Edible seed conifers include Italian Pine or Pinia. It grows throughout the Mediterranean, in Russia - only on the Black Sea coast. Species plants and the Silver crest variety are used in culture. Growing and caring for Silvercrest pine is possible only in the frost resistance zone 7, and according to the American Coniferous Society - 8. In Germany, small specimens of botanical gardens are planted in greenhouses.
It is interesting that the fairytale hero Pinocchio was made from the log of Italian Pine. And it was to the trunk of this tree that the beard of Karabas Barabas stuck.
Description of Silver Crest pine
Unlike the Italian pine species, Silvercrest grows in size more slowly. But it still refers to fast-growing conifers, adding about 30 cm annually.The height of the Silvercrest pine at 10 years is about 3 m, the maximum is 15 m.
Important! The cooler the climate, the slower and lower the culture grows.
Small plants about 20 cm in height, which sometimes go on sale, have an indistinct crown. Later, the tree becomes like a spherical shrub. But the description and photo of the mature Silvercrest pine show a plant of its original form. Except for Pinia, this is typical only for Nelson's pine.
The Silvercrest's trunk is short, often curved. Branches are horizontal, long branches rise at an angle of 30-60 °, the tips are directed strictly vertically. They form a very wide, flat, umbrella-like crown.
Silvercrest pine bark is thick, young - smooth, first gray-green, then yellow-brown. The old one is covered with deep longitudinal cracks, with a color ranging from reddish-gray to gray-brown. The edges of the exfoliated plates are almost black.
The buds are ovoid, with a sharp tip, covered with red-brown scales with a silvery fringe-like edge, ranging in size from 6 to 12 mm. Rigid needles of the Silvercrest line are assembled in pairs, 10-12 cm long, up to 2 mm wide. The needles are colored silver-green and live for 1-3 years.
Cones are often single, very rarely collected in 2 or 3, large, ovoid with a rounded top, 8-15 cm long, in the thickest place with a diameter of 5-11 cm. Ripen in the third year. Silvercrest buds are green at first. Then they turn brown, with strongly convex growths on the scales. At the end of the third season, the seeds fall off, and the cones can hang on the tree for another 2-3 years.
The largest seeds among the pines are from the Italian one: there are only 1500 pieces per 1 kg. They are edible and in high demand. It tastes better than pine nuts, which are actually also pine seeds.
The color of the shell is light brown, often with whitish spots. The seeds can be up to 2 cm long, the wing is absent or rudimentary.
Where does the Silvercrest pine grow
Descriptions and photos of the Silver crest pine show that it is a very beautiful tree. But it will winter without shelter only at a temperature not lower than -12 ° C. Some sources claim that the culture is able to endure -16 ° C for a short time. But, for example, in the Moscow region, pine can not be grown.
Even if the culture successfully survives several mild winters, it will still die at the first frost, which is common for the Middle Belt.
Important! In addition, the type of pinia reacts extremely negatively to sudden changes in temperature.
So the cultivation of Silvercrest pine in the garden is possible on the territory of the countries of the former Soviet Union only on the Black Sea coast, and even then not everywhere. In other regions, she will die at the first weather cataclysm.
Silvercrest Pine loves warm, dry and loose soil. It grows on sandy loam and calcareous soils. Loves the sun and cannot stand waterlogging. It is resistant to windblowing, but strong gusts can make the crown asymmetrical.
Planting and caring for Silver crest pine
Actually, the cultivation and care of the Italian pinia pine does not present any particular difficulties. It's just that here it can exist only in a limited area. Northerners and residents of regions with a temperate climate will not be able to plant it.
Seedling and planting plot preparation
Silvercrest pine cannot be planted on overlapping areas. Even a large drainage layer may not be enough, it is better to make a rocky or sandy embankment, arrange a terrace.
The hole is dug the same as for other conifers - the depth should be equal to the height of the earthen coma plus at least 20 cm for drainage. Diameter - 1.5-2 times the width of the root system.
If the soil is rocky, there is no need to remove foreign matter. If necessary, add sand, turf and lime. A starting fertilizer is applied under the seedlings with an earthen root sheathed with burlap.
But Silvercrest pine is best bought in a container. Moreover, the tree must already acquire its inherent form and be at least 50 cm tall.
The 20-centimeter trees sold in pallets are usually discarded, and therefore are cheap. Here, first of all, you need to make sure that the Silver crest pine is alive. She should have flexible, lively needles, it is advisable to pull the tree out of the pot and examine the root. But especially hope that the wood from the pallet will take root is not worth it.
Drainage is poured into the prepared planting pit, which can be:
- expanded clay;
- crushed stone;
- screening out;
- broken red brick;
Fill it 2/3 with a substrate, fill it with water. Allow to settle. Not earlier than in 2 weeks you can start planting:
- Part of the earth is taken out of the pit.
