Before considering private recommendations, it is useful to get acquainted with the general and specific causes of problems
Disease is always the result of any disturbances in the way of life necessary for a given plant, i.e. stressful situations. Moreover, plants do not immediately signal their discomfort. And only when the stock of one's own strength ends, the first signs appear.
The primary variant of the violation, as a rule, is not associated with any biological pathogen, but is caused by:
1. Injury to the root system during transplantation. Even small seedlings, taking root, "get sick", shedding the lower leaves. Large tree crops adapt to a new place for at least two years;
2. Long-term cultivation of a seedling according to agricultural technology, far from optimal:
- the acid-base balance of the soil is disturbed, leading to mineral deficiencies, i.e. lack of one or another battery. In man-made territories, plants are "prisoners" of man. It depends on him what the plant will "eat". Will we put him on a "nitrogen" diet in pursuit of gains, or give him a full meal, or will not feed him at all;
- unsuitable physical condition of the soil,
- non-compliance with lighting requirements, etc.;
3. Growing plants in climatic conditions that are far from the optimum. The passion for collecting, and, at times, just the charm of the beauty of the "stranger", often push us to buy plants from southern latitudes. Here, the human's task is to help the plant survive and acclimatize, of course, if at all possible.
On the other hand, natural disasters (prolonged high-temperature drought or rainy period with low summer temperatures, very low winter temperatures), which are not typical for the region under consideration, also affect the health of plants.
If these causes are not eliminated for a long time, the plants are significantly weakened, become vulnerable and are attacked by pathogenic fungi, bacteria or viruses. Thus, already "real" infectious diseases appear, which in some cases lead to the death of plants. This is already a secondary, next reason in the sequence of plant ailments.
At the third stage, when the plant is already strongly weakened by the action of the previous factors, it becomes "in the teeth" and the army of pests. The very fact of the appearance of pests on the plant already testifies to long-standing problems. On healthy, strong specimens, pests do not settle.
This is how schematically, through a sequence of stress factors, it is possible to represent the process of increasing plant ailments, and, consequently, to carry out diagnostics. And the correct diagnosis is almost guaranteed cure.
It is a known fact that nature has laid a certain self-defense mechanism in the genetic program of plants. When exposed to any type of phytopathogen: whether it is a natural factor or the negligence / illiteracy of the plant owner, whether it be pathogens (fungi or bacteria) or the actions of pests, a sequence of protective reactions occurs in plants that prevent cell death. Since the struggle takes place at the cellular level, only commensurate "opponents" should be considered. Of course, a person with his intentions also appears to plants as a phytopathogen, but the forces are far from equal. And human actions can both kill the flora and help it cope with problems.
At the present time, it has been possible to find out that there are substances whose action on plants leads to an increase in the plant's defense reaction. These substances are called elicitors. This action is characteristic of formulations containing:
- chitosan, obtained from the shell of crabs, the most widespread organic polymer in the animal world (drugs Narcissus, Ecogel);
- triterpenic acids (preparations Immunocytofit, El, Amulet).
Treatment with these (one of the indicated) drugs is already a kind of health guarantee. You should not, of course, plant plants on the "needle", processing plants "wholeheartedly" weekly. Enough double treatment in the first half of the season (as a rule, at the beginning of the growing season and during the budding period). Any stimulation should not replace traditional nurturing care.
But the third type of elicitors - soil microorganisms (preparations Baikal, Vozrozhdenie, Vostok-M1) can and should be used throughout the growing season. In Central Russia during the growing season, there is not enough heat for the natural reproduction of soil microflora, and even in winter, most of it dies. It is the soil microflora that ensures soil fertility, displaces pathogenic microflora, and to a greater extent meets the needs of plants for carbon dioxide. Namely, the latter is the supplier of the main building material - carbon. It is according to this scheme that nature untouched by man lives. Hence, the task of a person in man-made territories is to introduce it, microflora, using appropriate preparations.
The described general approach to plant care primarily refers to conifers. This is due to the fact that they are evergreen crops. And they respond to unacceptable influences, by the loss of part of the coverage, for a number of species irrevocably, which significantly worsens the decorative qualities. Perhaps only thuja and cypress trees are able to quickly "lick" wounds.
Now we will consider the above reasons for the ailment already specifically for the representatives of the coniferous world.
So, non-parasitic influences.
It is preferable to replant conifers during the dormant period. And the older the seedling, the harder it is to follow this rule. It is customary to replant large-sized trees with a good lump of earth (it is provided by the seller or nursery) either in the fall or in the winter (special technology). Plants in containers can be replanted throughout the growing season. For better survival, it is imperative to soak the root ball well (soak for at least a day in plain water). Particularly caring farmers can be advised to withstand a lump in a solution of one of the growth stimulants of the root system: Zircon, Humate, Ecogel, etc. But the duration of this stage should not exceed 15-20 hours. Otherwise, the process will be inhibited. Soaking procedures can be carried out without removing the container. If the container is large, then after planting it is necessary to spill the root ball well with water, and then, after 7-10 days, sprinkle the crown with a stimulant solution.
