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Pines have always attracted people with their non-standard appearance and forest aromas. But most of them do not tolerate urban conditions well, and on personal plots turn out to be too powerful or photophilous. Weymouth pine is one of the most resistant among its counterparts to gases and smoke. Compared to the Scots pine, more familiar to the eye, it is not so demanding on lighting. In addition, it has many dwarf forms that are quite suitable for growing even in a small area. In the article you can find not only the description and care of the Weymouth pine, but also its most interesting species and varieties with photos.
Description of Weymouth Pine
In Latin, this tree is referred to as Pinusstrobus, which literally means “pine with cones”. And its Russian name comes from the surname of Lord Weymouth, who was the first to bring such a tree from America to Europe for planting on his estate at the beginning of the 18th century. Weymouth pine first came to Russia in 1793 and perfectly took root in the climate of the Leningrad region. One of the names that is used for its name in Russia is white oriental pine.
In its homeland, in North America, it can reach a height of 60-70 m, and the average crown diameter is 1.5 m.The trunk thickness is up to 50-60 cm.The tree has a long life span, up to 400 years or more. ...
In young trees, the crown is usually regular, conical or spherical, depending on the species and variety. With age, the pine becomes more spreading and takes on any shape of the crown, depending on the level of illumination and growing conditions.
Until the age of 30, pine bark is smooth and has a light, grayish tint. Then it darkens and takes on a rougher appearance with grooves and cracks. Young shoots are brown-green in color, sometimes with a reddish tint. Often there is a subtle whitish pubescence on them. Perhaps due to its presence, the Weymouth pine got its second name - white.
Small slightly resinous buds up to 5-7 mm long have a pointed ovoid-cylindrical shape. Thin and graceful needles are collected in bunches of 5 pieces. Their length can be up to 10 cm. However, there are pine varieties with rather short and weighty needles. Its color can vary from gray-green to bluish. There are varieties with golden and silver needles, some varieties are capable of changing the color of the needles during the season.
Male cones of Weymouth pine are yellow, no more than 12-15 mm long. Female - ripen every two years, have a narrow-cylindrical shape and reach 18-20 cm in length. Often they have a curved shape and hang in clusters of 2-8 pieces on rather long petioles.
Seeds are small (5-6 mm) oval, red-brown, easily separated from the lighter wing. Fruiting in trees begins when they reach the age of 20-25.
Weymouth pine, especially its natural varieties, has the highest growth rates of all conifers. Only larch is ahead of it in this respect. For a year, shoots of some varieties can grow by 20-40 cm. Trees are also characterized by good winter hardiness, they can be grown throughout Russia, except for the northeastern regions. They also have good resistance to strong winds and snowfalls.
These pines feel good on various types of soils; they take root poorly only on saline and highly calcareous soils.
Since at home in North America, Weymouth pine rarely grows alone, it is successfully combined in plantings with lindens, oaks, beeches, maples, hemlock, fir, larch and spruce.
Weymouth pine varieties
According to the shape of the crown, varieties of Weymouth pine are divided into pyramidal, weeping, bushy, umbellate, creeping. According to the color of the needles, golden, silver, blue and variegated varieties are distinguished. Various dwarf varieties of Weymouth pine are very popular:
- Blue Shag;
The main feature of this pine variety is the golden color of the needles, which is especially clearly seen on young shoots. The bark on them also has a yellow tint.
The rest of the trees are not much different from the natural species.
This variety is a representative of the blue varieties of Weymouth pine, otherwise called "glauka". The needles can be bluish or light green with a silver stripe below. Blue Sheg is referred to as dwarf varieties, since the height of the pine does not exceed 1.8 m.At the same time, the crown width in adulthood can also reach 1.2-1.6 m.Despite its small size, this pine grows quite quickly - in a year the growth can be up to 3-4 cm.
Grows well in the sun, but is considered a fairly shade-tolerant form. It is not at all demanding for soils, but it does not tolerate arid climatic conditions. But Blue Sheg pine perfectly survives almost any frost. Low blister rust resistance.
A somewhat similar variety, which is also referred to as blue pines, due to the corresponding color of the needles. It does not exceed 1.5 m in height and has an almost perfectly regular spherical crown shape. The branches grow densely, the annual growth rate reaches 7-8 cm.
This variety is very decorated with numerous twisting cones, up to 18-20 cm long. In youth they are green, in adulthood they turn brown. The needles are soft, long and thin, densely spaced.
