Useful information

Shrub amorph - blue acacia

Amorph's name (Amorpha) - "shapeless" - was given to this bean shrub by Karl Linnaeus due to the "irregular" shape of the flower corolla, which, instead of five petals necessary for a "normal" flower (2 make up a boat; 2 - oars; and 1 - a sail), there is only one sail. The flower, devoid of most of the details it should be, looks really strange. If the stamens of peas and lupine are "disguised" inside the corolla, then in the amorph they stick out in plain sight - yellow on a blue background. The amorphous inflorescence is also exotic - a dense narrow-conical panicle.

Despite all of the above "defects", amorphous is one of the most beautiful flowering shrubs in its family.

 

Shrub amorph

 

Will it endure - fall in love?

Our country garden is diverse in its relief, soil conditions, and lighting options. Due to the unique microclimate, plants take root in it, which, according to book information, are risky to plant even in Voronezh. Subtropical paulownia, for example, has been growing since 2004, and there has not yet been any signal from her that she might ever get tired of it. Belamcanda, which connoisseurs consider extremely finicky, not only grows, but also generates viable seeds. Magnolia cobus practically does not freeze with wood, and blooms every year. And once every 3-4 years - a talus.

Actually, in terms of the reliability of exotic shrub trees, I'm a skeptic-pragmatist, and I'm not fourteen years old to be a reckless optimist. I understand perfectly well that any of these persons may one day freeze out. And not something like that I have ever seen!

About the amorph in the old book it is written in black and white: “it can withstand frosts down to -18 ° C”. Another source gives it a little more - minus 20оС. - How can this shrub tolerate minus -30оС without signs of freezing, and only slightly freeze at -35оС !? I ask a rhetorical question. My version of the answer - the above data on the frost resistance of amorphous were blindly borrowed by the authors from foreign sources. I myself once read the same -18 ° C figure in a translated English book. Amorpha there, by the way, united into one company with a strawberry tree and a palm-shaped maple - and these guys are not really a friend of Santa Claus.

In our family garden, this pretty shrub appeared so long ago that no one can remember where it actually came from. Since the topography of the site resembles mountainous Switzerland, and the soils are very diverse, I experienced amorphous in the most opposite conditions. It turned out that she agrees to grow even under the canopy of trees, on the cold, light loamy northern slope. But the shrub reached its most lush development on a completely open southern slope with sandy loam soil. At the same time, wherever the amorph grew, not a single plant not only fell out, but practically did not freeze.

In general, not everything that “cannot be cut down with an ax” can be trusted!

Shrub amorph

 

Acacia: white, yellow, Amur ... Let it be blue too!

                                                                     

Russians habitually operate with the word "acacia", not even suspecting that those whom they have in mind have nothing to do with real acacias. Under the name of yellow acacia, we have a tree caragana (Caraganaarborescens). The name white acacia firmly clung to the robinia pseudoacacia (Robiniapsendoacacia)... Amur acacia is usually called the Amur maakia (Maachiaamurensis). 

Why are these three acting under pseudonyms? Everything is explained by the similarity of their leaves with the leaves of real acacias. (Acacia). And they are, as a rule, large in acacias, and have a complex double-pinnate structure, like frond in some ferns. In this case, the terminal lobes of the leaves look like small (or very small) oval leaves. There are often several hundred such leaves on one sheet. Imaginary acacias also have complex leaves, but they are significantly inferior to the real ones in both the size of the leaves and the number of shares in them. Caragana has 8-14 of them, Robinia - 7-19, Maakia - from 11 to 23.

Shrub amorph

But let us finally turn to our heroine amorph. Her leaves are also pinnately dissected, and the number of leaves (there are from 13 to 41), she surpasses all the above-mentioned "acacia". It seems, who, if not her, should be called an acacia? If the amorph could speak, she probably would have protested against her dissonant name herself:

- Don't call me that! Why am I worse than others ?! Call me acacia. Blue acacia!

So, from this very moment we will agree. There is no shrub amorph, let's forget this strange name. It does not suit a beauty. "Blue acacia" - this is how this shrub should be called!

