Evergreen conifers are one of the best options for creating a planned landscape with a minimum of time and effort to care in the future. Varieties of mountain pine are chosen most often by gardeners. Seedlings tolerate transplanting well, take root more easily than others, a huge tree will not grow from them, adult specimens are quite compact in size. Varieties of mountain pine differ in decorative properties, the shape of the crown, the color of the needles, but all are characterized by a common feature - unpretentiousness to environmental conditions. Mountain pine can grow in all regions except the Far North. It is able to survive on mountain slopes up to 2500 m high, even on the most meager soils. Consider one of the most popular varieties of mountain pine varieties among gardeners - “Gnome”.
This variety was bred in the Netherlands in 1890. Everyone knows that the gnome is a fabulous dwarf of small stature, hence the name of the variety. This is an evergreen multi-stemmed dwarf shrub. It grows slowly, grows by about 10 cm per year. In the early years, it grows in width, then active growth begins upward. By the age of 10, the bush will rise to 1 m in height and become about 1.5 m in diameter. The plant reaches its maximum height in only 40 years.
Propagated by the “Dwarf" seeds and cuttings. The seed method of breeding is considered the most acceptable and reliable, since the cuttings of conifers take root difficult, long and often unsuccessfully. The root system adapts to environmental conditions: on light soils it grows inland, on heavy stony soils it grows horizontally, close to the surface.
A dense crown from the dense branches of young gnomes "Gnome" is spherical, then grows to a dome-shaped, if it is not purposefully formed in a given shape. It easily tolerates pruning, so without any problems you can create the most original crown shape as designed by the designer. The needles are dark green, shiny, hard. Adult pines of this variety grow up to 2-2.5 m in height and 1.5-2 m in diameter. Mountain gnome pines live 150-200 years.
Mountain pine "Gnome" grows best in a bright sunny place with good lighting. It can grow in partial shade, but the decorativeness of the conifer will decrease. Pine is not very demanding on the substrate, it normally develops on any soil (acidic, alkaline, neutral, sandy, sandy loam, clay, rocky), but the best option is sandy and sandy loamy slightly acidic soil. It does not tolerate areas with stagnation of moisture and high occurrence of groundwater.
Most gardeners acquire planting material in specialized nurseries or in garden centers , since it is painstaking and long to grow seedlings from seeds or cuttings on their own, and the result will not always please success.
The optimal age of seedlings purchased in the garden center is 3-5 years. They take root well and are not very “small” in size. The best landing dates are early May and early September.
In the southern regions, autumn planting is recommended, and in the middle latitudes (Moscow region and north) it is better to plant in the spring. An important condition is that the earthen lump on the roots when removing the seedling from the container should be kept as much as possible, since the contact of the roots with open air is extremely undesirable: the symbiosis of the plant root system and the special microflora present on the roots is broken. This directly affects the survival of the seedling and can be detrimental to the plant.
A spacious pit is prepared for landing, exceeding the size of an earthen coma by 1.5-2 times. If you plan to create a "hedge" of several bushes, a trench is being prepared. When planting in a row, pines are planted at a distance of not less than 1.5 m. In the garden center, you can buy specially prepared soil mix for conifers, you can prepare it yourself from turf soil, coarse sand and clay (2: 2: 1) with the addition of 1 to each plant handfuls of a complete mineral complex (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium). It is good to bring the soil substrate from under the tree from the pine forest and mix it into the prepared soil, this is guaranteed to increase the survival rate of the seedling.
If the soil is heavy, it is necessary to lay on the bottom a drainage layer of expanded clay, fine pebbles, brick fragments (about 20 cm). Soil should be poured on the drainage so much that when planting the root neck is slightly higher than the extreme level of the soil. The soil will gradually sag slightly, and the root neck of the seedling will be at ground level. This is important since deepening is unacceptable. When planting, be sure to check this moment, “try on” the seedling and, if necessary, adjust the depth of planting (add drainage or add soil).
The seedling is installed vertically in the pit. It is more convenient to plant together, so that someone supports the plant in the correct position, and someone evenly, from all sides, fills the planting hole, avoiding voids and periodically compacting the earth. At the end of the procedure, the trunk circle is shed abundantly.
