More and more owners of private houses, summer cottages plant on their territory not only fruit trees, but also conifers. The reasons may be different:
- to refine their possessions;
- grow a hedge;
- create a shaded place to relax;
- when landing under windows on the sunny side - protect the room from sunlight;
- improve air quality (conifers produce a large number of volatile, useful for the respiratory system);
- use the tree as a New Year’s beauty, so do not buy a Christmas tree in the house;
- admire the green crown not only in summer but also in winter for decades.
But if you hope that in a year a teenage tree will grow out of a small Christmas tree, then these are vain hopes. But how to accelerate the growth of the green beauty or subsequently suspend - our article will tell.
What affects the development of spruce?
First, pay attention to the fact that two seedlings purchased simultaneously, but planted in different areas or even in opposite corners of the same area, will grow in different ways. It all depends on the growing conditions, which include many factors.
- Quality and growing conditions of planting material.
- The quality of the earth - the Christmas tree can grow even on soil depleted in microelements, but only without stagnation of water. In particularly rainy weather, you will have to make grooves - drainage so that the roots of the tree do not rot.
- Illumination - the myth that coniferous shade-loving plants remains a myth. On the sunny side, the needles will acquire bright colors. And in the absence of good lighting, blue spruce, for example, will turn into ordinary green. The lack of light will affect the form - the tree will stretch upward, losing decorativeness.
- Watering. Despite the fact that the seedling does not relate well to overflow, it is necessary to water the plant dosed regularly.
- Winds blowing constantly in the same direction (for example, from the sea) can significantly affect the development of spruce - to bare one side of the tree, bend its branches.
- The absence of top dressing will affect the growth rate, the shape of the plant and the color of the needles. The stores sell special soils and fertilizers for conifers.
- Antifungal (fungicidal) and insecticidal treatment in the form of spraying and pollination.
- A protective barrier in the form of a metal mesh, a wooden cone, natural covering material (canvas, burlap) will help protect the tree from animal encroachments, and in winter will save young fragile twigs from excess snow.
Thus, in order for the Christmas tree to turn into a beautiful spruce, it is necessary to take into account abiotic (inanimate nature), biotic (wildlife) and anthropogenic (human) factors that influence the seedling growth.
The main stages of growth
Landscape designers love spruce for its decorative effect. This also applies to ordinary spruce, Canadian or Serbian. Species and varieties differ not only in color (saturated green, blue spruce, black), but also in growth. Moreover, it can be either a hybrid or varietal version - a dwarf form of ordinary spruce, or the result of the designer’s work on the formation of the crown. Thanks to selection, there are slow-growing and fast-growing varieties.
But they all go through similar stages of growth. Up to 10 years, the tree grows very slowly. At the age of 5, the Christmas tree grows to only 50 cm with a crown diameter of 30 cm. And only at the age of 10 the active annual growth begins at the tree - 30-50 cm per year. The table below shows the course of growth of spruce in comparison with pine.
It is clear that the growth rate under different conditions will vary, therefore, the data in different sources will be different.
But the older the tree, the more it tends to go up: an adult fast-growing spruce can add up to 1 m of growth per year. The average life span of common spruce is 250-300 years. During this time, a small Christmas tree will turn into a 50-meter huge. This is comparable to a 16-story building.
Not every size fits this size. Therefore, many choose dwarf varieties that do not grow so fast (3-5 cm per year), but are very decorative.
How to speed up the process?
But there are those who would like to see an adult spruce on their plot as quickly as possible. In this case, it is worth choosing varieties of fast-growing trees. These include seedlings that grow actively in the first years after planting, and then growth slows down.
The most popular variety of fast-growing spruce is Serbian spruce.
There are rules that promote the accelerated growth of trees.
- Do not buy large seedlings. The larger the seedling (2.5-3 m), the longer it will get used to the new conditions, that is, get sick. As a result, a nearby planted meter tree can overtake its overgrown neighbor.