So you know

 

Genus acacia(Acacia) in the legume family it is one of the largest (more than 1300 species). True acacias are, as a rule, trees, less often shrubs adapted to the hot climate of deserts and savannas. Russians for the most part have no idea about real acacias. The only acacia that an ordinary Russian can see is the well-known "mimosa", it is also a silvery acacia (Acacia dealbata), a tree native to Australia, widely cultivated in the Caucasus.

Rod Amorph (Amorpha) the legume family has about 18 species of shrubs, and they all grow in the subtropical zone of North America. Shrub amorph (Amorpha fruticosa) is the most frost-hardy - it is the only one not only able to winter in central Russia, but it blooms and bears fruit. Amorph is a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub 180-200 (250) cm high with a dense, almost spherical crown. The leaves of the amorph are pinnate, consist of 13-41 neat oval leaves, which have a rather strong characteristic odor when rubbed.

Shrub amorphShrub amorph

Bees like it too

Among the tree-like legumes, there are many outstanding melliferous plants. The honey productivity of Robinia, for example, is estimated at 800 kg from a conditionally solid hectare. Caragana can produce 350 kg of honey per hectare of planting. Russian broom is also a good honey plant; it is capable of producing 100 kg / ha. There is little information about the amorph as a honey plant. There is information that in the Chernozem region, continuous amorphous plantings yield 50-100 kg of honey per hectare.

It is believed that the arid south is more suitable as a melliferous amorphous plant (Astrakhan, Volgograd, Rostov regions; Stavropol and Kuban). Amorph is attractive for its late and rather long flowering. Blooms in late June - early July and blooms for 3-4 weeks. Meanwhile, it may turn out to be interesting for the Non-Black Earth Region. According to our observations, bees actively visit it, collect nectar and a bright orange polish from it. In the Non-Black Earth Region, where there is more than enough free land, amorph can be planted on fallow lands and in inconvenience, as a safety melliferous plant. We have amorphous flowers in bloom almost all of July, sometimes its flowering goes to the beginning of August. Thus, she can provide supportive late-summer bribes.

For beekeepers, the shrub is attractive because of its extreme unpretentiousness to soil conditions, so it can be recommended for planting apiaries in areas with marginal podzolic soils, and on lean sandy loam. Casing costs will be justified in any case, because amorphous is very durable. And planting material is easy to grow from seeds.

 

American amorph in your garden

Amorph is completely undemanding to soil fertility, but prefers light, well-drained and aerated soils. In our garden, she grew beautifully on a steep slope with skinny sandy loam. Such unpretentiousness for legumes is typical and is explained by the presence of nodule bacteria on their roots, with the help of which the plants "feed" themselves with nitrogen. At the same time, there are two most important factors that must be taken into account so that the shrub does not experience oppression. The soil should be sufficiently light, permeable, and insolation constant and complete.

 

Landing site.The soil. Amorph tolerates shade, but grows much better in fully open areas. It's not bad if it's sheltered from the cold winds.Groundwater, the deeper the better, but not closer than 150 cm.

When planting a separate bush, a hole is dug with a depth and diameter of about 50 cm. The planting place is filled with a mixture of turf soil, humus and sand 1: 1: 2. It is also useful to add ash (half a bucket per seat) and (or) a mineral NPK mixture - 80-100 g there.

Fertilizer.Watering. Unpretentiousness - unpretentiousness, but good care has not harmed anyone yet. Fertilizer has a beneficial effect on the development of amorphous and its decorative effect. The main thing is not to use fresh organic matter and to apply fertilizers in doses - in small doses, but more often, alternating their different types: humus and composts, ash, mineral water, fallen leaves, etc.

Although the roots of the amorph are well anchored, digging the trunk circle is still undesirable. It is better to fertilize the shrub superficially by mulching. It is advisable to add mulch with a layer of 4-5 cm 1-2 times per season, in the interval from May to October, within a radius of 50-60 cm from the center of tillering. From time to time, combining this with weeding and loosening, fertilizer is embedded in the lower horizons of the soil.