As a rule, plants planted according to these rules take root well, although it has been established that complete rooting for conifers occurs only after 2-3 years.
What should never be done is to purchase coniferous planting material with an open root system. Plants will certainly die and no amount of soaking will help.
Violations of cultivation agrotechnology
The requirement of any plant to soil solution reactions is determined by the ability to assimilate a particular nutritional element. It is known that the bulk of mineral macroelements (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium) is maximally assimilated in the pH range from 6 to 7. At the same values, the biotic activity (of soil microorganisms) and the process of humus formation are also optimal. On the contrary, for the assimilation of microelements, the extreme pH values of soil solutions are most preferable. Iron, manganese, copper and zinc have their optimum at pH10.
The root system of most conifers lives in symbiosis with the soil micro-fungus-mycorrhiza, which mediates the transfer of nutrients from the soil to the root. And the requirement of an acidic environment is the requirement of mycorrhiza. Therefore, for the bulk of coniferous plants, a soil with an acidic reaction of the medium is preferable: pH 4.5-6.0.And only for Cossack juniper, berry yew and black pine, soil with a high calcium content is preferable, i.e. pH> 7.
The fact of preference for soil reaction is explained by the geographical origin of the species, and, therefore, when planting, one should adhere to the soil requirements of the species to which the selected coniferous plant belongs. If this parameter is not observed, metabolic processes in plants are disrupted, which manifests itself in a slowdown in growth, chlorotic color of needles, and even in a partial loss of growth, mainly in previous years.
Often the following fact takes place: the plant was planted according to all the rules and began to grow well. But after a while, the symptoms of malaise described above appeared. The use of hard (high calcium content) irrigation water is a significant factor in the subsequent change in soil acidity. To eliminate this effect, water should be watered with softened (with the addition of, for example, citric acid) water. The effect of "recovery" will surely come, however, it will not happen instantly, but within 1-2 months.
Equally important and physical condition of the soil, its structure... Ideally, this is a "spongy" state, where pores account for almost half of the soil volume. And the pores, in turn, are filled with water and air, practically in equal proportions. Calcium plays a significant role in maintaining this structure. This element is taken out of the soil with the removed plant residues (in particular, with fallen needles), washed out by washing water. As a result, over time, the soil under the plant becomes dusty, compacted and the root system begins to suffocate. Outwardly, this also manifests itself in a slowdown in growth and the appearance of chlorosis - a loss of green color. For conifers that prefer "breathing" soils, the problem is solved by annual mulching of the root ball zone with high-moor peat. But, depending on the type of coniferous seedling, the original, acidic peat is used (this is especially true for areas with hard irrigation water), or a neutralized version (for species that prefer a neutral soil reaction). Low-lying peat (black) is not suitable for these purposes, since it itself has no structure.
The requirements of conifers for soil fertility also vary. So, for example, fir and cypress trees prefer fertile and moist soils and air, and for junipers, even regardless of their origin (mountains or undergrowth), the air content of soils is primary.
Next Possible Mistake: Wrong Choice seedling location coniferous plant. Of course, violation of this parameter will not lead to the death of the plant, but it can significantly change the genetically established form. This effect is especially noticeable for dwarf plant variants that stretch in the shade. Although excessive "care" on the part of the farmer can lead to the same result: weekly treatment with stimulants, or overfeeding with nitrogen.
In this case, again, one should inquire about the geographical origin of the species of coniferous pet being purchased. Depending on the initial priorities, it is worth planting the plant. So, pines, junipers and larch trees are considered absolute sun-lovers. Ambiguous attitude, i.e. shading is allowed, and even preferably at noon, for firs and spruces. Photophilous, but completely shade-tolerant without deterioration of decorativeness, cypress, thuja and microbiota. Yews, tueviks and hemlock are preferred shade. However, in fairness, it should be said that all golden and variegated forms, regardless of the preferences of the genus and species, are planted in a sunny place to achieve the maximum color effect.
The view requirement for a shaded location can be circumvented by understanding what caused this condition.As a rule, all shadow lovers are very demanding on soil and air moisture, which is not easy to achieve in a sunny place in nature, but with human participation it is still possible (mulching the root zone, fairly frequent spraying, planting near a reservoir). In general, all conifers, without exception, respond well to air humidification. Spraying or irrigating the crown significantly increases the decorative effect of plants. Even pines, considered a drought-resistant genus, are embellished when sprinkled over the crown. This especially applies to 5-conifers (5 needles in a bunch) pines: Siberian cedar pine (Pinus sibirica), this is the one that is popularly called "cedar", Japanese pine, or white (Pinus parviflora), Weymouth Pine (Pinus strobus), Pine flexible (Pinusflexilis), Pine cedar elfin or cedar elfin (Pinus pumila). For them, the requirement for soil moisture (but not stagnant water) and air is simply a prerequisite for successful cultivation.
Locking the soil is generally unacceptable for any genus and species of conifers. Only plastic thuja western (Thujaoccidentalis) able to endure short-term standing of water. But the dryness of the soil and air, which usually occurs in the case of planting a number of plants along the fence, does not tolerate the thuja well. A huge number of cones appear, which reduce the decorative effect of the plantings.