- Conifers are planted in the spring. The landing site should be sunny. But the needles are afraid of the active spring sun, so young seedlings recommend covering the heat from spring until the recession with natural light fabrics to protect the tree from burns. Or use the drug from sunburn needles "Ecoberin". In the spring, as soon as it is possible to approach the Christmas tree, it is sprayed with a solution that consists of 2 grains of the drug, carefully dissolved in 100 ml of water. After dissolution, the concentrate is adjusted to 1 liter of water and applied to the needles.
- In the period of active growth, Christmas trees need regular weekly watering. But, in order to avoid an excess of moisture, it is recommended to check the soil moisture before each watering by slightly turning the soil over.
- The tree absorbs moisture and nutrients not through large roots, but through root hairs, which are very numerous in spruces. On the one hand, for the accelerated entry of fertilizing into the root system, the earth must be loose. On the other hand, 80% of seedling growth problems are due to the fact that root hairs were accidentally chopped off during digging the soil. Naturally, in this case, plant growth slows down. The tree really needs cultivation, but it must be done extremely carefully.
- In order to rid the seedling from competitors of moisture consumption and top dressing, as well as to free the root system from unwanted interference, it is necessary to regularly remove weeds around the trunk at a distance of about 1 m. Fallen leaves and needles help to avoid unwanted competitors in the forest. In the garden, this role can be performed by mulch: it will protect against excessive evaporation, weeds, and temperature changes. It also provides nutrients to organic matter. You can mulch with straw, chopped leaves, wood chips, bark, needles, ready-made compost. But between the layer of mulch and the trunk there must be a distance of several centimeters in order to reduce the unnecessary moisture of the bark.
- Any damage to the bark will cause the tree to spend energy on fighting the wound. And that means - to grow more slowly. If rodents, dogs, rabbits, roe deer feel at ease on the site, then the trunk must be protected (net, roofing material, plastic, burlap). This is especially important in the winter, when hungry animals seek food for themselves. But during the formation of the crown, branches are also damaged. Any cut or wound must be treated with garden var. If traces of decay are noticed, then such branches must be cut off.
- Already in the nursery seedlings will receive the first portion of growth accelerators. Such stimulants will help the plant to better adapt to a new place, and start its active vegetation. For better rooting, for example, “Kornevin” is used. The next top dressing is carried out not earlier than a month after transplantation. And then, until August, every two weeks, foliar top dressing (watering the plant from above) is performed with chelated fertilizer complexes. It is enough to apply other types of complex fertilizers once a season, for example, Bona Forte "Coniferous". Autumn top dressing is carried out by means labeled “autumn”.
How to stop?
Having grown a tree to a certain height, home or professional designers often wonder about how to limit the growth of spruce, preserving its decorativeness.
Even if a tree, once dug in the forest, grows on your site, you can refine it with regular pruning. But you need to do this annually, without waiting for the top and branches to become lignified.
When using the option of "cutting" the tops to stop growing in height, an adult tree will look ugly. Instead of a single crown, several will grow up who will try to take a dominant position in crooked ways.
Cutting the lateral branches will expose the branches, since the closer to the trunk, the less needles on the branches. And new buds do not grow here.
To give the desired shape to the plant and limit growth, you need to carefully monitor the new shoots. In the spring they are actively embarking on growth. They need not be cut, but carefully torn off, twisting out of the sinus. This method is called pinching. In spring, young twigs are very soft, and removing them without a tool will not be difficult. The same method is used when forming a bonsai-style crown. The tools will not work here - only manual work with each branch.
Using the second method - haircuts with a manual or electric secateurs, you can create live spruce figures: a ball, cone or square. To use this method, you need to get a good tool so as not to crush the branches, namely: cut. The usual sanitary haircut in order to maintain the available height is carried out at the end of summer, before the onset of dormancy. In this case, the slices have time to tighten before the onset of frost.
The shoots are cut to one or two from the total length so that the green mass from the whole tree is reduced by no more than 1/3.
If there is a need for spring pruning, then this should be done in early spring before the time of bud growth. Subject to all recommendations, the Christmas tree will have the height and shape that is desirable for you. And delight you with its beauty all year round. And in winter, decorated with New Year's lights and balls, it will create a better mood for the time of fulfillment of a wish.
On the growth of conifers, see below.