Chestnut is a decorative park tree. Its bloom is an amazing sight. The flowers look like white candles with yellow-red specks, standing on the branches of a tree. They are fluffy and very delicate, resembling little moths on closer inspection. The scientific name of the tree is American Chestnut or Serrated Chestnut.
This tree is fruitful. It can reach thirty-five meters in height, and the trunk diameter can be up to one and a half meters. Chestnut is a bright representative of trees with a chic spreading crown, which is lowered and equipped with rather thick branches. The bark is gray or light brown, speckled with deep grooves. The chestnut buds are oval, large, brown, covered with sticky juice, pointed at the end.
The chestnut leaves have a unique shape, very beautiful: pointed with a wedge-shaped asymmetric base. They look like cannabis paws and leaves. In autumn they turn yellow and fall off, unique specimens for lovers of herbarium. Inflorescences reach twenty centimeters in length, male, female at the base and in the minority: only 2-3. Chestnut blossoms in July.
The chestnut fruit is very original, it is a light green powerful thorn (plus) with a diameter of up to seven centimeters, the thorns are thin and long, but can be harmful if thrown at someone, as, for example, do mischievous boys who like to play "war". Each such thorn contains 2-3 light brown fruits with a sweet core inside. The chestnut habitat is North America, it is cultivated in France and Germany, and also decorates parks and summer cottages in Russia.
For a year, the chestnut grows about half a meter. The tree actively grows and develops until the age of sixty, then there is a decline in growth and by the age of ninety the tree is subject to felling.
Chestnut tree perfectly tolerates frost, gas pollution of the atmosphere, which makes it ideal for planting within the city. Several varieties suitable for life in Russia have been bred, and they delight the inhabitants of the country with their beautiful flowering in parks.
It should be noted that the fruit of the American chestnut is a valuable nutritious product, in some countries it is considered a real delicacy.
Chestnut wood has important properties useful in the construction of furniture and other useful production. Tannins are obtained from chestnut wood.
If you would like to plant a large spreading tree in your garden, carefully consider the choice of the breed.
After all, it should not only differ in size and dense crown, but also be decorative throughout the season. Horse chestnut meets all these requirements.
We closely consider
Horse chestnuts (Aesculus) - a genus of large trees or shrubs, uniting more than 30 species, common in the mountainous subtropical regions of Eurasia and North America.
It is worth saying that such leaves are practically not found in woody plants grown in our strip, horse chestnuts are real originals in this respect.
Another, one might say, exclusive feature of these plants - large erect inflorescences-candles. The flowers of horse chestnuts are painted in bright colors from white with pink-yellow specks to dark red.
Bright, fragrant flowers rich in nectar attract bees, thanks to which we can feast on delicious and healthy chestnut honey.
But, perhaps, the most striking feature of horse chestnuts is their fruits: round leathery spiny bolls that crack when ripe and release large glossy chocolate seeds.
Despite the appetizing appearance, these seeds are by no means edible, unlike the seeds of a real sowing chestnut (Castanea sativa), which is grown for the sake of delicious nuts in the Caucasus.
And although at first glance, the real and horse chestnuts are very similar, in reality they are completely unrelated and belong to different families (horse chestnuts and beech).
All types of horse chestnuts are relatively shade-tolerant, but develop better in the light. They prefer loamy soils with a neutral reaction. They react poorly to periods of drought and, if necessary (especially at a young age), need watering. It is worth noting that horse chestnuts are quite resistant to various pests and diseases, and also tolerate urban conditions well.
So ordinary and so beloved
The most famous, widespread and beloved by gardeners horse chestnut - k. Ordinary (A. hippocastanum) - adorns parks and squares not only in Russian, but also in Western European cities.
Indeed, it is difficult for city dwellers of the European part of Russia to imagine May days without chestnut inflorescences strewn with large white-pink fragrant candles.
And it’s even hard to believe that this tree, so widespread in our country, comes from the distant Balkan Mountains, where it grows in a very limited area and is quite rare in nature.
