One day during the New Year holidays, friends asked me how to save the Christmas tree. Looking at the gray-green tree in the far corner of the room, surrounded by a carpet of crumbling needles, I sadly stated that the Christmas tree was no longer alive. Unfortunately, for tiny conifers that go on sale as Christmas trees, a long happy life was not originally planned. But many people intentionally acquire such conifers in order not only to please themselves in the New Year, but also to acquire a new inhabitant of the garden, which can be planted in a permanent place in the spring. In this article I will talk about how to choose the right seedling and keep the Christmas tree in the apartment until spring.The best types and varieties of conifers in a pot for the role of a Christmas tree
As New Year's trees, large hypermarkets purchase both heat-loving exotics and completely frost-resistant varieties that after the holiday can settle in the garden for a long time. Let's first understand what kind of trees are most often found on New Year's shop windows and determine the most promising of them.
Canadian spruce "Konika"
In most cases, in the role of Christmas decorations, you can meet Canadian fir dwarf varieties "Konika". The tiny size, dense fluffy crown and short needles make this Christmas tree absolutely charming and desired as an interior decoration.
For greater attractiveness, it is often decorated with small toys and tinsel. This type of spruce belongs to the 5th zone of frost resistance, that is, it withstands frosts up to -30 degrees. From this it follows that, with proper care, Konika is quite promising in middle-sized gardens, and it makes sense to try to save the tree before it is planted in the garden.
For some gardeners, Canadian spruce of this variety has been growing for about 10 years and is a dense pyramidal tree of meter height. The only drawback characteristic of Konika is the burning of needles in winter, but this problem is easily solved by covering the crown with burlap.
Basically, such a herringbone refers to unpretentious plants, requires minimal care, tolerates partial shade and moderate watering. As New Year’s sale ate canadian with green needles (actually Konika), but this spruce has other varieties.
Varieties Rainbow's end and Daisy's white Outwardly, they are not much different from Konika, but in early spring the young growth of these fir trees has a very beautiful bright yellow growth. Spruce Blue wonder It has an unusual blue color with a characteristic conical shape and a dense arrangement of branches.Canadian spruce Rainbow's End.
In Europe and the USA, this type of fir is the main Christmas tree and is often called the "Danish tree." And if we mainly mean pine tree under the New Year tree, then abroad it is Nordman’s fir.
The main advantage of fir over other conifers, the same spruce or pine, is that its needles do not crumble for a long time after the complete death of the tree. In addition, her needles are not at all prickly, they have a deep dark green color, and the reverse side is covered with a silver-gray coating.
Thanks to the fluffy crown and rounded needles, this Christmas tree looks almost like a toy, and that is why it is so very popular. In the West, there are whole farms engaged in the cultivation of this type of fir for sale on New Year's holidays. Such "Christmas trees" are most often felled "under the very spine", like our pines, and sometimes they are grown in containers and are offered as living New Year trees.
Such fir can be distinguished by non-prickly dark needles and two characteristic light stomata-stripes on the back of each needles. In addition, fir needles are flat, not tetrahedral, as in most species of spruce.
On the territory of Russia, Nordman fir grows exclusively in the mountains of the Caucasus, which indicates its thermophilicity. This species belongs to the winter hardiness zone 6 (not lower than -23 degrees), which implies the presence of serious wintering problems in the middle lane.
In places protected from strong winter winds and shelter in the first years after planting, this tree has some chances not to die in the winter. But nevertheless, in some frosty winters, the crown will suffer greatly from freezing, and it will not be so fluffy and beautiful, the trunk can be curved. Of course, this fir will never reach such a height as at home (60 meters) in a cold climate.Nordman Fir (Abies nordmanniana).
This tree looks very similar to Nordman fir, but differs from it by a high level of winter hardiness - 4 zone (up to -35 degrees). In adulthood, Korean fir and Nordman fir significantly differ from each other in height (the first does not grow above 15 meters, and the second eventually reaches 60 meters) and the shape of the crown. But at a young age, seedlings of these species can only be distinguished by professionals.
Korean fir has the same flat, absolutely non-prickly dark green needles, which on the reverse side also have a silver color and two longitudinal stomata. Given the above, one can only hope for the conscientiousness of sellers who can correctly indicate the species of "herringbone" on the label.
Korean fir is a very promising tree for the garden. In recent years, landscape designers have increasingly used it in their work, and amateur gardeners also can not resist the beauty of this tree, similar to a Christmas tree from a fairy tale.
In addition, Korean fir tolerates partial shade well, and as an adult it pleases with amazing erect cones, similar to candles. The only nuance that is important to take into account when planting this fir is the negative effect of polluted air on it, therefore it is better to place the Christmas tree on a suburban area.Korean fir (Abies koreana).
One of the most popular representatives of conifers assigned to the role of the Christmas tree. In the holiday season, you can find it even in the usual grocery supermarket. Outwardly, the cypress is more similar to juniper than to go pine tree. The tree has flat branches, covered with small green needles, scales with a grayish-bluish tint, the shape of the bush is pyramidal. Usually such a named “Christmas tree” is sold in a bright New Year’s pot, it is generously decorated with tinsel and sometimes covered with artificial snow.
Lavson's cypress is from North America and belongs to the 6th zone of frost resistance - up to -23 degrees. That is, this is not the most suitable tree for temperate latitudes. When planting in the garden, an exotic coniferous plant will require a lot of care, in particular, almost all cypress trees are prone to sunburn at the end of winter, and this species also suffers from a winter cold. But shelter for him is also not easy, since this breed is susceptible to fungal diseases.