- The seedling is placed in the center. In this case, the root collar should be located at the same level with the soil surface.
- Gradually fill up the substrate. At the same time, it is carefully, but not too tightly tamped.
- A roller is formed along the perimeter of the landing pit.
- Water abundantly.
- The soil is mulched.
Watering and feeding
At first, the Italian Silvercrest pine is often watered so that the soil does not dry out under it. But excess water can cause root rot. When the tree takes root, watering is reduced to scarce. Moisturizing should be rare, but very abundant. About once a month (if there was no rain at all), about 50 liters of water is poured under each tree.
Important! Pine Italian Silvercrest - just the culture that is better to underfill than to pour.
Unlike soil, the air must be humid. Therefore, pineapple grows, for the most part, in the coastal regions. So the sprinkling of the crown should be the more often the drier the air. They may have to be done daily in the summer.
You need to feed the pine regularly only until the age of 10. In the spring she is given a complex fertilizer with a high nitrogen content, in the fall - a potassium-phosphorus fertilizer.
Foliar dressing, especially the chelate complex, is always beneficial for Silvercrest pine. Only they need to be done no more than 1 time in 2 weeks.
Mulching and loosening
It is necessary to loosen the soil under the Silvercrest pine only in the first and second year after planting. Then it is enough to mulch the near-trunk circle with coniferous bark, peat, rotted wood chips.
Pruning the Italian Silvercrest pine is needed in a complex of sanitary measures, when all dry, broken and diseased branches are removed. The variety does not need formative pruning. But for greater decorativeness, in the spring, they pinch young shoots by 1/3 or 1/2 of their length.
Advice! Dried young pine shoots will be an excellent vitamin supplement to tea. You just need to put them in a little, otherwise the drink will turn out to be bitter.
Preparing for winter
Covering a small tree is easy. And how to protect a 10-year-old pine tree that has reached 3 meters from frost. The tree will grow such a growth rather quickly, especially if you consider that high-quality seedlings should not be younger than 5 years. And what will happen to the mature Silvercrest pine when it stretches up to 12 meters? How to cover? Of course not, if there is a desire and money, it is possible. But is it not better to plant a crop on the site, in which winter hardiness will correspond to the climate?
So the Italian pine is for the southern coastal regions corresponding to the frost resistance zone of 7, and if the temperature "jumps", then 8. And there it is not necessary to cover it. If in winter there are still negative temperatures, protection is needed in the year of planting, in the following they simply increase the layer of mulch.
Features of Silvercrest pine care at home
Growing Silvercrest pine in a pot is a doomed business. Despite the fact that it is the pine that is often mentioned in books on indoor floriculture, it is unsuitable for keeping indoors. Absolutely. True, in the south, the culture is grown on glazed cool loggias.
Although it can be used to make bonsai, even specialists rarely contact the Italian Silvercrest pine. And not because it is difficult to create a miniature with a flat root from it. The difficulty lies precisely in the maintenance of the tree.
Very cool (4-6 ° С) light wintering, absence of temperature drops, to which the pine in "captivity" is even more sensitive than in the ground - all this can be provided only in a specially equipped room.
So, if the house does not have a climate-controlled winter garden, you can forget about growing Silvercrest pine at home.
Important! The only ephedra that can be grown as a houseplant is araucaria.
Reproduction of Italian pine
Growing pine pines from seeds and grafting - this is the only way the culture multiplies. It is impossible to make a layering, since the branches are directed upwards and are located high, and the cuttings practically do not take root.
But the seeds germinate well, without stratification. But in the next 5 years, which must pass before planting in the ground, young pines gradually die. When picking, during multiple transplants, from overflow and overdrying, rust and black leg.
Self-propagation of pine by Italian amateurs usually ends in failure.
Diseases and pests
In general, the Italian Silvercrest pine, planted in the south, is a healthy crop. Of course, it can be struck by diseases or pests, but this rarely happens. Common troubles include:
- Mealybug, which usually appears when an infected tree appears on an area. Or due to sprinkling of the crown late in the evening, when the needles remain wet at night.
- Spider mite, the appearance of which is associated with dry air.
- Rot caused by overflow.
- Tar crayfish or blister rust, which is the real scourge of the Pine genus.
In order for the Silvercrest pinia to be healthy, you need to plant it in the "right" place, regularly sprinkle the crown in the early evening, prevent overflows, and do preventive treatments. And also inspect the crown to identify problems at an early stage.
Growing and caring for Silvercrest pine will not be difficult, even for novice gardeners. But you can plant a crop only in the southern regions. Perhaps someday pine varieties will be developed for the temperate climate and the North, but so far they do not exist.