Horse K. ordinary better than other chestnuts tolerates conditions in the middle zone It is he who, in suitable conditions, can grow up to 30 m. Old specimens are striking not only by the size of the heavy crown formed by massive branches, but also by a powerful, dumpy trunk.
You can also grow such a tree yourself from the germinated seeds collected in the spring park. However, it must be remembered that at a young age, chestnuts grow rather slowly, and therefore it is better to purchase already grown seedlings.
Of a number of garden forms of this chestnut in our country, the most stable and popular cultivar is 'Baumannii' with snow-white double flowers that bloom for a long time, but unfortunately do not give fruit.
There are other types of chestnuts that can grow in our area, but they require more care and are still quite rare in our country.
A 10 meter bush?
It differs markedly from the common North American because the pavia (A. pavia), the height of which is usually no more than 10 m. Grows, as a rule, in the form of a large bush. The leaves are much smaller and more graceful, usually consisting of only five leaves.
The flowers are distinguished by a peculiar dark red color and a narrower tubular corolla of the petals. This chestnut tolerates the frosts of our climate much worse, and therefore prefers protected places. It is more light-loving, but very undemanding to the soil.
Much more widespread in culture was a hybrid of k. To. Pavia with k. To. Ordinary, obtained at the beginning of the 19th century and called k. To. Ruddy, or meat-red (A. x carpea).
And the flowers of the popular cultivar 'Briotii' are distinguished by brighter shades of red. In addition, because the ruddy one is somewhat more stable in our natural conditions than its American "parent", although it still achieves better development in the southern regions of Russia.
Two more American members of the genus deserve mention. First of all, because eight-chained, or yellow (A. octandra), the main feature of which is the yellow color of the flowers.
It is a small tree (up to 20 m) with large beautiful leaves forming a wide, dense crown. The fruits of this chestnut are not prickly, as well as in A. glabra, which is very similar to the eight-lined to. K. glabra, which got its name precisely because of the rounded, slightly tuberous fruits without thorns.
It differs because it is naked with a more transparent crown and graceful foliage. Both species grow quite well in our conditions, they are quite undemanding to soil and lighting.
Chestnut seedlings should be planted in the spring or fall months. The optimal time for this is mid-May and November.
This tree has a root system close to the soil surface. In order not to contribute to the decay of the roots, the chestnut should be planted on a hill or in areas where there is no stagnation of moisture, the soil is loose and drained.
Growing chestnuts begins with planting a seedling. The planting pit should be 60cm * 50cm in size. At the bottom of the pit, you need to lay out a layer of 30 cm of sand, which will provide drainage.
It will not hurt to add humus or dolomite flour to the soil at a high level of soil acidity.
During the deepening of the chestnut seedling, you need to pay attention to the fact that the root collar is not below ground level.
A planting hole should be formed around the seedling, and watering should be done.
To protect the seedling from gusts of wind at home, he needs to create a support from a pair of stakes.
This beautiful tree can be propagated using root suckers, chestnut seeds or cuttings.
The best method is to sprout chestnut nuts.
For these purposes, ripe fruits that have fallen to the ground and without visible damage are suitable.
It is imperative to subject the nuts to stratification, without which the success of obtaining a healthy seedling will not be guaranteed.
In order not to complicate your life too much, the harvested chestnuts need to be planted in open ground at the end of November, and covered with foliage from above. And in the spring it will be possible to observe the seedlings of nuts suitable for our purposes.
Buried nuts can be excellent food for rodents in winter, so damage to them should be prevented and protective measures taken.
If the idea of planting in open ground is not suitable, then the stratification process can be organized artificially. Chestnuts-nuts are immersed in wet sand in containers, covered with a lid and sent to the basement or refrigerator shelf for 3-5 months.
Immediately before planting, three days before planting, the chestnuts are soaked in room temperature water to facilitate germination and soften the shell of the fruit.
Chestnut nuts are planted to a depth of 8 cm.
Care for a young seedling should be the same as for other trees at this age - removing weeds, feeding and watering. Urea or humus is suitable as fertilizer. Mature trees do not need watering, while a young seedling should not be forgotten.
