Fir: types, varieties, cultivation
Fir belongs to the pine family. It differs from its relatives in dark green shiny soft flat needles and the ability to retain the lower branches for a long time. White stripes on the underside of the needles give the firs an unusual, ceremonial appearance. They are decorated with vertically standing purple cones. Up to 10 years old firs grow slowly, then growth accelerates and continues to a very old age, and some of them live for 400 years. The needles are healing: baths from it help with radiculitis and colds, the infusion cures scurvy, ointments heal wounds.
Fir (Abies) - a genus of gymnosperms of the Pine family (Pinaceae) A characteristic feature of firs - cones in them, unlike other conifers, grow up, and the needles are flat. According to the etymological dictionary, the Russian name for the genus “Fir” comes from it. Fichte - "spruce".
Giants and dwarfs
Balsam fir is from North America. Lives 150-200 years. Freezing is not damaged. Demanding on soil and moisture, shade-tolerant, growing rapidly.
Balsam fir comes into fruiting from 20-30 years old, forming dark purple cones.
This is a slender tree with a height of 15-25 m, with dark green soft and fragrant needles. The root system is superficial, so balsam fir should be planted in a place protected from the wind. The lower branches, lowered to the ground, easily root if sprinkled with humus.
Any suburban area will be decorated with such decorative forms of balsamic fir as:
- Columnar Columnaris (Columnaris);
- with branches stretched above the ground up to 2.5 m long Prostrata (Prostrate);
- only 50 cm high Nana (Nana);
- with a dense spherical crown and a shortened dark green needles;
- silver Argenta (Argenta), with a white tip at the needles;
- gray glauka (Glauca), with bluish needles from a wax coating;
- variegated Variegata (Variegata), with yellow spots on the needles.
White-skinned, or bud-scaled fir
White-skinned, or kidney-scaled fir grows in the Far East. Lives up to 180 years. The tree is fast-growing, winter-hardy, shade-tolerant, demanding on humidity of air and soil.
This fir has recently been introduced into the culture of Moscow and St. Petersburg, and there are no low forms yet. However, we advise the owners of large plots to plant it. Thanks to the light bark, contrasting with dark green needles, branches hanging to the ground, decorated with purple cones, this tree growing up to 30 m makes an unforgettable impression.
Plain fir native to North America. Lives up to 350 years. Photophilous, tolerates climatic stresses, wind and drought resistant. Landscapers appreciate it and most often plant it in the middle lane. It grows fast, tolerates transplantation well. It prefers loams, but in principle it can grow on any soil, even saline. In severe winters, it can suffer from frost. In frozen plants, the needles turn brown and partially fall.
A single-color fir grows up to 40 m. The crown is multi-tiered, as if folded from gear frills that descend to the ground. Shoots are covered with thick light gray bark. The needles give the tree a special charm - grayish or bluish-green, thick and long (up to 6 cm).
Of the decorative forms of plain fir, Violacia is remarkable (Violacea), 6-8 m high and covered with bluish-white needles, the color of which is inherited during seed propagation, as well as about the same height of Argentea (Argentea) with silver needles and Aurea (Aurea), the color of which is initially golden, and over the years becomes silver-gray. There are dwarfs. For example, Compact Glauka (Compakta glauca) not a tree, but a bush 40 cm high, with long blue needles.
Siberian fir in nature grows in the northeast of the European part of Russia and in Siberia. Winter-hardy, demanding on air humidity. Prefers drained loam. It can grow in the shade and in the sun.
Siberian fir needles emit a lot of volatile, which have the ability to disinfect the air, so it is advisable to plant it near the windows of the house.
Siberian fir is a very beautiful tree with thin branches lowered to the ground and smooth dark gray bark. The maximum height is 30 m. The needles are 2-3 cm long, dark green, shiny. Cones from light purple to light brown.
Among the decorative Siberian firs growing no more than 8 m, there are Glauka with blue needles (Glauca), variegated Variegata (Variegata), silver Elegance (Elegans), which is even more compact.
