Amazing Tree - Thuja
If you need to choose a plant for a hedge, a relaxation corner or decorate a porch, terrace - stop on a thuja, especially when there are swampy and peaty soils on the plot, unsuitable for most fruit and berry crops. Across the world, thuja is highly regarded for its decorative effect. This coniferous evergreen breed is beautiful in winter and summer. Under favorable conditions in nature, it can reach a height of 20-30 m, and the trunk - 180 cm in diameter. Thuja is much lower in culture. At a young age, the tree is especially graceful. Its crown is narrow pyramidal, later it becomes ovoid, but does not lose its decorative effect. For this, thuja is also called “cypress of the North”, in contrast to real cypress growing in the south.
Thuja shoots are covered with scaly, and in transitional forms - needle-shaped needles, which are bright green in spring, dark green in summer, and brown-green in winter. The needles fall after 4-5 years along with branches (branch fall).
An interesting biological feature of thuja is "flowering" or, more correctly, dusting. Its flowers are called spikelets. Female spikelets are yellow-green kidney-shaped, located mainly in the upper part of the crown. Men's - brown-yellow, rounded, you will find them at the bottom of the tree. In the middle lane of the European part of Russia, the thuja western dusts in the spring in April-May, before the growth of shoots begins. The duration of dusting, depending on the weather, is 6-12 days. Then oval cones form. They ripen annually within 160-180 days, but abundant yields occur after 2-3 years. When ripening, the scales open slightly and seeds fly out from there, with narrow wings. The mass of 1000 pieces is equal to 1.4-1.8 g, germination persists for no more than 2 years.
In 1-1.5 weeks after dusting, shoots begin to grow. The annual growth is 10-15 cm. The thuja has a superficial root system, so do not forget to shake off the wet snow from the tree in winter so that it does not fall and break.
For the decorative design of the sites, we often use the thuja western (Thuja occidentalis L.). It comes from the coniferous and coniferous-deciduous forests of North America, stretching from Canada to North Carolina. Under natural conditions, thuja forms dense thickets mainly in swamps and in places with close groundwater, and is found on the rocky shores of mountain rivers and in valleys. Prefers moist, fresh, clay soils in mixed forests. Such a detailed acquaintance with the conditions of the habitat will probably help amateur gardeners to more correctly choose for thuja soil, planting place and “satellite” plants.
Thuja western lives more than a hundred years and therefore can please more than one generation of people. And after the death of a tree, a good owner will find use for its wood. The thuja has a yellowish-brown, with a narrow bright sapwood, fragrant, very light, soft, resistant to rot. Needles are also valued, as it contains a lot of essential oil, which is used in perfumes and medicine. Finally, it is a phytoncid plant that can heal the surrounding air.
Thuja western is suitable for most areas of the former Soviet Union. It is winter-hardy and wind-resistant, tolerates excessive soil moisture and at the same time is quite drought-resistant, photophilous and at the same time shade-tolerant, tolerates haircuts and resumes after cutting, not too demanding on soil fertility. The tree can be planted close to the house, as it is safer in case of fire than other conifers, such as fir. This is due to the fact that the thuja has denser wood and a lot of moisture in the needles.
Thuja is easy to grow from seeds, it is available to every novice gardener. From the uterine plants it is necessary to collect them in September-December. Carefully cut off the cones and spread the seeds for drying in a thin layer on a table in a cool room or on a terrace, where the temperature is not higher than 6–7 ° C. As soon as the cone scales dry, you should remove the seeds from them and sift through a sieve with 6x6 mm mesh cells. Then put them in gauze bags and store in a cool place until snow appears. As soon as it falls out, the bags must be laid out on the ground and covered with snow with a layer of 30 cm.
In spring, the seeds are sown in rows on ridges (the distance between the rows is 10 cm), they are sown to a depth of 0.5 cm. The seeding rate is about 5 g of seeds per 1 m². Crops are lightly sprinkled with sawdust, regularly but moderately watered. Germination is usually about 90%.
Shoots protect from direct sunlight with shields. In the first year they grow up to 4–6 cm, the next up to 10–20 cm, in the third - from 25 to 40 cm. In dry time, the soil under the plants is mulched with peat or sawdust. At the age of three, they dive, and in the 5th year they land on a permanent place, preferably in the spring. The growth of seedlings is favorably affected by top dressing with a weak solution of slurry. However, nitrogen fertilizers should be used with caution.
Thuja western and its forms are also propagated by green and lignified cuttings, decorative forms can be grafted onto savages.
Cuttings begin before the beginning of bud swelling, at the end of April - the first decade of May, and also after the end of shoot growth, at the end of June. 2–3-year-old branches 25–40 cm long are cut from the uterine plants in any part of the crown. Cuttings (10–20 cm) with a heel — a slice of the old bark — are cut from them. They are treated for 12 hours with an aqueous solution of heteroauxin (20 mg / l) and planted in a nursery to a depth of 1.5 to 2.5 cm. Turf soil is poured into the nursery, and a layer of river sand with peat is placed on top (1: 1). Before planting the cuttings, the earth is bayoneted, disinfected with a solution of potassium permanganate and spilled with water.
One of the most important conditions for rooting cuttings is to maintain high air humidity, but without waterlogging the substrate. To do this, use irrigation plants with nozzles that create artificial fog, or cover the cuttings with a film, after watering them from a watering can with a small strainer. At an air temperature of 25 ° C, the installation of artificial fog is switched on daily 6 times with a watering duration of 0.5 to 1 min (at a temperature of 20 ° C - 4 times). In hot sunny weather, the film is whitened with a lime solution. Weeds are periodically weeded and measures taken to control pests and diseases.
As soon as the cuttings are rooted, they begin to harden - they reduce watering and ventilate, opening the nursery for a while. For the winter, somewhere in November, they are covered with a sheet, sawdust or spruce spruce branches, and when frosts reach minus 5–7 ° C also with a film. In some areas (for example, in the Chernozem zone and to the south), thuja cuttings winter without shelter, under natural snow cover. In the spring, the insulation is removed, the plants are corrected after winter, pushing them into the ground, and weed.
Single thuja plants look good against a lawn or other tree species. From them you can form an intricate group and hedge, create an alley or a small grove. Everything will look picturesque.