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Honeysuckle is a crop with very decent characteristics. It attracts the attention of gardeners with its unpretentiousness, decorativeness and original fruits.
Initially, the species and varieties of the culture originated from the Kamchatka honeysuckle. As a result of spontaneous mutation of this variety, the edible variety "Blue Bird" was obtained. The mutation was caused by the work of the gardener M.A. Lisavenko. on pollination of Kamchatka honeysuckle at the Research Institute of Horticulture in Siberia. This happened during the existence of the USSR, and in 1989 the honeysuckle variety "Blue Bird" was already included in the State Register.
In the recommendations of scientists for the cultivation of the species, the Northwest region was indicated. But the early ripening period, taste and nutritional qualities of the fruits, good adaptive abilities allowed the "Blue Bird" to quickly spread throughout the territory of Russia. Although the Kuril Islands, Sakhalin, Kamchatka and Magadan are considered to be the natural area of distribution, you can meet the "Blue Bird" in any region.
Description and characteristics of the variety
Honeysuckle "Blue Bird" ripens early, belongs to the varieties of universal use. The variety gives very tasty and healthy fruits, which are considered one of the main advantages of the culture. But it is important for gardeners to know the full description of the plant in order to navigate in matters of agricultural technology.
The bush is deciduous, erect, vigorous and spreading. The height of an adult plant is 1.2 m – 1.4 m. With careful observance of the agrotechnical requirements of the variety, the parameter increases to 2 m. This must be taken into account when planting a plant in small areas. The branches are thin, young shoots with lettuce-colored pubescence, and last year's ones are covered with bark and acquire a reddish-brick hue. The plant reacts negatively to the heat and winter thaw, but frost or cold snap at the time of flowering does not cause a decrease in the vital activity of the "Blue Bird" bush.
The crown of the bush is spreading, thickened and dense, resembling a ball or ellipse in shape. The diameter of the crown of an adult honeysuckle is 1.7 m – 1.8 m.
The leaves are shaped like an oblong ellipse. The color of the plates is light green, the surface is smooth and shiny.
The variety blooms very early, flowers appear immediately after the end of the frost. They resemble yellowish bells in shape and grow in small bunches.
The berries are sweet with a pleasant aroma. Contains a large amount of nutrients and vitamins. The honeysuckle variety has an oval-elongated shape of the fruit, the color is bluish-black, the length of the berries is about 2 cm, the average weight is 0.8 g, the use of berries is universal. They are good fresh and as blanks.
The yield of this variety of honeysuckle is 1.6-1.7 kg per bush, which is considered an average for a crop.
The Blue Bird variety has high winter hardiness. The bush can withstand frost down to -30 ° C without shelter.
The plant is distinguished by increased adaptive abilities to changes in growing conditions, good resistance to diseases and pests.
The variety belongs to the self-fertile species. Therefore, when growing bushes of honeysuckle "Blue Bird", it is necessary to plant pollinating varieties. Without fulfilling this condition, it will not be possible to get a decent harvest. It is better to take the varieties recommended for pollination from the Kamchatka breeding line. According to gardeners, the following types of honeysuckle are suitable:
- "Blue Spindle";
- "In memory of Kuminov";
At least 3 different varieties of honeysuckle must be placed on the site, then the yield of the bush will correspond to the description, and the berries will grow sweeter.
Important! Pollination of the Blue Bird honeysuckle also occurs with the help of insects.
To attract as many natural pollinators as possible to the plant, gardeners spray the buds with a sweet solution. It is prepared from 10 liters of water and 50 g of honey.
Features of fruiting
The Blue Bird variety ripens in late spring or early summer. The middle of June is the last date. The plant begins to bear fruit 3-4 years after planting, and this period lasts up to 25 years. The honeysuckle variety "Blue Bird" is appreciated for the fact that it allows you to feast on fresh berries when other crops are just getting ready for fruiting. The crop on the bush is ready to be harvested before the wild strawberry ripens. You should not wait until the berries are overripe. In this case, they will quickly fall off the bush, although, according to reviews, even fallen specimens are well preserved. In order not to lose part of the harvest, gardeners are advised to spread a piece of cloth under the bush so that the fruits do not fall to the ground.
Important! If unripe berries begin to crumble, pay attention to watering, the plant does not have enough moisture.
