Fir Trees On The Plot. Types And Use Of Fir In Landscape Design
Fir Trees On The Plot. Types And Use Of Fir In Landscape Design

Video: Fir Trees On The Plot. Types And Use Of Fir In Landscape Design

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Video: How conifers can transform your garden 2023, February
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Manchurian fir
Manchurian fir

To the genus firincludes more than 40 species growing in the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere. At first, not too attentive glance, they are very similar to spruce, especially from a distance. Only they are slimmer, more peaked, and their crown is flawlessly symmetrical. The bark of most species is smooth, thin and shiny, contains a large amount of tannins, therefore it is used for tanning leather. Under it, in thin-bore species, numerous nodules are located. Thick-bore firs almost do not have them. The largest number of nodules is formed in balsam and Siberian fir. The nodules contain fir balsam, which is a thick transparent liquid. It is used for bonding optical glasses in microscopy and is also a good wound healing agent. For example, fir balsam with castor oil (1:2) inhibits the development of anaerobic bacteria and prevents the occurrence of gas gangrene.

On an industrial scale, it is harvested using special metal vessels with a sharp nose, with which the nodules are pierced. The flowing balm is then collected in these vessels. Small amounts of it can be harvested for yourself by cutting the nodules vertically, like a boil, and then squeezing their contents into a test tube or other vessel. With proper care, this tree is practically not damaged, and the wounds quickly overgrow. Up to 50 g of balm can be obtained from one medium-aged tree at a time. Re-mining of the balm is usually possible in 2-3 years.

Fir needles are leathery, flat and soft (only in a few species - hard and prickly), dark green above, grooved; below it is whitish. It contains about 14% resin, from which turpentine and rosin can be obtained in the future. And also there is fir essential oil, which is used to make synthetic camphor. It is also used in perfumery, soap making and alcoholic beverage production. In addition, fresh needles contain 0.32% vitamin C, which is a lot. Therefore, a decoction of young needles and fir buds is an excellent antiscorbutic agent. It is better to harvest it with needles in winter, at this time it contains the maximum amount of vitamin C. In addition, harvested at this time, it can be stored several times longer than in summer. In warm weather - no more than a week. Moreover,a decoction of pine needles is used by folk medicine as a diuretic and antirheumatic agent.

Fir phytoncides have a detrimental effect on many pathogens. Their cones are abundantly saturated with resin, and they do not hang, like those of firs, but stand like "candles". Unripe bumps are recognized by folk medicine as a good remedy for the treatment of rheumatism and colds of the feet. They are poured with boiling water, and legs are warmed over this steam. When ripe (in late autumn or winter), their scales crumble, and only a core remains from the cone. Therefore, if necessary, keeping a fir cone intact is difficult, you have to saturate it with glue.

The name of these conifers has boreal roots. For example, in Finnish and Karelian, pihka means resin, in Vepsian pihk - a dense forest, in Vodian pihku - pine, and in German - Fihte - spruce. The Latin pix is ​​similar and sounding close to the Russian groin (smell). That is, initially the root of all these words meant - smelling trees, it referred to all conifers.

Fir is a dark coniferous species, they are very shade-tolerant, therefore they are very suitable for planting in shady places, although they grow well in full light. Fir trees are wind-resistant. They are relatively demanding on soil fertility, soil moisture, and especially air. These plants are gas and smoke unstable, therefore they are not very suitable for urban greening. They are very good for decorating garden plots, especially as focal plants, like tapeworms (singly) on lawns, or in pairs - on the sides of gates or gates. They can also be used to create curtains, dense high hedges, shady alleys. Their dark green crowns dropped to the ground create a special visual effect. The lower branches lying on the ground are capable of giving adventitious roots, turning into layers. Fir trees can easily tolerate pruning and shearing of branches.Small firs are very often placed as Christmas trees, especially in Western Europe and America. There, special plantations are created to grow them.

Fir propagates by seeds, and decorative forms - by cuttings, layering and grafting. Fresh seed germination in most species is quite low, usually around 50%. When sown in a year, it drops to 30%, and after two years the seeds completely lose their germination. Therefore, it is best to sow them in the fall, immediately after collection. Rodents do not eat fir seeds. From pests, trees can be damaged by Hermes, and from diseases, some species are affected by stem rot.

Although many species of fir are very winter-hardy, there are many among them that do not sufficiently possess this property, and therefore are severely damaged by frost in the conditions of the Northwest. When buying planting material, this should always be remembered. Non-susceptible, for example, are Caucasian fir (Nordman), white (European or comb), great and others, which should be taken into account when purchasing planting material. Especially of foreign origin. So that readers are not mistaken when choosing, below I give a description of some of the most suitable species of fir for cultivation in the North-West.

Siberian fir
Siberian fir

Siberian fir(Abies sibirica Ldb.) Is the only type of fir that naturally grows in the Northwest, and even then only in the east of the Vologda and Arkhangelsk regions. The main part of its range, as the name implies, is located in Siberia (Western and partly Eastern), in the Sayan Mountains, Altai and the Urals. It is the most common of all Russian fir. Siberian fir is a tree up to 30 m high and 55 cm in diameter. The bark is smooth, dark gray. Under it are numerous nodules filled with aromatic balm. Her crown is narrow pyramidal. Living branches extend from the very base of the trunk. Her needles are flat, narrow-linear with a rounded apex up to 30 mm long, soft, dark green, shiny. They persist on a tree for 7-10 years. This fir begins to bear fruit at the age of 20 (at large). Cones are oval-cylindrical, sitting at the ends of branches,light brown, resinous, up to 9 cm long and 4 cm wide, they ripen in August – September. The mass of 1000 seeds is 10.5 g, the germination rate of even fresh seeds is quite low - about 50%, after a year it drops to 30%. At 10 years old, young trees reach a height of two meters, and at 20 - 5.5 m.