Since chestnut is a tall and voluminous tree, it can be pruned.
The chestnut looks very impressive in the form of a standard tree. Pruning should provide the tree with a powerful trunk and a neat crown of no more than 3m.
The trunk should be straight, and the shoots should be evenly spaced relative to the central part.
Once the basic shape of the tree has been set, it will rarely need pruning. Only in the spring should you remove dry branches and shoots that unnecessarily thicken the crown.
All mature chestnut trees have excellent frost resistance. Young trees up to 3 years old must be additionally covered in winter. For these purposes, burlap or other covering material can be useful.
As seen in the photo, chestnuts suffer from powdery mildew disease. Also, this type of tree is harmed by tree mites and chestnut moth. If the tree begins to suffer from pests, the drug Lufox 105 EC or similar will come to the rescue.
When planting, keep in mind that a place of at least 3 m (or even more) in diameter should be allocated for each seedling. Only in this case, an adult tree will delight you with a spreading crown, abundant flowering and good fruiting. Chestnut prefers loamy leached chernozem. It is immune to winds, air pollution and is quite frost-resistant.
It is most convenient to plant chestnuts with 1-2-year-old seedlings. To do this, prepare square pits 50x50x50 cm in size.Mix the soil removed from the pits with humus and sand in the ratio: 2: 1: 1 and add 0.5 kg of dolomite flour and slaked lime, pour 200 g of nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium into each hole fertilizers. At the bottom of the holes, lay a drainage layer (pebbles or crushed stone, mixed with sand) of 10-15 cm.Then sprinkle it a little with soil substrate, spill the hole well with water, place a seedling in it and carefully fill the hole with soil, tamping it slightly with your hands.
When planting large chestnuts, place the root collar of the seedling 8-10 cm above the level of the planting mound. Seedlings of low and medium-sized varieties of chestnut do not need to be overestimated. Attach the seedlings to a support to avoid damage during strong winds. After planting, water the plant abundantly with warm water.
Chestnut seeds (nuts) germinate well in the open field even without our intervention. Collect the fallen nuts in the fall and carry out the stratification procedure (cold aging). To do this, put the nuts in an open box, sprinkle with sand and refrigerate or in the basement for 10-12 days. Optimum temperature for stratification: + 5. + 6 ° С. Then you can place the seeds in open ground.
Loosen and spill the soil well with water, bury the nuts 5-6 cm at a distance of 10-15 cm from each other, then fill them with fallen leaves (no need to bury). That's all - the chestnut seeds are ready for wintering, and in the spring you will see green shoots, and all you have to do is thin out the seedlings, leaving the most powerful plants.
Fruits fallen in autumn should be covered with sand and stored all winter at a temperature of +5. + 6 ° C, and before planting in open ground for 5 days, place them in warm water. Then plant chestnut seeds in your favorite spot in the country. With such cultivation, one-year-old chestnuts will grow by 20-25 cm in a year, and at the age of five they grow up to 3 m in height.
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Ash is the most numerous and popular species of the Olive family. There are more than 50 species, mostly deciduous trees, but there are varieties in the form of a shrub.
Pennsylvania ash, or fluffy, grows up to 25 m in height. Young branches are felted and covered with dark brown bark. The leaf plate is pinnate, consists of 9 dark olive leaves, which do not change their color by autumn and fall green. Inflorescences are pale green, without aroma.
The species is fast-growing, gaining about 50 cm in height and 30 cm in width during the year. Lives up to 350 years. Ash grows in fertile soil and a sunny location. Although the variety is frost-hardy, it is not recommended to grow it in the northern regions.
The plant prefers moisture, therefore, needs regular watering
Common ash, or tall, (Fraxinus excelsior) reaches considerable sizes. There are quite massive specimens - 40 m. The bark is colored gray-green, which acquires an ashy color with age and becomes covered with cracks.
