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Whole-leaved fir - belongs to the genus Fir. It has several synonymous names - Black Fir Manchurian or abbreviated Black Fir. The ancestors of the tree brought to Russia are fir: strong, equally scaled, Kawakami. These varieties are common in India, China, Japan and Taiwan.
Description of whole-leaved fir
Black fir belongs to evergreen large trees, reaching a height of 45–55 m. The girth of trees (diameter) ranges from 1 to 2 m. This is one of the largest conifers in the Far East.
The crown of the whole-leaved fir (pictured) is dense, very wide. The shape is conical, the lower branches can go down to the very ground.
In young seedlings, the bark is flaky, painted in a grayish-brown shade. In old trees, the bark is dark, thick, rough, streaked with deep longitudinal and transverse cracks. The bark of annual shoots is distinguished by an interesting, ocher color, sometimes the shade varies from yellowish to gray-yellow.
The red-brown buds are egg-shaped. The length of the buds is from 7 to 10 mm, the width does not exceed 5 mm.
The trees are covered with light green needles, which are 20–45 mm long and 2–3 mm wide. The needles are tough, unbranched at the ends, hence the corresponding name - whole-leaved.
Microstrobilis (anther spikelets) have an oval shape, the length does not exceed 8 mm, the width is 2 times less - up to 4 mm.
The cones are cylindrical, 70–120 mm long, and up to 40 mm in diameter. Light brown cones are located vertically (upward) on the shoots. The cones contain wedge-oval seeds with an elongated wing (up to 12 mm). The color of the seeds is brownish-buffy, the size is 8x5 mm.
According to various sources, the life span of black fir is from 250 to 450 years.
The tree belongs to winter-hardy, shade-tolerant and wind-resistant specimens. Can grow in well-lit areas. The culture is demanding on the quality of the soil, it does not tolerate the polluted city air.
Whole-leaved fir in landscape design
Since 1905, black fir has been used for landscaping and is actively used in park construction. It is grown as an ornamental tree on private estates.
It must be borne in mind that the tree is tall, so it can create inconvenience when growing in a small garden area.
The first 10 years the seedling grows very slowly, then the growth increases. Trees that have lost their decorative appeal are removed from the site, replacing them with new seedlings.
Planting and caring for black fir
In order for the seedling to begin and delight with green needles, it is necessary to follow the rules for planting and caring for black fir.
In a city with highly polluted air, a seedling rarely takes root, therefore it is better to plant a tree in suburban areas, dachas.
Seedling and planting plot preparation
Whole-leaved fir is demanding on growing conditions, especially on soil and air moisture. The seedling grows well in well-drained fertile soils. The acidity index should be in the range of 6-7.5 pH, that is, the soil should be neutral or slightly alkaline. It is best if there is loamy soil in the area allocated for planting.
For planting, choose a gentle area in the north or northwest of the territory. When choosing a black fir seedling, you need to pay attention to the following:
- it is best to purchase a tree for planting from trusted suppliers, so the likelihood that a seedling will be accepted is much higher than from specimens purchased on the market;
- the age of the ephedra is at least 5 years, since younger specimens do not tolerate changing growing conditions and often die;
- it is better to buy seedlings with a closed root system. They tolerate transplanting more easily and are quickly accepted in the ground.
Black fir is a tall tree, so it is better to plant it away from housing construction, any buildings and paths so that it does not interfere with movement and does not lead to cracking of the walls.
The distance between adjacent holes should be at least 4–5 m. If the seedling was purchased in a container (with a closed root system), it is enough to dig a hole 5–7 cm larger than the size of the pot. For seedlings with open roots, a larger pit will be required. To determine the size of the planting hole, the volume of the earthen coma on the roots is estimated and a hole is dug 2 times larger so that the roots can freely fit in it. The standard pit size (excluding the drainage layer) is 60–80 cm deep and up to 60 cm wide.
It is necessary to fill the drainage (20-30 cm) at the bottom of the hole. For these purposes, broken brick, small stones, gravel mixed with sand are suitable.
Planting is best done in spring (April) or closer to autumn (late August - September).
Before planting, a nutrient mixture is prepared, consisting of humus, leafy earth, sand and complex mineral fertilizer. If the soil is heavy, add about 1 bucket of sawdust to it.
When planting, make sure that the root collar protrudes slightly above the ground. A small moat is left around the hole, necessary to retain moisture during watering.
The trunk circle is mulched with peat, sawdust. A layer of mulch (about 8 cm) prevents the clod from drying out and prevents the appearance of weeds. Mulching materials protect the roots of young fir trees from freezing.
If the conifers are planted for arranging the alley, the distance between the holes is left from 4 to 5 m, if black fir is used in group plantings, it is enough to leave at least 3 m.A dense planting provides for a distance between neighboring firs of 2.5 m.
Watering and feeding
Watering the tree is needed during transplantation, then the seedling is moistened only in case of severe drought. Usually, black fir has enough rainfall to grow and develop well. Excessive soil moisture negatively affects the ephedra.
Complex mineral fertilizers are used as dressings that enhance the growth of black fir. For example, "Kemira wagon" is considered a good tool, which consumes no more than 150 g per 1 m² of the trunk circle.
Black fir is a slow-growing coniferous tree that does not need formative pruning. For correct formation and creation of a beautiful appearance, old, dried branches, damaged shoots are cut off.
Preparing for winter
Adult black fir does not need preparation for winter and does not need shelter, it tolerates frost well. It is advisable to cover the seedlings for the winter with spruce branches, and cover the ground in the near-trunk circle with a layer of sawdust, peat or straw.
Whole-leaved black fir is bred in various ways:
Planting seeds and growing a coniferous tree from them is a very laborious and time-consuming process, so the best option is to purchase a five-year-old seedling in a nursery.
The lower shoots often bend to the ground and take root on their own, without human intervention. Such layering can be used for breeding.
Diseases and pests
Black fir has good immunity and rarely gets sick. A coniferous tree can suffer from fungal pathologies, for example, brown shute leads to browning of the needles. Fir rust appears as yellow spots on top of the needles, and orange bubbles are visible below.
Copper preparations are used to help the tree get rid of the fungus. It can be "Hom", "Horus", Bordeaux fluid. To prevent fungal infections, spraying is done in spring and autumn. Fallen needles must be removed from the site and burned, damaged branches are cut and disposed of. The soil in the near-trunk circle is also sprayed.
Fungal diseases can affect the root system, so that this does not happen, it is necessary to monitor the condition of the soil, to prevent excessive moisture. Watering the soil with "Fitosporin" helps to protect against fusarium and root rot.
Economic value and application
Black fir wood is homogeneous and durable, but it has not received widespread use in construction due to the fact that trees of this species are not widespread and are on the verge of extinction.
Young plantings suffer from poachers who cut down conifers before the New Year holidays. Fir looks very much like a spruce, so they are in great demand on New Year's Eve.
The bark contains an essential oil that is used in folk recipes and in traditional medicine. This oil is one of the components of cosmetics for skin and hair care.
The needles of black fir have a high content of ascorbic acid, therefore it is used in unconventional methods of treating flu and colds.
Due to the decorative crown, conifers are often used in landscape design. With the help of black fir, beautiful alleys in parks are arranged.
Solid black fir is a long-growing coniferous tree, which is used for decorative purposes. Seedlings need special care and shelter for the winter, adult specimens are unpretentious. With proper planting and care, the ephedra will delight the eye for many years.