The formation of coniferous large-sized plants - the correct pruning
Today in private gardens you can see many huge adult conifers that rise above the houses, casting a shadow on all nearby sites. Moreover, most conifers respond positively to the formation - pruning, allowing you to keep the tree in check without harm to its health and appearance. If you have decided to plant a coniferous tree in a small garden that reaches the height of a large-sized tree, you must immediately begin to "educate" the seedling, and not wait until the forest giant begins to annoy all its neighbors.
In the forests of the middle zone, most often one species of pine lives - ordinary pine (Pinus sylvestris), and the only kind of spruce - common spruce, or European (Picea abies) Spruce and pine have different growth patterns, and therefore the approach to them will vary slightly.
The older and higher the spruce becomes, the more its growth rates accelerate. In a young tree, growth can be as small as five centimeters a year, while an adult spruce will annually drive growth up to one meter long.
For forty years, an ordinary forest spruce will reach the height of a three-story house, but a formed tree can remain a small and pretty cone for decades. Therefore, it is important to begin to regularly cut the tree from a very young age.
Based on the fact that the natural form of spruce is a regular cone, the biology of this tree contains the fastest growth of the central shoot-leader - the “crown”. If you remove the leader, this will lead to the fact that a whole bunch of young branches will grow in place of the removed branch, and the crown will become wider. Nevertheless, the Christmas tree will not give up attempts to maintain the usual pyramidal shape and will regularly nominate a new leader from among the young shoots.
Therefore, even with regular pruning, one should not be afraid that the spruce will cease to look like a typical conical Christmas tree. The formation will affect the appearance of the tree only on the positive side - the crown will become thicker and more fluffy, the branches will be shorter, and the growth will not be so intense.
To further reduce the desire of the Christmas tree to grow in height, you can independently choose a weakly growing lateral branch for the role of leader. To do this, a suitable branch is fixed in an upright position with a wire or tied to a support. Thus, the growth of the tree in height will not be so fast.
When and how to cut spruce?
Partial pinching of the main crown can be done even in autumn and early spring. To do this, on the spruce paw, find the largest kidney, responsible for the growth of the branch in length, and carefully break it out or cut off with secateurs. This simple way will help prevent the tree from growing too wide, and the spruce paws themselves become fluffier due to increased branching from the side buds.
A more thorough formation is carried out in late May or early June (depending on weather conditions). In this case, the whole young growth is pinched or trimmed (it can be easily distinguished by soft needles and lighter color), which is cut off on average by 1 3 or 2 3.
To maintain the Christmas tree in shape, a similar haircut is carried out annually once a season. While the seedling is small, it is better to do the procedure manually, and subsequently it is more convenient to cut with garden shears.
In some years, spruce trees have to be cut several times a season, then an additional haircut is carried out at the end of summer. At the same time, it is important not to delay the timing of the haircut, and not to trim too late, so that the cuts can be tightened before winter.
Of course, in the nurseries you can find dwarf varieties of spruce that do not require pruning and themselves form a beautiful fluffy crown (Wills Zwerg, Konika other). Nevertheless, the species spruce is most adapted to the local climate, is highly resistant to adverse conditions, such as severe frosts and sunburn in early spring. In addition, on a “wild” Christmas tree, you can safely perfect the skill of curly haircuts, because its cost in the nursery is not comparable with the price of a varietal specimen.
In addition to the classical pyramidal shape, with the help of garden scissors, the spruce can be turned into a ball on a long leg, and into a multi-tiered pyramid, and into a dense massive column.
Blue spruce (prickly) (Picea pungens) also lends itself well to a haircut, which is performed at the same time and on the same principles as pruning spruce.
Creating a hedge of spruce
From ordinary spruce, you can even create a durable living fence. Such a hedge will always look solid and solemn, protect the site from the wind and prying eyes.
Four-year-old seedlings are suitable for planting hedges from ordinary spruce, which are planted at a distance of 50 centimeters to 1 meter. In the year of planting, seedlings are allowed to take root in a new place, so the formation of the hedge begins in the second year. The entire young growth of spruce trees is removed by approximately 1/3; later, as growth accelerates, it is possible to cut 2/3 long young shoots.
A similar procedure is carried out annually in June-July, and as necessary - again at the end of summer. When the seedlings have reached the desired height, they cut off the central shoot, periodically monitoring the height of the hedge. To make the top of the living fence smooth, it is advisable to pull a cord that will allow you to adhere to a given height during trimming. For the convenience of cutting, it is recommended not to let the spruce grow to a height above 1.5 meters.
Usually a spruce fence is made rectangular in shape like a real wall. However, despite the relative shade tolerance of this breed, it is advisable to cut the fence in the form of a cone so that the upper part of the plants does not interfere with the light enough to get to the lower branches, in order to avoid falling of needles.
A hedge of spruce does not grow quickly, and the first results of the work can be seen at least 5-10 years later (depending on the age of the seedlings). In general, the spruce fence is reliable and unpretentious, but the formation process cannot be stopped for one year, otherwise nature will quickly take its toll, turning a neat fence into a real spruce forest.