It is better to plant it in partial shade in a place protected from the wind in non-blown areas with a favorable microclimate. At some gardeners I met Lavson's growing cypress on the plot. However, the plant, as a rule, does not look the best, and does not achieve full decorativeness.Lawson cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana).
Usually, in the New Year’s time, you can find a small “indoor” one on sale cypress "Aurea". As a rule, this conifer is more lucky, and it is not burdened with festive decoration and is offered as an ordinary houseplant. Externally, cypress is a dense bush of a pyramidal shape. Thin erect twigs are covered with delicate scaly needles of light green color.
Cypress is an extremely thermophilic plant, and any attempts to plant it in the garden in the middle lane are doomed to failure. Therefore, the only way to save the tree is to grow it in a room culture. However, this is fraught with a number of difficulties.
"Indoor" cypress can not be kept on the windowsill of a city apartment along with other potted flowers. In winter, the temperature of the content of the tree should not exceed +12 degrees. In this case, cypress requires high humidity and moderate watering. In the absence of an air humidifier, the bush will have to be sprayed at least three times a day, and watering is done about once a week with a small amount of water (about 200 ml).
In summer, cypress necessarily organize a move to the open air, where the tree is protected from extreme heat and provide regular plentiful watering, preventing the soil from drying out. As you can see, cypress in the room is a rather troublesome culture, so before buying such a "Christmas tree" it is important to weigh the pros and cons well.Cypress (Cupressus).
General rules for choosing holiday conifers
Buying a live Christmas tree with the prospect of planting in the garden is a reasonable decision based on the principles of respect for nature. In order for the idea to be implemented successfully, it is important to take into account some principles that are common to any coniferous plants:
- If the Christmas tree is treated with artificial snow or, worse, glitter varnish, then it is better to refuse such a purchase, the tree has practically no chance of salvation, since such processing seriously violates the processes of plant respiration;
- Some conifers are initially grown in a container, while others are less fortunate - they are placed in a pot immediately before the sale, cutting the root system. In the second case, you will get a Christmas tree that will live a little longer than the felled tree. Before buying, try to pull the Christmas tree by the trunk, for full-fledged seedlings, an earthen lump will easily come out of the pot and looks like it is densely braided by branches. The pot should be proportionate to the size of the crown, too small - a cause for suspicion.
- A coniferous plant with awakened buds and young growth is an indicator that the tree is alive at the moment. But it will be much more difficult to keep the Christmas tree, which didn’t set off at the right time before spring, than sleeping specimens. In addition, such untimely awakening weakens the plant.
- Try to shake the Christmas tree, if you notice increased shedding of needles, set the pot aside. The physiology of most conifers is such that the needles can remain on the tree for a long time after its death. If the needles have already begun to fall profusely, then, most likely, in front of you is a dead tree.
- The needles of a living coniferous tree usually have a slight sheen and elasticity. Brittle needles of a pale grayish color also indicate that the plant died.
Recommendation: It often happens that live Christmas trees are bought completely spontaneously. But if you have a serious and balanced intention to purchase a Christmas tree with the prospect of planting in the garden, then it’s better to go to the nursery not for the grocery store, but for the seedling. In this case, you will get a healthy tree suitable for growing in your climate.
At the same time, be sure to ask in what conditions the seedling was kept before sale and try to support them. The best place for a tree from the nursery is a glazed unheated balcony. To protect the root coma from severe frosts, it is better to insulate the pot, but sometimes New Year trees in nurseries are sold in special non-freezing containers.
How to keep a Christmas tree until spring
In the apartment for the Christmas tree, it is important to choose the coolest place, it is best that the temperature does not exceed +13 degrees. If the buds start to grow, this means that the temperature is too high, and you need to find a cooler place.
It is also not necessary to put a tree in full shadow, but direct sunlight for a coniferous plant during this period is undesirable. In a room with central heating, the Christmas tree will suffer greatly from dry air, therefore, it needs regular spraying several times a day. Near the tree, you can place containers with water or install an indoor air humidifier.
For this purpose, you can also build a small greenhouse, but it is also not worth wrapping the seedling tightly in the bag. In order not to provoke fungal diseases, it is very important to ensure good air exchange. Watering is carried out by immersing the pot in a container with settled water for several minutes - until the root ball is saturated with moisture. For the Christmas tree, both overdrying and excessive soil moisture are equally dangerous.
It is better if the tree stands in the festive decoration for a minimum amount of time (no longer than a week). It is important to choose jewelry and tinsel, which is not difficult to remove, so as not to damage the needles and young twigs. Toys should be light and placed on free suspensions, it is better to refuse clips-clothespins. It is also better not to cover the soil in the pot with any decorative materials so that the roots can breathe freely and the earth is not covered with mold.
It may seem to some that a living Christmas tree will be better on the street, but this is not entirely true. Even if the tree has not yet begun to grow, for him it will be too large a temperature difference, because it has already adapted to the temperature regime in the store window. In addition, the root ball freezes too much, which will lead to the death of the plant.
Theoretically, the Christmas tree can spend winter time in a deep snowdrift. But winters have long ceased to please us with a solid and stable snow cover, and when alternating long thaws with frosts, this option can be completely dangerous.
It is necessary to plant a Christmas tree in the garden as soon as the ground thaws - approximately in March. At first, it is advisable to pritenit a young seedling (for example, to wrap it with burlap), since the spring sun can cause the needles to burn out.