tetrahedral, pointed at the apex, shiny, dark green. The needles stay on the branches from 6 to 12 years. Cones oblong-ovate, 10-16 cm long, dark purple or light green at first, brown with age. European spruce lives up to 500 years, although the average age is 250-300 years. According to the types of branching, the forms of European spruce are divided into comb (branches of the first order are horizontal, and the second - thin, arranged in a comb and hanging down), irregularly comb (branches of the second order are arranged in a comb, but not quite correctly), compact (the branches of the first order are of medium length densely covered with branched branches of the second order), flat (first-order branches are widely branched in the horizontal direction), brush-like (first-order branches have short thick branches with brush-like hanging small branches). In addition to those described, the following forms of spruce are often grown in culture:
- Akrokona is a moderately frost-resistant variety bred in Finland, 2-3 m high, with a wide-conical crown 2-4 m in diameter. The bark is brownish, smooth, red-brown with age, rough. The needles are tetrahedral, pointed, dark green. Cones are large, cylindrical;
- Remonti is a short form up to 3 m high with a dense conical or ovoid crown. The buds are ovoid, orange, the needles are green;
- Pumila Glauka - a dwarf variety up to 1 m high with a rounded flattened crown with a diameter of 5-6 m and with overlapping shoots, slightly drooping at the top. The needles are dark green with a blue tint.
European spruce varieties Aurea, Aurea Magnifica, Berry, Clanbrassiliana, Columnaris, Compacta, Konika, Cranstoni, Kupressiana, Echiniformis, Krasnoplodnaya, Formanek, Gregoriana, Inversa, Little Jam, Maxwelli, Microfilla, Nana, Nidiformis, Olendorffi, Pyramidata, Pygmy, Procumbens, Pumila, Reflexa, Repens, Tabuliformis, Viminalis, Virgata, Will Zwerg and many others.
You can write a separate article about the types of spruce, but we can list some of the most popular ones.