Coniferous trees, often used as hedges, grow in the northern regions of Russia. They create a festive New Year mood all year round. This is Siberian fir.
General specifications and brief description
Siberian fir is a coniferous tree reaching 30 meters in height with a crown diameter of up to 10 meters. Belongs to the pine family. The growth rate is low: no more than 10 m grows by the age of 25.
Fir is a long-lived, she lives up to three hundred years. Trees have a conical crown with a sharp crown. In the first 10 years of life, Siberian firs grow rapidly mainly in breadth, and then begin to grow vertically. In moist, heavy soils, the roots are shallow, and in loose soil, the core root, along with the lateral ones, goes deeper in search of moisture.
The bark of fir is thin and smooth, dark gray in color. There are thickenings on it - nodules filled with liquid. It is called fir balsam or resin. It is used in the medical and cosmetic industries.
In the wood itself, fir does not have resin. But the kidneys of the Siberian fir, unlike its southerners, are abundantly covered with a thick tar coating to protect against severe northern frosts.
The needles of Siberian fir are soft, rounded at the ends, pleasant to the touch, up to three centimeters long. On top they are saturated green, and below - a little lighter, have two light silver stripes. Each of them lives no more than ten years, after dying off, scars remain on the branch.
Siberian fir is a monoecious evergreen tree. Male organs are yellow spikelets with pollen grains having air sacs. Thanks to these flying devices, pollen is carried over very long distances by wind.
Female organs are purple cones. Their sizes range from 7 to 10 cm. Scales with seeds are arranged in a spiral. As the seeds ripen, the cones change color to brown.
Unlike other conifers, cones of Siberian fir do not crumble completely. As they ripen, only flakes with seeds fly around, and the stems of the cones remain on the branches. And hold on for a very long time. At this time, fir seemed to be decorated with Christmas candles.
All Siberian firs are characterized by high frost resistance, shade tolerance, but at the same time they are extremely sensitive to a polluted atmosphere and demanding on the composition of the soil.
There are several decorative species of Siberian fir, different in color.
- “Glauka” - has a blue color of needles, which makes the tree unusually beautiful. Fir is very hardy, hardy.
- "Alba" - distributed in Europe. Decorative due to the regular conical shape of the crown. The needles are dark green with white stripes on the bottom. Green cones gradually turning brown. “Alba” can freeze at very low temperatures.
- “Variegata” - differs in originally painted needles. Along with green, white or yellow needles grow on the branches of this fir. The tree looks very elegant. “Variegata” likes to grow in well-lit places, it is sensitive to severe frosts, gas pollution.
- "Elegance" has silver needles. Fir is demanding on the composition of the soil, loves heat.
Features of landing and rules of care
In order for the Siberian fir to show itself in all its glory on your site, it is necessary to provide it with proper care: a suitable place, watering, pruning, preparation for wintering.
Siberian fir can be planted only far from the roads, as it does not withstand gas contamination and dusty air. The tree can grow both on a sunny site, and in partial shade. But a young seedling is better to shade from the bright sun.
The soil for planting should be loamy and moderately moist. The content of lime and humus in it will benefit the plant.
Planting time depends on the age of the seedling. Young, with a closed root system can be planted from spring to autumn. Trees older than five years old will be able to transfer the transplant only in early spring (immediately after the snow melts) or in early autumn.
Like any plant, it is advisable to plant fir in cloudy weather. Preparation for landing should begin in two weeks. And it consists in certain stages.
- First you have to dig a landing hole. Its depth will depend on the size of the root system of the seedling. Water the place of future planting (at least two buckets of water). At the bottom of the pit lay a drainage layer of expanded clay, broken brick or rubble.
- Prepare the soil. To do this, mix one part of sand and peat, two parts of clay and three parts of humus. Such an earthen mixture will be breathable and at the same time will retain moisture well. Since Siberian fir loves calcareous soils, you can add a glass of lime. Such a mixture must be filled in the middle of the pit for planting and left to infuse.
- After two weeks, you need to carefully plant a fir seedling in the center of the fossa, straightening the roots and not deepening the root neck.
- A young plant must be abundantly watered and prilled. So that the soil does not quickly dry out and the roots do not overheat, it is best to mulch the surface of the soil with dry grass, wood chips or sawdust. The mulch should not touch the neck of the root.