As mulch, you can use stale humus and composts, or even just highly fertile leafy soil. An excellent mulch is leaf humus or the leaves of broad-leaved species such as linden, maple, oak, alder. Ranging with organic matter, you can practice dry fertilizing with mineral water, pouring NPK mixture or superphosphate granules around the trunk - 10-15 g per bush.

As for watering, then, when planting on flat terrain, in years with average precipitation, it is practically not needed. In dry years or in the absence of rainfall for a long time, watering is recommended at least once a week. It is advisable to do this in the evening, in small doses, but more often. In order not to form a crust, the soil at the foot of the bush needs to be loosened from time to time or shallowly hoed.

 

Reproduction. Amorph can be propagated by green cuttings or seeds. The amorphous fruit is a short pod with one, rarely two disc-shaped seeds, similar to a reduced seed of a lentil. Our experience with seed propagation shows that it is less laborious and more reliable than cuttings.

Those who want to propagate amorph by the seed method should know that the fruits must be harvested after their browning - not earlier than mid-September, and immediately sown to a depth of 1-3 cm - in rows with row spacing of 10-15 cm. In one or two- in summer, seedlings should be planted on bOlarger food area or in containers.

Amorphous seedlings develop quite quickly. At the age of two, they reach a height of 30-50 cm, and at the age of 4 they bloom. By the age of 9-10, the shrub reaches full development and subsequently grows in almost the same framework. It is better to plant young plants not older than 3-4 years in a permanent place - they take root better.

 

If the bush is frozen. In severe frosts, the ends of the branches can freeze at the amorphous. And in extremely harsh winters, it can freeze over and on the snow cover. I have never personally witnessed more severe injuries. Fortunately, the amorphous root system never suffers, and the crown of the shrub is easy to correct by pruning. To do this, you need to wait for the leaves to completely dissolve and remove the frost-damaged twigs with shrub scissors to healthy wood.

You will find out - you will love

With all due respect to flowers, the main decoration of all acacias, real and imaginary, is still leaves. In our middle lane, such leaves are not found in nature. Therefore, their openwork ligature is so striking. The leaves of the amorph are the most spectacular of the "acacias", and are inferior in beauty only to the "silk acacia" cultivated in our south - the Lankaran albicia (Albiziajulibrissin)... This subtropical tree, by the way, is located very close to real acacias on the botanical "family tree".

Amorph has the valuable quality of keeping the leaves fresh all season long. After the first night frosts, her leaves turn yellow, but they continue to stick to the bush.They usually fall off in mid-October and everything at once, almost simultaneously. But even after the fall of leaves, the amorphous bushes remain attractive due to the pleasant-looking yellowish-green bark and the peculiar graphics of the branches.

Amorph has not yet attracted close attention of landscapers. They haven't figured it out yet. After all, she has several qualities that are valuable from the point of view of practical gardening. It retains its decorative effect from the moment the leaves dissolve to leaf fall; it does not need to be watered or fertilized; it is resistant to urban gas pollution. In general, this is one of the few truly maintenance-free shrubs.

 

The fence. Array. Cutting and shaping amorphous

If the shrub is planted with a line after 40-50 cm, the plants will soon close into a solid hedge with a height of about 2 m. Smoothing the hedge from above and from the sides, you can significantly enhance its decorative effect. With a deeper haircut from an amorphous, it is not difficult to form a low, 100-150 cm high, geometric hedge, or a wide border 70-80 cm high. Since the shrub is excellently bushy, it is not difficult to cut it. Large leaves do not allow achieving ideal cleanliness of the haircut, but, despite this, molded amorphous "products" are very decorative.

Several amorphous bushes growing nearby

Several bushes planted in a "square-nested" way 50-60 cm apart from each other eventually merge into one solid massif. Arrays look good at the foot of large trees.

Single plants, formed in the form of hemispheres or pillows, look interesting. In order for the crown of the bush to have a high density, it is shown to be cut at least 3-4 times per season.

Photo by the author

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