Advantages and disadvantages
You can read a lot about the advantages and disadvantages of the Blue Bird variety honeysuckle in the gardeners' reviews. The culture on the plots is not new, it has passed the test of time, many have been growing the variety for several years. Therefore, it is not difficult to compile a list of characteristics.
Frost resistance of the bush, allowing you to grow the variety in regions with cold climates
The taste of the fruit is a purely subjective opinion of the gardener. Some people don't like him
Unpretentious care makes it possible to plant a bush even in those regions that, according to the conditions, are considered uncomfortable for honeysuckle
Indicator of the yield of the variety. Considered short for honeysuckle
Early fruiting. Saturation with vitamins and useful components makes honeysuckle indispensable during a shortage of fresh berries
Increased sensitivity of an adult plant to a sharp increase in temperature in summer (heat) and spring (thaw).
Resistance to disease and pest damage, if gross violations of agricultural technology are not allowed.
Versatility of application and fruit and taste.
Honeysuckle variety "Blue Bird" is distinguished by persistent fruiting for a long time. Therefore, the plant should be planted in a good place, the bush should be properly planted, and proper care should be provided. What is included in these concepts, we will consider below.
How to choose seedlings
To ensure good development and fruiting of the bush, it is best to plant two-year-old seedlings. They easily take root, quickly enter the fruiting phase. It is recommended to purchase seedlings in specialized nurseries or from trusted suppliers. This is due to the risk of acquiring a completely different plant instead of the desired Blue Bird variety. It is optimal to choose a nursery located in your region. The plants that are sold there are already adapted to the surrounding conditions and soil characteristics.
When buying, pay attention to the parameters of the seedling:
- height - from 25 cm to 60 cm;
- age - not older than 3 years;
- closed root system (container);
- well developed numerous roots.
The stubs can be viewed with the seller's permission. If a flaky bark has already formed on the seedling, then this should not confuse the buyer. This will not affect the development of the honeysuckle bush.
The planting time of the Blue Bird honeysuckle bush directly depends on the duration of the growing season, the beginning and end of which occurs very early. Therefore, gardeners try not to plant seedlings of the variety in the spring. This is due to the fact that in many regions, the kidneys begin to wake up much earlier than the soil and air warm up. If there is such a need, then in the spring the seedlings are simply transferred into the planting pit along with an earthen lump. The less damage the lump receives, the better the honeysuckle will take root.
The optimal planting time for the bush is 1–1.5 months after the end of fruiting. Before the onset of the first frost, the bushes have time to take root and gain strength for wintering. The planting of bushes in the southern regions can be shifted to September (mid-end).
According to gardeners, Blue Bird honeysuckle takes root well at the end of summer. About 80% of the seedlings successfully adapt to the new place. But the spring procedure cannot give such high rates.
Important! It is strictly forbidden to transplant the bushes during the flowering period. The result will be shedding of color, a stop in the growth of shoots, and their drying.
Site and soil selection
For planting honeysuckle, choose an area well-lit by the sun. Lack of light negatively affects the development of the bush and the taste of the berries. They shrink and become much sour. In addition, the Blue Bird variety does not like strong winds and waterlogging. It is good to combine the planting of bushes with a natural fence in the form of other plants. It is imperative to take into account the level of groundwater (no closer than 1.5 m). If you do not allow stagnation of water, then the plant does not get sick. Therefore, bushes are not planted in the lowlands.
The culture does not impose special requirements on the soil. However, on loose and nutritious loam or sandy loam, the bush grows just fine. If the soil is in an area with a high acidity index, then liming must be carried out in advance.
Planting a bush
The height of an adult plant should be taken into account when planting. Therefore, at least 1.5 m is left between the bushes of honeysuckle. At the same time, the peculiarities of planting self-infertile crops are taken into account. Honeysuckle varieties "Blue Bird" are placed in groups around pollinating varieties. Planting in rows or staggered will not give a result. One pollinator bush is planted on 4-5 honeysuckle seedlings.
The size of the planting pit for the bush is a cube with sides of 45 cm.
The pit is prepared 3 weeks before the scheduled planting date. The excavated soil is mixed with compost or humus (2 buckets), wood ash (1.5 l) and again poured into the pit. You can replace the components with any complex fertilizer in the amount of 300 g. Depending on the composition of the soil, it is recommended to add sand or clay. A drainage layer is laid on the bottom, then the prepared mixture, the pit is covered with a film until the day of planting.
