The Balkan pine, also called Rumelian pine, was first discovered by the German botanist and the author of numerous works on the geography and systematization of plants by August Grisebach. The evergreen tree of this species is distinguished by its high height, slender beautiful crown of a pyramidal shape. It is often used in landscape design of parks, squares and private gardens.
The place of growth of the Rumelian pine is a mountainous region of the Balkan Peninsula.
At home, you can grow a tree up to 20–25 m high, since in a year it adds up to 30 cm in growth.
In natural conditions, it reaches 40 m and lives about 200 years. Rumelian pine has external features.
- The tree has a dense dense crown in the form of a skittle of young plants, an umbrella shape is characteristic of adult pines.
- The lower branches begin almost near the ground at the very bottom of the trunk. As a rule, these are thick naked branches located horizontally. In the upper part of the pyramidal crown, shoots grow up. The branches located in the middle of the trunk begin to grow horizontally, but later also tend to grow vertically.
- Young pine trees have a brown or gray-brown smooth bark, in contrast to the reddish lamellar, covered with tubercles in old trees.
- The needles are rigid, grayish-green, 3-sided, pointed at the ends, grow in bunches.
- Every year, the plant increases in width by 10-15 cm.
- A tree can bloom already 10 years or 2 years later. The flowers of the plant are pointed egg-shaped buds.
- The length of the cones with short cuttings is 8–18 cm, the width is 4 cm. They mature 18 months after pollination and are brown in color. 1–4 pieces grow. The size of the seeds is 5–7 cm.
Sometimes a plant, as it grows, can take the form of a column. It is known that in the natural environment there are multi-stemmed pines, which can be perceived as a shrub, only too large.
The thing is that the seeds of the Balkan pine take root well, they have an incredibly high germination rate: 70–90%.
The coniferous culture is unpretentious, drought-resistant and tolerates the presence of a small shadow. The tree is adapted to the conditions of the city, it is considered a park ornamental plant and is grown for landscaping in many countries. The main purpose is single and group landings. In central Russia, the plant feels quite comfortable, is not afraid of low temperatures, with the exception of winter periods with severe frosts.
Macedonian pine grows on any soil, including rocky. But for her it is better to choose a sunny place in areas with moderately fertile soil, well-drained, with a low alkali content and high acidity.
For planting, seedlings with an earthen lump are purchased directly in containers. On the territory of a country house, it is better to plant one tree or several seedlings in different places so that they do not obscure each other. If you need to plant 2 trees side by side, they keep a distance of 4 m between them. Adult plants can be planted in a constant place all fall and winter, and container pines are planted in spring. Agricultural work is carried out in a certain order.
- A substrate is prepared in advance for the seedling: turf soil, sand and a little gravel are added to chernozem. If there is a need to optimize the composition, lime and clay can be mixed into the soil.
- The landing pit has a depth of about 1 meter, in width it should be 1.5 times the size of an earthen coma.
- A drainage layer of crushed stone and gravel 20 cm thick is laid at the bottom of the moat.
- A little organic matter, compost and fertilizer - Superphosphate (150 g) should be added to the soil.
- The soil mixture is placed on top of 2/3 of the volume of the hole and is watered abundantly.
After 2 weeks, you can plant a seedling:
- before planting, part of the earth is removed from the pit;
- the pine is lowered into it in the center, spreading the roots and making sure that the root neck of the plant is in line with the ground surface;
- after that, holding a seedling, carefully pour soil, and, slightly tamping, make a side;
- watering the trunk circle, you must wait until the water is absorbed;
- after that, the ground is covered with a mulch layer of 5 cm or more.
Other plants are reluctant to grow next to the Balkan pine, but berry bushes such as gooseberries and currants can be planted near it - they will definitely take root.
Many consider the plant unpretentious in maintenance, however, all agricultural processes associated with the care of the Rumelian pine should occur in a timely manner. Caring for your crop includes several important points.
It is especially important for planted plants and should be regular to prevent drying of the earth, otherwise the root system will form slowly, which means that the plant will not grow as fast as we would like.
The tree, unlike other conifers, is hygrophilous, therefore it will need to be watered in the future, but not so often.
Adult pines are irrigated once a month in the spring in the absence of rain, and in hot weather - 2 times in 30 days. Even in autumn, one should not forget about the moistening of the soil of the near-trunk circle.
Young, recently planted plants, mulch is constantly poured into the ground space beneath them. This is necessary to protect the pine from insect pests. Such work is carried out on the eve of winter, because, despite the winter hardiness, young pine trees are exposed to the negative effects of the sun and cold.
Lapnik is usually used as mulch, but dark agrofibre or burlap is also suitable.
Other materials - nutshell, granite and marble chips, sawdust, wood chips, any wood waste. But first of all, it is a pine bark, prophylactically treated for any diseases and harmful insects. All these types of mulch will protect the young pine and at the same time look natural and organic on the territory of a private house.
This is an obligatory action for seedlings, which is carried out during the year after the planting of young plants, and also captures half of the next season. After the complete formation of the roots, you can do only with mulching.
This is an important point in growing an evergreen tree. Top dressing is necessary so that the pine has a beautiful and dense crown. In spring, complex mineral compositions for coniferous species containing a high concentration of nitrogen are used.
The soil is loosened, 150-200 g of humus per 1 sq. M are added to it. m and nitrogen in an amount of 40 g, followed by watering.
In October, a tree needs fertilizer with products including potassium and phosphorus. Preparations such as Zircon and Epin are necessary if the soil is poor in composition: they help stimulate plant growth and development, support and restore the vitality of weakened pine trees.
The procedure provides for 2 types of work.
- The necessary elimination of diseased, dry and damaged branches, which is carried out during the period from spring to late autumn.
- Creating a more attractive and dense pyramidal crown, for which pruning is carried out a year after planting. You can remove only 1/3 of the part or half of the increase so that the remaining needles are enough.
It is recommended to pinch young shoots in the spring after the cessation of enhanced growth, when the needles have not yet fallen from the branches.
There is no need for disinfection - you don’t need to cover cut sections, as the tree will cure itself by releasing tarry substances.
Preventive treatment for diseases and pests
The Balkan pine is rarely ill, but it is better to protect it from unexpected diseases and parasites.
For prevention purposes, the tree can be treated with any medium containing copper.
And also we must not forget about the removal of affected branches. Fallen needles need to be cleaned in a timely manner. In relation to insects, you can act using special biological preparations that will not harm the pine tree, but scare away pests.
How to propagate?
The plant does not cuttings, it can be propagated only by seeds, but, unfortunately, only a small percentage of seedlings can inherit the genus of a real Macedonian pine. Since the seeds of the plant have amazing vitality, in any case, you can grow a beautiful tree, but not the fact that it will be the right kind.
A similar method is available to every gardener, and sowing is quite simple, of course, without going through stratification - hardening of future seedlings.
The procedure is carried out for 3 months, during which the seeds are in conditions of artificial cold at a temperature of from -2 to -7 °.
The Balkan pine is not only beautiful, but also useful, as it cleans the airspace around it. For those who care about her, she gives shade, freshness, coolness on a hot day and the healing esters of her resin, which protect against diseases.
About the Rumeliya pine, see below.