It is better to pour water under the bush in small portions, wait a little while the next portion is absorbed, and add more so that the water does not flow from the plant, but is evenly absorbed under the roots.
If healthy seedlings were purchased, a suitable place was chosen, planting in the soil was correctly carried out, then caring for the mountain pine “Gnome” will not cause much trouble. The tree will have to pay more attention in the first 2-3 years after planting. It is necessary to properly organize the basic elements of care, and the tree will develop normally without "surprises." In the future, one-time procedures will be required if necessary.
Immediately after planting under the bush you need to pour about 20 liters of water. Once a week for a month, you need to water the tree with 1 bucket of water so that the plant successfully adapts to the open ground. You can irrigate from a watering can on the crown to moisten the needles. Young pine trees need to be watered 3-4 times per season. Adult pines are drought tolerant and do not need to be watered, unless in a particularly dry season or in very hot weather.
Typically, plants have enough seasonal rainfall, they retain moisture well under a thick layer of fallen needles, which should not be removed from the trunk circle.
For intensive air access to the roots in spring, when the soil warms up, it is necessary to loosen the surface soil layer shallowly (not more than 8 cm) without touching the roots. Subsequently, with a strong compaction of the soil, slight loosening is allowed no more than 1 time per month, preferably after irrigation or rain. Year after year, a layer of coniferous litter will accumulate under the bush, and loosening will not be necessary.
The first feeding is carried out in the next season after planting. Under young bushes, complex mineral fertilizers or special fertilizers intended for conifers are introduced. Preparing an aqueous solution at the rate of 35-45 g of fertilizer per 1 square. square meter. The nutrient solution is introduced in the near-stem circle only after heavy irrigation or heavy rain.
Adult pines do not need additional nutrition, they themselves provide themselves with additional nutrition from fallen coniferous litter.
This procedure is not mandatory for the mountain gnome and is carried out at the request of the gardener to form a crown of a given shape or, if necessary, for sanitary purposes. In the first 2-3 years, it is not recommended to trim young pines, so that they grow and grow better. The crown is formed by annual pinching of young shoots (“candles”), shortening them by 2-7 cm. After pinching, several new twigs grow on the cut site, the density and splendor of the crown increase, the decorativeness of the tree increases.
Do not simultaneously shorten all tiers of branches. You need to know that you can’t trim growths too low, as this can lead to deformation of growth buds and stop their development.
Mountain pine "Gnome" - a frost-resistant variety of conifer. Pine has a unique feature - a thickened bark at the butt of the trunk. Adult plants calmly tolerate frosts to -35 degrees. But young bushes of the first years of life need shelter for the winter. Snow caps also pose a threat to fragile branches; they can break under the weight of snow. Above the bushes, you can install plastic arcs and put on special covers made of agrotextile (sold in garden centers). You can even cover the trees without arcs with rare burlap, covering material, scribble coniferous spruce branches and bandage the bushes with a twine. In the spring, as soon as the ground thaws, it is necessary to remove the shelter in time in order to prevent the bushes from heating up and the development of fungal diseases.
The state of plantings must be constantly monitored. The mountain pine “Gnome” has few natural “enemies”. These are fungal lesions: bladder rust, Schütte disease, cortical necrosis. From the occurrence of these diseases before wintering, the bushes are sprayed with fungicides and copper-containing preparations (for example, copper sulfate solution). You can get rid of insect pests (aphid, sawfly, worm, spider mite) with folk remedies (manual collection, soap solution, infusion of tobacco and insecticidal herbs), but modern insecticides are much more effective (Karbofos, Decis, Actellik ").
Use in landscape design
Today, various creative solutions of phytodesigners are created from mountain pines: hedges, mix boarders, rock gardens, rockeries, rocky and heather gardens, container plantings in city parks and squares. The ideal "neighbors" of mountain pines are conifers of other species: spruce, thuja, juniper. Shrubs harmoniously fit into the rocky structures of modern phytodesign - rockeries, reviving the evergreen crown of the harsh beauty of stones.
Mountain pine without any hassle in growing can become one of the main decorations of the garden, successfully accentuate decorative foliage and flowering perennials, saturate the surrounding air with the healing resinous aroma of essential oils and for many years delight the amazing beauty of the owners of the site and their neighbors.
Overview of mountain pine "Gnome" in the video below.