- A planted tree can often not be watered, as Siberian fir reacts negatively to waterlogging of the soil. For good development, it needs enough moisture from melting snow and rain. This is a great advantage compared to other conifers.
- Further care of the tree is timely weeding and cultivation. It is not necessary to feed fir in the first three years after planting. Starting from the fourth year, you can use any fertilizer for conifers.
- Siberian fir has a very beautiful crown, so you do not need to trim it regularly. You can only occasionally carry out forming pruning and remove dried branches in the spring.
- In the first year after planting, fir seedlings require shelter for the winter. This can be done with a spunbond, spruce branch or burlap stuffed with straw. The grown trees tolerate negative temperatures well and no longer need shelter.
Propagate fir is very easy for yourself. This can be done in three ways: cuttings, seeds and cuttings. Consider all of these methods.
Propagation by layering
If the lower branches of the Siberian fir are adjacent to the ground, then they themselves take root and young plantlets form. They can be completely detached from the mother tree.
Propagation by cuttings
This option can be applied in early spring before the start of sap flow. From the tree you need to pick up the cuttings. For this, only young shoots 5-10 cm long are selected. The branches are not cut, but break out with a small amount of bark and wood, the so-called “heel”. At the end of the shoot, a growth kidney must be present. Torn cuttings must be kept for 15-30 minutes in a weak solution of potassium permanganate.
At this time, you need to prepare an earthen mixture for rooting: mix sand, humus and garden soil in equal proportions. Fill the container with this soil and plant cuttings there.
To create the necessary microclimate, seedlings should be covered, you can use an inverted glass jar, a plastic bottle, a plastic bag worn on sticks stuck in the ground, etc. The walls of the greenhouse should not touch the needles to prevent them from decaying. A container with seedlings should stand in a warm place, for example, near a battery in a bright place, but not in direct sunlight.
The process of rooting cuttings is very long: the roots will appear only in the second year. All this time it is necessary to carefully take care of the planting: moisten, ventilate, take it out in the spring, and take it to the room in the fall. When the seedlings take root, they can be planted in a permanent place.
Like most plants, Siberian fir does not retain varietal traits when propagated by seeds. So this method can be used when you need to get a large number of seedlings, no matter what variety. Fir seeds can be bought, but you can collect them yourself. If you decide to collect the seeds yourself, then you need to pick cones from the tree slightly unripe. After drying, manually remove the seeds. Then they are stratified. To do this, the seeds are mixed with wet sand and refrigerated until spring.
In April a plot for sowing is being prepared: weeds are removed, they are dug up, the surface is leveled. Then they make grooves with a depth of 2-3 centimeters and sow fir seeds in them at a small distance from each other. From above they fall asleep with soil. Since the sowing was carried out in the still moist earth, then it is not necessary to water immediately. But you need to cover the crops with a film to maintain the desired humidity.
In the future, easy watering and ventilation are required. In a month gentle fir sprouts will appear. Shelter must be removed immediately, continue watering, avoiding excessive moisture, weed and loosen the soil, being careful not to damage the roots of plants. After three to four years, fir seedlings can be planted in a permanent place.
Diseases and Pests
In general, fir is a rather unpretentious plant, but it is also affected by various diseases and pests. Let us dwell on some of them.
- Rust. On the underside of the needles a “rusty” coating forms, caused by the settlement of the fungus. Plants weaken, take an unsightly appearance. To combat it, it is necessary to spray fir with copper-containing preparations and apply potassium-phosphorus fertilizers to the soil.
- Rust cancer. On infected branches of fir, herpes zoster (cancerous tumors) forms. Affected branches should be removed immediately. And if the cancer has passed to the trunk of a fir, then such a tree is subject to complete destruction in order to avoid infection of other plants.
- Fusarium A disease that infects the roots of a tree and then spreads throughout the plant throughout the vessels. Most often occurs on heavy moist soils. On fir needles becomes brown, and then completely falls off. To help the plant, you need to provide air access to the roots. To do this, you can drive a tube into the trunk circle. Be sure to ensure that the root neck is not deepened. If the tree is young, you can transplant it, having prepared a landing pit according to all the rules.
- Brown shute. Fungal disease, aggravated by increased humidity and crowding. The fungus develops under the snow. In the spring, the needles turn brown and blacken, but do not crumble for a long time, glued together with mycelium. By the fall, black growths are formed - fruiting bodies. Control measures: to accelerate the melting of snow in the spring, in the late autumn, before the snow falls, treat with fungicides.
