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Crimean pine is an evergreen tree belonging to the Pine family. The second name of the Crimean ephedra is Pallas pine (Latin name - Pinus nigra subsp. Pallasiana). This is one of the subspecies of black pine.
Description of the Crimean pine
Crimean pine is a tall coniferous tree, reaching a height of 30-40 m, the maximum figure is 45 m. The crown of young trees is pyramidal, rather wide, in older specimens it is umbrella-shaped.
The branches of the Pallas pine are located horizontally, there is a slight upward curvature.
The bark on the trunk is very dark, brownish or almost black, dotted with cracks and deep grooves. The upper part of the trunk is colored reddish, young branches are shiny, yellowish-brown in color.
The needles are long, dark green. The needles are very dense and prickly, slightly curved. The length of the needles is from 8 to 12 cm, the width is up to 2 mm. The buds are large enough, covered with straight scales.
Cones are located horizontally, on a branch they can be single, or several at once. The color of the cones is brown with a shine, the shape is ovoid, conical. The length of the Crimean pine cones ranges from 5 to 10 cm, the diameter is from 5 to 6 cm. Young scutes are colored bluish-violet, the color of mature ones is brownish-yellow.
The length of the seeds is 5-7 mm, the length of the wing is up to 2.5 cm, the width is about 6 mm. The dark seed color can be gray or almost black with a dark spot. The color of the wing is light, the shape is sail-like, irregularly oval.
The lifespan of the Crimean pine is 500–600 years.
Crimean pine in landscape design
Pine trees are one of the main elements of the landscape. Evergreen conifers delight the eye all year round.
Ephedra look good both in a single planting and in combination with other trees. Since the Crimean pine is a tall species, it is used to decorate alleys in park areas.
Crimean pine is also used to create protective belts and forest plantations.
How to grow Crimean pine from seeds
Growing Crimean pine from seeds is not difficult, given some of the features of the preparation of seed material. You can find pine cones in the forest or purchase them from a nursery. Seeds ripen in autumn, so you should go out for the cones in the pre-winter period.
The collected cones are placed for drying in a warm, sunny place. It is necessary for the scales to fully open and release the seeds. To speed up the process, you can increase the temperature, but heating the material at a high temperature (more than 45 ° C) is not recommended, because seeds may lose their germination capacity.
Verification of seed germination of Crimean pine is carried out by immersing the planting material in a container with water.
Attention! Seeds that have begun to sink are suitable for planting, and those that remain floating on the surface will not germinate.
After the seeds are taken, they are dried and stored in a cool dark place until planting.
Seed planting technology:
- Seeds must be germinated 2 weeks before planting in the ground. To do this, they are placed in a damp cloth; a sprout must appear in the germinated seeds.
- 24 hours before planting, the seeds are treated with a solution of potassium permanganate.
- Containers for planting should be individual, drainage is laid in them at the bottom, then a special mixture consisting of sphagnum and crushed pine bark is poured (ratio 1: 4).
- The seeds are carefully placed in the ground and sprinkled, moistened with a spray bottle.
- Containers with seeds are placed in a sunny place.
- The earth is moistened regularly, preventing the soil from drying out.
Important! Germinating seeds is a lengthy process that takes several months.
Once the sprouts have reached a height of 30 cm, they can be placed in open ground. To increase the chances of survival, experts recommend planting young pines no earlier than 2-3 years later.
In regions with mild climates, seeds can be planted directly into open ground. For this, a number of requirements are fulfilled:
- the seeds are soaked for several days in water, changing it daily;
- the depth of planting seeds on the bed is at least 3 cm;
- a distance of at least 15 cm is left between the seeds, the aisles should be wide - up to 50 cm;
- the seedbed is covered with mulching materials;
- to protect the emerging seedlings from birds and rodents, the beds are covered with foil. When the shoots are freed from the remnants of the seeds, the shelter is removed;
- seedlings are planted no earlier than three years later;
- during transplanting, soil from a pine forest must be added to the planting pit, it contains mycorrhiza, which helps the seedling to adapt faster.
Planting and caring for the Crimean pine in the open field
For outdoor planting, it is best to use a seedling purchased from a nursery or grown from seed. Trees dug in the forest very rarely take root after replanting, so this option should not be used.