Fraser fir is from North America. We winters well. Demanding on the soil, it suits only the drained. Shade-tolerant, growing fast.
This tree is up to 25 m high, with a beautiful pyramidal crown. Needles of Fraser fir 2-3 cm long, silver underneath. Beautiful cones with prominent scales ripen in October.
In small areas, the decorative form of Fraser Prostrat's fir will look very good (Prostrata), growing in the form of a creeping shrub with widely spread branches.
How to grow fir?
You can plant and transplant fir in spring, in April, and in autumn, from late August and throughout September. Almost all of them love moist (but not waterlogged), rich, deep loam. The best planting material is 5-7 years of age. It is advisable to plant fir on warm, cloudy days, even better - in the rain. A seat is prepared at least 2 weeks before planting.
Dig holes 60-80 cm deep and wide, depending on the size of the root system. The bottom of the pit is loosened to a depth of 10-15 cm and half-filled with a nutrient mixture consisting of clay soil, leafy soil or humus, peat and river sand (2: 3: 1: 1). Then add 10 kg of sawdust, 200-300 g of nitroammofoski and mix again. It is poured with a knoll, it is sprinkled on top with garden soil (without fertilizers), a plant is planted with the roots horizontal, and the pit is again covered with garden soil. A fir seedling is placed so that the root neck is at ground level.
Young firs need regular loosening of the soil to a depth of 10-12 cm with simultaneous weeding from weeds and subsequent mulching of the trunk circle with sawdust, wood chips, peat with a layer of 5-8 cm.
The distance between the plant, depending on the type of planting, is as follows: in the alley 4-5 m, in groups 3-3.5 m, in hedges in a checkerboard pattern up to 2.5 m. Balsam fir, surrounding itself with young shoots, needs the largest area.
Feeding and watering fir
2-3 years after planting in the spring, it is advisable to regularly introduce 100-125 g / m² Kemira universal into the trunk circle. Water-only species are watered. Do this in arid weather, pouring 15-20 liters of water under each plant. Watering should not be especially carried away, since overmoistening of fir is contraindicated.
Fir does not need crown formation; only dry, damaged or diseased branches are pruned. Do this at any time of the year.
If you have heavy clay soils, when planting fir at the bottom of the pit, you need to make drainage from gravel or broken brick, cans and beer cans, laid in a layer of 20 cm.
Preparation of fir for winter
Recommended firs in the middle lane winter well, and only young plants need shelter. To protect them from late spring frosts in autumn, the soil in the near-stem circle is covered with dry leaves or peat (layer 10-12 cm), and the crown is covered with lapnik.
Reproduction of fir
New plants are grown from seeds (species fir) or from cuttings (decorative forms).
Seeds are harvested at the beginning of the ripening of cones. They are planted in autumn or spring after a month of stratification in a cold place. The second is preferable. The growing pattern is similar to spruce (see the material "Spruce: species, varieties, cultivation"). Fir seedlings are planted in a permanent place with a lump of land at the age of 5-7 years.
Cuttings of fir are cut only from annual shoots with apical buds. Root and grow in the same way as spruce (see the material "Spruce: species, varieties, cultivation"). The only thing they pay special attention to is that the plants do not have two peaks.
Fir Diseases and Pests
Fir tree needles can be caused by fir-fir hermes (one of the varieties of aphids). Its colonies are easy to detect by the snowy white pubescence on the underside of the needles. It is necessary to rid the tree of this pest in April, when overwintered females come out. For processing trees, a working solution of an anti-horn or a horn preparation is used (20 g per 10 l of water).
Decorative forms of fir can be affected by rust. When infected with this disease, red spots appear on the needles, and swellings appear on the shoots. To restore fir to its former beauty, fallen needles need to be Collected and burned. The burnt branches are cut and burned, and the trimmed areas are greased with garden var. The crown of the tree is sprayed with Bordeaux liquid (200 g per 10 liters of water).
But the main thing is to remove the sprocket and stalk from the garden. These are herbs on which the rust rust pathogen lives.
Author: Tatyana Dyakova, Candidate of Agricultural Sciences