What could be more romantic than meeting the New year and Christmas in the country. Warm cozy house, swept by snow, lights and fluffy beauty-spruce outside the window, which every year only prettier and can please more than one generation of owners. Let’s find out what coniferous tree in your garden will perfectly cope with the role of the main decoration of the holiday?
The variety of conifers is impressive, so as not to get confused and confused, we highlight the main criteria for “selection”. These tips will help you find in your garden (if it already grows conifers) or buy in the nursery the ideal candidate for Christmas trees.
The Christmas tree should be hardy. And if for dwarf conifers, buried under snow until spring, this question is not particularly relevant, for a high Christmas tree it is extremely important. Most of the known conifers are quite hardy, problems can arise only with firs, cypresses. Thuja occidentalis, despite the declared fifth zone of winter hardiness, perfectly tolerates the winters of the middle zone.
It should also be borne in mind that much depends on the specific conditions: from the nursery, where the planting material comes from, the place of planting, the age of the plant.
Therefore, it is recommended to shelter all young softwood plantings the first two winters, for which in late autumn (November) the root system is sprinkled with peat, dry leaves, sawdust (thickness 6-8 cm) or covered with spruce branches.
Second: resistance to winter precipitation
Christmas tree should be beautiful, so pay attention to the stability of the branches to winter precipitation-heavy snow, icy rain. Strong branches of firs and firs are able to withstand the load of winter precipitation, but pine shoots are quite fragile and, directed upwards, they deviate to the sides, the shape of the crown of the plant is distorted, and even there is a breakage of branches.
Thin, elegant shoots of columnar junipers and flat twigs of thuja are very affected by heavy rainfall, their crown is recommended to tie for the winter. This should be taken into account when choosing the latter for the role of a new year tree-the binding for the holidays will have to be removed, carefully shake off the branches in heavy snowfalls, and after the holidays-it is necessary to re-tie the plant. These are not the most successful candidates in the “Christmas tree”.
Third: exposure to pine needles burn
When young needles are at the mercy of too active spring sunlight, it can get burned. This indicator depends on many factors-the characteristics of the species and shape, site conditions, growing conditions in the nursery, etc. But it is still believed that the varieties Picea glauca, Thuja occidentalis, Chamaecyparis lawsoniana are more vulnerable.
This is not a reason to abandon the use of named plants as Christmas trees, because sunburn occurs in February-March, and after the holidays you will have time to cover the plant with a grid or put a shield of burlap on the Sunny side.
Fourth: requirements for growing conditions
Environmental conditions of the site (illumination, moisture level and soil fertility) must meet the requirements of the plant. It is desirable to choose the optimal place, as growing in conditions with which the plant can hardly tolerate, will lead to a loss of decorativeness.
Pines are light-loving, with Pinus mugo enduring light penumbra, and thuja, fir and Chamaecyparis lawsoniana are considered shade-tolerant, they can be placed in penumbra. Light penumbra endure and ate, but note that in shading the crown of the latter can thin and become less dense.
Silvery forms of all conifers are best planted in a well-lit place, where they will show maximum decorative effect, and with a lack of light they lose their luster and lightness, turning into a dusty gray.
All conifers (with the exception of most pines – they are drought-resistant) prefer well-drained and moderately moist soils with an average level of fertility.
Fifth: the appearance and shape of the crown
And although everyone has his own ideal, we will outline the main points that are important when choosing a Christmas tree:
- clear cone-shaped crown (low columnar is also allowed), lowered to the ground;
- green, bluish or silver needles;
- the height of the adult plant from 1.5 – 2 m to 10-12 m.
Such different “Christmas trees”
Each species of coniferous plants is inherent only to him alone characteristic appearance. Choose what you like. Bizarre crown texture of Thuja occidentalis ‘Holmstrup’ and Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Allumi’. Piercing upward-pointing branches of Juniperus virginiana ‘Glauca’ and Juniperus scopulorum ‘Skyrocket’ and ‘Moonglow’.
Dense, dense, as if piled from felt, crown Picea glauca ‘December’ and ‘ Sander’s Blue’ and tiered low-drooping crown Picea pungens.
Strong branches of pines – distinctly traced in two-coniferous (Pinus sylvestris ‘Fastigiata’) and hidden behind fluffy tufts of needles in five-coniferous (Pinus koraiensis ‘Glauca’, undersized Pinus cembra).
Resembling the shape of the crown Picea abies-Abies koreana ‘ Select’ and Abies lasiocarpa ‘Glauca’, but with softer broad needles and spectacular cones. Solemn, sculptural, clearly horizontal or vertically directed, with subtle carelessness or with a slight weeping, as in forest landscapes from fairy tales, they create a different mood and form a special appearance of the garden.
The color of the needles
Classic green needles with shades have emerald Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’, light green Picea abies ‘Emsland’, green Picea abies ‘Rothenhaus’, muted green Picea omorika ‘Zuckerhut’, pale green Abies koreana ‘Molli’; silver and bluish-Picea pungens ‘Oldenburg’, slightly matte-Picea pungens ‘Blue Trinket’, Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘blue surprise’, Abies concolor ‘violacea’, two-tone – abies Koreana ‘silberlocke’ and ‘Tordis’.
Some forms of conifers have a different color from the rest of the needles of young growth, which creates the illusion of lights, frost, sun glare in the crown of the plant.
When choosing a Christmas tree, be sure to find out the growth rate of the plant. Fast-growing coniferous in a relatively short time will reach the size of an adult tree. And if it is quite impressive, the plant, most likely, will not be able to perform the role of “Christmas tree”, which is easy to dress up.
However, within 5-10 years (depending on the original size when buying), a fast-growing plant (with an increase of about 20-25 cm per year) can be guaranteed to be a participant in your holiday.
Slow-growing forms have their undeniable advantages-more than one generation will be able to lead dances around such a Christmas tree, the plant is guaranteed not to cast a shadow on the neighbor’s plot.
Already when buying it is important to decide-either you buy a small plant and wait 6-8 years until it reaches a height of 1.2-1.5 m, or buy a ten-year-old specimen, but the price of the latter is many times higher than a young seedling.
Optimal, perhaps, will be considered the average growth rate (about 15 cm in height), characteristic of Picea pungens ‘Glauca Majestic Blue’, Pinus mugo ‘Rigi’, Picea abies ‘Cupressina’.
Note that at the time of purchase the tree, intended in the current season to become a Christmas tree, should be at least 1 m tall (taking into account the height of the snow cover). It can be quite small, but as long as it can be used as a new year’s, you will have to wait, how much depends on the growth rate of a particular plant.
The height of the snow cover by the end of December varies greatly, the last days of the outgoing year are even snowless. Clear the snow from the tree should not be (the root system of the plant can suffer from frost), you can only condense (which you will get during the decoration).
Now you know the main rules of choosing a live” Christmas tree ” for your garden and will be able to find the perfect one for yourself.
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