The roots of the seedlings are soaked in a solution of any growth stimulant and left for 20 hours.
Then the roots are shortened, all damaged parts of the stems are cut off.
The soil in the pit is watered.
Place the seedling on a mound of earth and spread the roots.
The pit is filled up in small portions, gradually compacting the ground.
The root collar is raised above ground level by 4-5 cm.
Water the plant and mulch the peri-stem circle.
Shoots on the bush are not cut off.
Important! For honeysuckle, sawdust is not used so as not to increase the acidity of the soil.
When growing bushes of the Blue Bird variety, you do not need to spend a lot of time caring for the plants. Watering and feeding are important items. But it will also require regular loosening and weeding of the near-stem circles of the bush. The loosening depth should not be more than 4 cm.
If adult honeysuckle plants are planted, then post-plant watering should be abundant. One bush will need 10 liters of water. During the growing season, "Blue Bird" honeysuckle is watered 4-5 times. Watering requirements are standard - evening or morning, sufficient volume (2-3 buckets). They take the water that is settled, water the bushes once every 4 days. In the fall, water-charging watering is necessary, while 3-4 buckets are consumed per plant.
The first feeding is applied 3 years after planting of the Blue Bird honeysuckle seedling. As soon as the weather is warm in spring, it is necessary to close up nitrogen fertilizers at the time of loosening the soil. Organic matter is added when digging the soil once every three years. Honeysuckle responds well to the introduction of humus. 14 days after flowering, you need to feed the bushes with complex mineral fertilizer (according to the instructions). Another top dressing is needed before preparing for winter. At this point, phosphorus-potassium compounds are used. The feeding time is 14 days after harvest.
Due to its great vigor, Bluebird honeysuckle needs pruning, which is done regularly. The first time a plant is formed at 4 years after planting a seedling. Basic principles of pruning honeysuckle:
- leave at least 18 branches to form the frame;
- thin out the bush regularly to prevent shading;
- observe the pruning time - early spring at a temperature of 0 ° C;
- leave the length of the shoot at least 30-35 cm, not reaching the point of growth.
When the age of the honeysuckle bush reaches 15 years, anti-aging pruning is carried out. It is important to delete all old branches at this time.
Protection against diseases and pests
Honeysuckle "Blue Bird" is not susceptible to a wide range of diseases. However, it is necessary to take measures against the spread of fungal infections. The plant can be ill with these diseases due to its proximity to other crops. Gardeners prefer to treat the honeysuckle bushes with Bordeaux liquid immediately after picking the berries to prevent problems.
Among the pests, the apple comma-shaped shield or the acacia false shield and various types of aphids should be feared. Will help processing "Aktara", "Aktellikom", "Bankol".
No special shelter for honeysuckle bushes is required. But in years with harsh and snowless winters, the roots are protected from frost by a layer of peat or humus 20 cm thick. You can add cover with spruce branches.
To preserve varietal characteristics, the Blue Bird honeysuckle is propagated vegetatively. The most common:
- Cuttings. Gardeners use green, lignified and combined cuttings. Each type has its own nuances of the procedure. They do not differ from the classic propagation by cuttings.
- Layers. This option is used in June, when layers dug into the ground are best rooted.
- Seeds. Suitable for breeders only. For summer residents, this method is very laborious.
Some gardeners like the option of dividing the honeysuckle bush. It can be applied to plants that are at least 6 years old and not older than 15 years old.
Having planted a bush of honeysuckle "Blue Bird" on the site, you can solve several issues at once - decorate the site with an ornamental plant and get an early source of vitamins and nutrients.
Undemanding care puts honeysuckle in one of the first places when choosing a crop for planting.
Elena, 41 years old, Volgograd
A variety with a dense crown and a normal yield. We have enough. We tried to grow it like a hedge, but the characteristic of self-fertility does not allow it to be done according to all the rules. Therefore, they refused, and we grow bushes in groups. The berry is good both fresh and in preparations. Attractive in appearance and taste. Our plants don't get sick.
Vladimir, 48 years old, Belgorod
Honeysuckle grows in my garden. I do treatments for all plants, so there have never been problems with diseases and pests. The bushes are beautiful, "Blue Bird" bears sweet fruit. Bears fruit for a long time and evenly.