TO "aliens "from southern latitudes more attention should be paid to adapt to the conditions of a different, more northern climatic zone. In the first years of life, it is imperative to cover the plants for the winter. For the crown, it is better to build a frame that can be covered either with a thick non-woven material, or, what is better, with a film that absorbs ultraviolet rays (Svetlitsa brand, Yuzhanka variety). It provides both insulation and guaranteed protection against burning. The fact is that the plants of the middle lane are endowed, albeit in varying degrees, with the ability to "survive" the state of physiological drought. This is when the crown is exposed to the drying action of the sun, wind and frost, and the root ball is frozen and cannot supply moisture. For people from southern latitudes, nature has not provided for such a protective mechanism, because there was no need for this.
The root ball for such plants must always be mulched well (leaf, peat) in order to reduce freezing. And one more point should be considered for such plants. Since autumn and winter temperatures do not differ so much in their homeland, the plants do not strive to complete the growing season and direct their efforts to ripening the shoots. Namely, unripe shoots are the first candidates for death in winter. Therefore, our task is to push plants with borderline winter hardiness to the end of the growing season and an increase in the degree of ripening of the shoots. And this can be done if, starting from July, the plants are sprayed with a solution containing potassium. It is the saturation of plant cells with this element that contributes to its winter hardiness. The most suitable for this purpose is potassium monophosphate (mineral fertilizer) or potassium sulfate. Plants are sprayed 2-3 times in 2-3 weeks with 1% solution. Several years of such adaptation measures will allow to "tame" a beginner. And the fact is known that frost resistance increases with age.
This is how, by analyzing and eliminating the possible causes of stress conditions that are not associated with parasitic effects, you can grow beautiful and lush conifers.
I would like to talk about one more type of such factors. These are natural anomalies that humans cannot prevent. But it is in his power to soften their effect and alleviate the subsequent suffering of plants.
In recent years, the climate of the middle zone has brought surprises one after another. The "fierce" winter of 2009/2010, when the temperature everywhere dropped to -42оС. The summer of 2010 was distinguished by extremely high temperatures (+ 42 ° C) with no precipitation for more than two months. Next winter 2010/2011also did not remain in debt - anomalous winter rain for a long time "clothed" the crowns of plants in a thick ice shell (Photo 1), forcing them to suffocate. Some, unable to withstand the load of the ice "coat" (Photo 2), simply broke. And what was under the snow, because of the thick crust, simply suffocated: so many primroses fell out this winter. These are only direct consequences. But all these anomalies, and, consequently, stressful situations, could not but affect in the future.
Severely weakened plants were attacked by pests in the fall of 2010. On a cedar pine tree (a moisture-loving species), the action of a shoot was observed (the crown of the head was twisted by a propeller) and the first signs of aphid hermes appeared (Photo 3). In the 2011 season, hermes was widespread, and where no action was taken, the entire tree was affected. The pines stood in white "attire." And some of the careless owners continued to stand in 2012. And only something had to be treated 1-2 times with a drug against pests. I prefer biologicals. Bitoxibacillin helped me part with the shoots. Its effect was manifested even in autumn at a temperature of + 5 + 10 ° C, although it is recommended to use it at a temperature above + 15 ° C. And Hermes was "overpowered" with Fitoverm (double treatment). But this "coniferous" suffering did not end there. Continuous, long-term, various abnormal climatic influences caused prolonged stress in plants. Its effects were fully felt in the 2012 season as well. "Anthills" appeared on the Serbian spruce (Photo 4). According to external signs, this is most likely the result of the activity of a spruce needle-eater (analysis was not carried out). This spruce has been eaten for over twenty years and has never had any problems before. The same Fitoverm helped. Even mountain pines suffered, which were considered absolutely resistant in the middle zone. First, out of winter (2010/2011), they came out with brown (Photo 5) needles. The sight is impressive, especially if you have cared for and cherished her for more than a dozen years (Photo 6). But fortunately, the buds remained viable, and the pine again covered with needles, but the suffering did not end. At the end of May 2012, she was attacked (and not only by me) by hordes (Photo 7) of caterpillars. In behavior, they were very similar to the false caterpillars of the common pine sawfly. I have never seen more disgusting and arrogant creatures. They gnawed at the needles almost instantly. This "armada" moved from top to bottom at a speed of at least 30-40 cm per day, leaving behind "bare sticks" (Photo 8). And already this defect in the rump cannot be eliminated, tk. pine has no dormant stem buds. It was necessary to act instantly and for sure. I had to use instant poison - Fufanon (Karbofos). There was no time for the biological preparation to act.
The past two years have seen irreparable damage to coniferous forests in the Moscow region by various bark beetles. Fir-trees are especially affected, and where the fir-trees "end", they go over to the pines. A real natural disaster, requiring the intervention of state bodies in terms of the scale. But this is a topic for a separate conversation.
Time will show how long the aftereffects from natural disasters will be. In the meantime, we will try to help our conifers: we will water more abundantly and more often (of course, if required), especially from head to toe, feed and, in general, love. After all, an affectionate word and a cat is pleasant ...