- Bacterial dropsy. Fir needles gradually change color from yellow to gray. Slots form in the trunk through which the liquid oozes an unpleasant odor. Cancer ulcers and growths form. Fir trees weaken, wood becomes loose and watery, the wind easily breaks such trees. The infected plant is not treated, is subject to immediate destruction.
In addition to diseases, fir is attacked by pests that damage the needles, cones, bark, and trunks. These are hermes, spider mites, fir moths and leaf moths, pine cones, nutcracker beetles, black fir barbel, and bark beetles. All these insects cause irreparable harm to fir. We will tell you more about each of these pests.
- Hermes is a species of aphid that attacks coniferous trees. These insects suck the juice of the plant. The needles turn yellow, dries up, young shoots are bent, the tree weakens, its decorative effect is lost. A sticky fluffy white coating forms on the underside of the needles. You can defeat pests. To do this, you need to provide increased air humidity by spraying a tree with water from a spray bottle and washing off insects.
Trim the damaged ends of the shoots and treat the tree, as well as nearby anthills with insecticides.
- Spider mite - arachnid, affecting fir in dry, hot weather. It sucks the juice, piercing the lower side of the needles and braids them with the thinnest cobweb. To prevent the occurrence of a tick, it is necessary to arrange fir fir showers in dry times, thereby increasing air humidity.
If the tick has already appeared - treat the tree with acaricides.
- Fir moth butterfly laying eggs in the bark of the trunk and branches in late spring and early summer. In mid-June, black caterpillars appear from them, which later change color to match the needles. These gluttonous caterpillars entirely eat fir needles. And at the end of summer they go down on cobwebs and burrow into the soil under the tree, pupating there. In the spring of moths, moths reappear.
To combat the caterpillars in late autumn, dig around the trunk circles and destroy the pupae. In the summer, spray the caterpillars with insecticides.
- Fir leaflet is a small butterfly, whose caterpillars eat young shoots of fir. They turn into a chrysalis on branches, braiding themselves with a cocoon from a web.
Control measures: spring treatment of young fir shoots with insecticides.
- A pine cone is a butterfly whose mass flight can be seen in the evenings from early to mid-summer. Its caterpillars cause enormous damage to the seeds of Siberian fir. They gnaw passages in cones and eat seeds.
You can only fight with insecticides, treating the trees when the caterpillars appear on the surface.
- Nutcracker beetles - huge damage to plants is caused by their long yellowish very hard larvae, which are popularly called wireworms. They gnaw the roots of the fir, as a result of which the tree weakens, whole branches dry out. The wireworm loves acidic soil with stagnant moisture.
To protect fir from wireworm invasion, these larvae can be manually removed from the ground. And if there are a lot of them, then it is necessary to introduce contact-intestinal insecticides into the soil.
- Black fir barbel - attacks weakened trees. The beetle itself nibbles young bark on the shoots of fir, as a result of which the needles turn orange, then dries. Barbel larvae feed on the bast and gnaw passages to the center of the trunk.
Control measures: to attract birds to the garden, especially willingly, beetle larvae hollow out and eat woodpeckers.
- Printing bark beetles - like barbel, damage weak and sick firs. The male bark beetle gnaws a passage in the cortex and sets up a mating chamber, where the female calls the pheromones. After mating, the female gnaws the course and lays eggs in it. The tree weakens and dries even more.
To combat, remove damaged sections of the cortex and burn them together with eggs or larvae of printers. In the fall, traps are laid out - pieces of wood with bark, in the spring, when the bark beetles breed in it, they are burned along with pests.
Use in landscape design
Siberian fir is very decorative. The color of its needles varies from dark green to white and golden, and the cones from purple to purple. Fir is used both in single plantings against a background of stunted flowering plants and low trees (birches, maples, junipers, barberries), and in group plants, planting trees 2-3 meters apart. If the suburban area is large, then Siberian fir can be limited to the alley or planted in groups in a checkerboard pattern.
The hedge of fir looks amazing. In some European countries, decorative and deciduous varieties of fir are used as a New Year tree.
Siberian fir is the real queen among coniferous trees.
On the beneficial properties and application of Siberian fir, see the next video.