Pine is one of the most intensively growing conifers, and an adult has an increase of more than one meter per year. The adult common pine tree at maturity reaches a height of 40 meters and above.
With age, the crown of the pine tree becomes more and more rarefied, the lower branches fall off from a lack of light, and the once-fluffy "Christmas tree" takes on the form of a ship's pine, towering above the garden. Nevertheless, even such a massive tree can be tamed if you start timely pruning.
When and how to prune a pine tree?
Pine pruning is recommended during the active appearance of young shoots. In this case, the trees will have enough time to have time to lay buds for growth next year.
In the period of growth in spring (in May), characteristic young growths appear on the pine branches - the so-called “candles”. After some time, such “candles” begin to lengthen, and young needles gradually develop on them. It is during this period that you should pinch, shortening the growth by half or more than the length of the candle.
At the same time, try not to damage the young needles, since they last several years, and from the appearance they turn yellow and spoil the appearance of the tree. In this regard, the best way to prune young pine is to manually pinch the kidneys. In the next season, a bunch of young shoots are formed at the site of the removed apical bud, with which it is necessary to repeat a similar operation.
Thus, every year the tree will branch more and more, and its crown will become truly fluffy and “stuffed”. To restrain the shoot leader in pine, an operation similar to the above method for spruce is performed. That is, they independently appoint a lateral shoot to the crown role, setting it in the vertical direction with the help of a tire.
Best of all, pine gives new buds of renewal at fresh growth in those places where there are young needles. Therefore, it is very important not to miss the cropping time, which lasts until the end of May. Otherwise, trimming will not lead to the formation of new branches.
When and how to prune juniper?
Sometimes in the gardens you can find a species juniper (Juniperus communis), which can also reach a decent height, unlike its varietal counterparts (up to 10 meters).
Some other tall junipers, for example, numerous varieties juniper rocky (Juniperus scopulorum) may also need shaping pruning. This tree species is very easy to tolerate forming pruning, however, it is important to consider some features here.
For details on the types and varieties of juniper, see the article Junipers in the garden - types and uses.
To help the junipers to form a denser and narrower crown, their growth in width should be slightly limited. Scissors for hedges or pruners are ideal for these purposes. This conifer responds to pruning with a flash of growth. Subsequently, new shoots fill possible voids, and the tree looks slimmer and fluffier.
The most suitable time for cutting the junipers is the period when the junipers do not have active growth: in the fall - from September to October, or in the spring - from April to May. But in the period of active growth of shoots - June and July - it is better not to touch the trees, since at this time the maximum sap flow occurs, as a result of which pruning can lead to excessive release of juice from the slices and weakening of plants.
When planning juniper pruning, it is important to consider weather conditions. So, in the extreme heat, these trees are also better not to cut, because the high temperature will contribute to the rapid evaporation of juices, which can cause browning of the tips and further dying off of the cut shoots. At low temperatures, combined with increased humidity, the wounds from the slices heal poorly and become the breeding ground for pathogenic bacteria and sometimes harmful insects.
Similar rules will be true not only for junipers, but also for other conifers with flat needles - thuja, yew trees, cypress trees, etc.
Unlike other types of juniper, juniper Cossack (Juniperus sabina) refers to poisonous plants. When cutting bushes of this species, care must be taken, it is imperative to use personal protective equipment that does not allow contact with poisonous juice. Essential oils of Cossack juniper in contact with skin lead to burns.
Species fir (Korean, Vicha, balsamic, plain, etc.) are quite tall trees. Adults reach 10 meters and above. Therefore, they will also require regular pruning to restrain growth.
By the nature of growth, fir differs from spruce mainly in that it often puts forward a long bald crown, and many gardeners often have a desire to pinch a “stick” to make the tree fluffier.
But, if the fir has not yet reached the height you planned, you should not do this, because the nature of this breed is such that over time, the fir independently fills the void on the crown, and a new fluffy growth gradually grows from the kidneys.
A pinch of the leader shoot will lead to the formation of many new tops, and for a while the tree will lose its classic conical shape. To restrain the growth of fir in height, it is better to carry out the same operation that is recommended for spruce and pine (described above).
As for the pinching of the lateral branches, this procedure is carried out in the fall, or in the spring before the buds open. To do this, the largest kidney is broken out on the shoots, which will help restrain the growth of fir in breadth.
However, it is important to consider that, unlike most types of fir trees, in which pruning causes the awakening of a large number of sleeping buds, and, therefore, increased branching, fir reacts to the haircut somewhat differently. Pruning this breed does not allow to get a stuffed crown of increased fluffiness, since even after pinching, the fir will branch minimally.
Nevertheless, it is quite realistic to form a more compact tree due to regular cutting. If the tree is too big, then you can just cut it with scissors to cut the hedges, on the same principle as they cut the spruce, that is, when the young legs are fully bloomed, 1/3 of the young growth is removed.