Seedling and planting plot preparation
To grow Crimean pine in the country, you must select the appropriate site. The soil should be sandy or sandy loam. On loamy soils, a drainage layer will be required. The drainage layer poured into the planting pit should be at least 20 cm. Broken brick, crushed stone, sand are used as drainage. If the soil is highly acidic, liming is carried out. To do this, 300 g of lime is introduced into a previously prepared pit and mixed with the soil.
Important! If you plan to plant several seedlings, leave a distance of at least 4 m between the holes.
The seedlings are carefully removed from the pot or dug out of the ground and, together with an earthen lump, are placed in the hole. For transplanting pines from the nursery, seedlings are purchased at the age of 3-5 years.
The Crimean pine is planted in spring or early autumn. Standard landing pit size:
- depth 70–80 cm;
- diameter - up to 70 cm.
The soil mixture for falling asleep in the holes is prepared as follows: in equal amounts, mix the sod land with river sand and earth from the coniferous forest, add 30 g of nitrogen fertilizers.
It is necessary to ensure that the root collar does not remain buried in the ground. It should be at ground level.
Watering and feeding
Crimean pine is a drought-resistant tree that does not need additional watering. This applies to mature trees, and it is recommended to water the seedlings after transplanting to help rooting.
In autumn, young pines must be watered 2-3 weeks before the onset of cold weather. This is necessary to prevent the risk of burning needles in the spring. The crown of the Crimean pine wakes up early, and the dry earth leads to yellowing of the needles. Therefore, water-charging irrigation is necessary for young pines.
The first 2-3 years after planting, the seedlings need additional feeding. It is recommended to apply mineral fertilizers to the trunk circle. It is enough to do this once a season (in spring). Mineral compositions are applied under each seedling at the rate of 40 g per 1 m² of the trunk circle.
Adult pines do not need additional feeding, they have enough nutrients accumulated in the coniferous litter.
Mulching and loosening
The trunk circle must be periodically loosened. This improves the condition of the soil and saturates the roots with oxygen. Loosening and removal of weeds is carried out as needed. The earth is not dug too deep so as not to damage the pine root system.
Mulching helps to protect the roots from freezing, prevents the appearance of weeds. Chopped bark of coniferous trees, peat, leaves and needles are used as mulch.
Crimean pine does not need crown formation. If the branches are damaged, they are cut down.
Attention! If you want to slow down the growth of a tree, they resort to such a trick as breaking off young shoots. After that, the tree slows down and acquires a fluffier crown.
Preparing for winter
Mature pines are characterized by good frost resistance, and young seedlings may suffer from winter frosts. To prevent damage to seedlings, they are sheltered; for this, spruce branches, burlap, and a special covering material are used. Polyethylene film is not suitable for covering, as its use leads to bark heating.
Crimean pine propagation
The main breeding method of Crimean pine is planting seeds. Cuttings or grafting are considered ineffective and are not used in the cultivation of Crimean pine.
Planting Crimean pine with seeds can be carried out directly into the ground or in individual containers
Pests and diseases of the Crimean pine
The most common diseases of the Crimean coniferous trees are:
- root and stem rot;
Disease prevention consists in proper care of the seedling, as well as in the treatment of biological products, fungicides.
Pines can be damaged by insects. For young seedlings, the danger is posed by May beetle, which can damage the root system of the tree. Before planting, it is necessary to carefully inspect the soil, if grubs are found, the ground is treated with chemicals.
Bark beetles damage sick and young trees. They make moves in the trunk, which leads to a lack of nutrition and the tree gradually dries out. You can see the presence of six-toothed bark beetles by the drill meal on the barrel. For preventive purposes, in the spring, pines are treated with bifenthrin-containing preparations.
Insects can damage the needles. For example, the caterpillars of the pine silkworm eat about 700 coniferous needles during the development period. To combat them, drugs Aktara, Decis, Karate, Engio are used. Processing is carried out in the fall or spring.
Crimean pine is a perennial evergreen tree used to decorate park alleys, create forest belts and coniferous plantations. Due to excessive logging and population decline, this subspecies is listed in the Red Book of Ukraine and Russia.