From the buds, odd-pinnate leaves of a light green color are formed. Snow-white inflorescences appear in early spring before foliage. After flowering, fruits are formed - lionfish, reaching a length of up to 5 cm. Fruits have a light olive color, turn brown and begin to ripen in autumn. They can keep on shoots all winter.
The homeland of tall ash is considered to be European countries and the Caucasus. Grows in fertile, slightly alkaline soil. In the southern regions of Russia, ash is grown as an ornamental plant to decorate a personal plot.
The common ash has a high and openwork crown
As you might guess from the name, this species came to our country from Manchuria, China, Japan and Korea. Grows in forests, on nutritious soil, next to the Japanese elm and Maximovich poplar. The long-liver grows up to 350 years.
The tree is dioecious; during flowering, it is covered with heterosexual flowers. The variety has an upright trunk, from which branches diverge obliquely. Reaches up to 35 m in height, and up to 15 m in diameter.
Manchurian ash is distinguished by its specific shape and type of leaf.
The bark is brown or ashy in color, has small cracks and longitudinal ribs up to 5 cm thick. Flowering begins in May and lasts until September. In place of flowers, fruits appear - lionfish, which last until spring. At the stage of ripening, they are colored olive.
By the end of ripening, flat lionfish acquire a brown tint.
Chinese ash, or ailanth, is a light-loving palm-like plant native to northern China. It grows throughout Russia and is widely used for landscaping settlements. The trunk is gray-brown in color with a grooved structure of a thin bark. The leaves are large, very similar to palm leaves, reaching a length of 60 cm. The yellow-green flowers are collected in large panicle inflorescences. Flowering begins in mid-summer. After the flowers, small red-brown fruits are formed, which stand out against the background of the olive foliage.
Ash flowers exude a not very pleasant aroma
This type of ash is fast-growing; by the age of five years of life, the tree reaches 5 m. Chinese ash, or the tree of the Gods, loves a lot of light and warmth. At a young age, the plant is not frost-resistant, but the frozen crown is well restored due to the rapid growth of young shoots. Thanks to its powerful roots, the plant can grow in an open, windy area.
In medicine, due to the rich chemical composition, leaves, bark, flowers and fruits are used. Fresh bark treats dysentery, flowers and foliage - scarlet fever and diphtheria, and fruits are prescribed for diseases of the genitourinary system. The leaves have antiviral, antimicrobial properties. Decoctions are made from the leaves, which are taken to treat fever.
The bark and leaves have irritating properties; when collecting raw materials, a pustular or blistering rash may appear.
A slender tall tree with an ovoid crown. The leaf is complex and rather large, reaches up to 30 cm in length, and consists of 5-9 leaf plates. American ash blooms in the first half of spring, before the appearance of young leaves. Fruiting begins at the end of summer. The fruits are rich in fats, so birds are very fond of them, and people use them in cooking. Begins to bear fruit from 25 to 40 years. The species is unpretentious, grows on slightly acidic fertile soil. Poorly tolerates dry weather. In natural growing conditions, it can be found next to oak, alder and maple. It is widely used in folk medicine. The bark and leaves are used to treat sciatica, the seeds are used to treat coughs, dropsy and liver disease.
One of the most revered trees in the Caucasus
Black ash, or brown, in comparison with other representatives of this family, is relatively small in size - no more than 20 m in height. The species is widespread in North America, grows on swampy lands and along river banks, therefore, stagnant water in the soil is not afraid of it.
The plant is resistant to frost and does not release inflorescences. By the age of five, the tree grows up to 2 m. The leaf is complex, consists of 5-10 leaf plates of bright olive color.
In the first years after planting, a red chestnut seedling will need light shelter for the winter. The soil is mulched before winter with a thick layer of fallen leaves or sawdust. Small seedlings are wrapped in sackcloth entirely, in grown-ups - only stems.
This tree is very susceptible to frost breakers, therefore, at the end of winter, plantings should be periodically inspected and, in the event of breaks in the bark, measures should be taken: protect cracks and cover with bituminous varnish.
© Author: Kristina PANAEVA, St. Petersburg