Siberian fir satisfactorily tolerates excessive flowing moisture. Loves relatively rich loamy soils. Can grow on limestone. It is very frost and winter hardy, but suffers from spring return frosts, however, without serious consequences. Lives up to 300 years. Mature trees are often affected by heart rot. She has the following decorative garden forms: Araucarioides, Candelabrum, Columnaris, Pendula; dwarf - Monstrosa, Nana; variegated - Variegata, Glauca, Viridis, as well as long-coniferous - Longifolia.

Manchurian fir
Manchurian fir

Fir whole-leaved, synonyms - Manchurian, black (Abies holophylla Maxim.) - grows naturally in the south of Primorsky Krai. Mature trees are up to 50 m high and 1.5 m in diameter. Live up to 500 years. Up to 10 years, fir grows slowly, then growth accelerates and becomes rapid. The crown is dense, broadly conical, spreading. The root system is extensive and deep. The bark is rough, flaking, thick, in young trees it is grayish-brown, in old trees it is dark brown. Shoots are longitudinally furrowed. The needles are comb, hard, pointed, prickly, up to 42 mm long; top - shiny, dark green, bottom - matte. Cones up to 10 cm long and 4 cm wide, oval-cylindrical. Whole-leaved fir is more demanding for light than other species (medium shade tolerant). It is hardy, winters well in the Leningrad region, but young shoots suffer from spring frosts.Relatively demanding on soil fertility and air humidity. She prefers humified well-drained loams and sandy loams, moist, but not waterlogged. It is almost not affected by pests and fungal diseases. This is one of the most decorative types of fir.

Sakhalin fir
Sakhalin fir

Sakhalin fir (Abies sachalinensis Fr. Schmidt). It grows in Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands. Reaches a height of 30 m and a diameter of 0.7 m. Lives up to 200 years. Its crown is dense, the branches are horizontal, the lower ones are drooping. The bark of young trees is smooth, light gray, in old trees it is thick, longitudinally fissured, grayish-reddish. The needles are up to 3.5 cm long, the top is dark green, the bottom is with two white stripes. Cones are oval-cylindrical, dark brown, up to 8 cm long. The seeds ripen in September - October. She is hardy. This species is picky about air humidity. Mature trees suffer greatly from stem rot. The last two factors significantly reduce the value of this species as a breed for landscape design.

White fir
White fir

White fir, synonyms - Okhotsk, budscale (Abies nephrolepis Maxim.). It grows in the Far East from South Primorye to Ulbansky and Nikolai bays, and to the west - to the middle reaches of the Selemdzhi River. Lives up to 180 years. It is relatively fast growing. The most common type of fir in the Far East. Trees up to 30 m tall and 45 cm in diameter. It is very similar to Siberian fir, but differs in a wider and thicker crown, light silver-gray smooth bark, rusty-pubescent shoots and red buds. The needles are dense, flat, soft, dark green above, below - with two white stripes, up to 25 mm long. Cones - up to 8 cm long, young - crimson, then dark purple, mature - brown. More demanding for high humidity. White-barked fir prefers deep loose fresh loam and sandy loam.In the Northwest, it is quite winter-hardy, but it is affected by late spring frosts. Severely damaged by stem rot. It has no particular advantages for landscape design over other types.

Balsam fir
Balsam fir

Balsam fir (Abies balsamea Mill.). Exotic from North America. In the USA and Canada, it occupies vast areas as the main forest-forming species - from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. The tree is up to 27 m tall and 50 cm in diameter. In Russia in culture since the beginning of the XIX century. The structure of the trunk and crown is in many ways similar to Siberian fir and other species. Her root system is deep. The bark is smooth, in young trees it is light, and in old trees it is dark gray, almost black. Under it is a large number of nodules with balsam. Shoots are yellowish gray. The needles are comb, dull, up to 28 mm long, fragrant, dark green, shiny; bottom - with white stripes. Cones up to 10 cm in size, highly resinous, young are dark purple, ripe ones are brownish-gray. Seed germination is low - 25–30%.

Balsam fir is frost and winter hardy, but at a young age it is damaged by late spring frosts. It is less shade-tolerant than other species. Relatively fast growing, at 10 years old fir reaches a height of 1.5 m, and at 20 - already about 8 m. Loves fertile fresh loamy soils, but grows relatively well in wet and swampy areas. This is in some cases very valuable for landscape design. It is less durable - it can live up to 150 years. Balsam fir is sensitive to dry air. The famous Canadian balm is obtained from its nodules. It has many beautiful and original forms: slow growing (dwarf) - Compacta, Globosa and Hudsonia - well suited for the design of alpine slides. Variegated - Aalbida, Marginata and Glauca, as well as other decorative forms.

Most of the other species of fir are either not hardy enough for the conditions of the North-West, for example, Caucasian (Nordmann), European (white), monochromatic and others. Or they are relatively rare, endemic, so their planting material is difficult to obtain. Such are, for example, Kamchatka, Okhotsk and others. Moreover, they do not have special advantages, and often simply pronounced external differences from the types described above. Therefore, they are not of independent interest for landscape design.

After several decades, fir trees of most species and shapes for a small backyard can become large and have to be replaced. And although their white, light and soft wood, practically without resinous passages, is somewhat inferior to spruce in its mechanical properties, nevertheless, it is quite suitable for construction, and is highly valued in the production of musical instruments. Therefore, the trunks of overgrown trees that have lost their aesthetic value and are subject to felling will always find application in their summer cottage. But fir wood is of little use for firewood: it burns poorly and gives a lot of soot.

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