Pine easily withstands shady conditions and poor soils, but absolutely does not tolerate stagnant moisture or drying out of soils.
This unique variety is sometimes called Minimus. One of the smallest representatives of dwarf Weymouth pines. The evergreen bushes barely reach 0.8 m in height.Moreover, in the horizontal plane they can grow up to 1.5 m.
For many sites, this variety will become a real lifesaver. Moreover, the color of the needles of these dwarf bushes can change their color throughout the season. At first, in the spring, it is green with a slight lemon tint, and by the end of summer it acquires a light turquoise bloom. The needles are very thin, but they are stiff and have a much shorter length than the standard species, about 25 mm.
The variety tolerates winter frosts well, but does not tolerate gas pollution, smoke and general air pollution. In addition, the Minima variety is prone to rust infestation and spring burning of needles.
It is ideal to use pine for decorating Japanese-style heather or rocky gardens, as well as retaining walls and small slopes.
This variety is a classic example of Weymouth Pine weeping varieties. Trees are distinguished by shoots of an unusual arcuate shape, which, being at different distances from each other, are able to wriggle fancifully, forming an unusual crown, often touching the ground.
The trees can reach a height of two meters, while the growth rate is significant - up to 20 cm per year. After planting a Pendula sapling, after a few years you can admire the exquisite weeping forms of this Weymouth pine.
The needles can be either silvery or bluish. The crown always extends much further in width than in height. Pendula has an increased demand for sunlight, does not feel well in partial shade. The buds may appear purple or grayish.
The variety is frost-resistant, but does not tolerate drought conditions.
This is one of the most unpretentious varieties of Weymouth pine. It can grow in almost any conditions, withstand frost, high winds, shaded conditions and air pollution.
Pine grows quickly, 15-20 cm per year. Young trees initially retain their shrub spherical shape, but then stretch strictly in the vertical direction and form a columnar shape. Mature trees reach 15 m in height and 2 m in width. The needles may be slightly curled.
How to grow Weymouth pine from seeds
Growing Weymouth pine from seeds is the cheapest and easiest way to get a lot of planting material for this plant. On average, about 52% of the seeds are viable.
True, this breeding method is unlikely to be suitable for varietal forms, since the likelihood of preserving their characteristics is not very high. But it is quite easy to grow the main species of Weymouth pine.
Attention! Seed germination is maintained for more than 15 years when stored in an airtight bag at a temperature of 0-4 ° C. And at room temperature, the seeds are stored for no more than 1.5-2 years.
Since the embryos in pine seeds are in a dormant state, they need to be exposed to low temperatures to awaken them. To do this, before spring sowing, the seeds are stratified. The operation consists in mixing seeds with a small amount of wet sand and keeping them in this form at a temperature of + 2-4 ° C for about 4-5 months.
In spring, stratified seeds give rather friendly shoots. For this:
- The seeds are washed in cold water and slightly dried.
- Prepare a mixture of leafy earth, sand and peat in a ratio (3: 1: 1).
- The seeds are placed in the prepared ground mixture to a depth of 1.5-2 cm.
- When the crops are kept at a temperature of + 18-21 ° C, seedlings can occur within a period from 2 weeks to 1.5 months.
- It is best to transplant grown sprouts into open ground in the fall or even in the spring of next year, if there is a light, frost-free room where they can overwinter without problems.
Planting and caring for Weymouth pine
If there is not much land near the house and there is no time to tinker with seeds, then the easiest way is to buy a ready-made pine seedling of this species in the nursery. With proper care, it will soon develop into a beautiful tree or globular shrub that can beautify any area.
Seedling and planting plot preparation
A young Weymouth pine plant is best planted as soon as possible after purchase. For planting, it is advisable to purchase trees with a closed root system growing in containers. However, you can also use seedlings for planting, the root ball of which is wrapped in a damp cloth. The main thing is that the roots remain moist all the time, and the needles have an intense color of the shade that is inherent in the selected variety.
There should be no permanent stagnation of water in the selected area - this can destroy a young tree. Some varieties of Weymouth pine can be planted in open areas without shading, while others can grow and develop well in partial shade. Soils can be almost any, but still trees develop better and get sick less on fertilized soils. It is desirable that the reaction of the soils be slightly acidic or neutral.
When planting, the root collar of a pine seedling should be flush with the soil surface. It is inadmissible neither to deepen it, nor to leave it above ground level.
Before planting, the pit is spilled with 10 liters of water with some addition of peat, humus and wood ash. It is better not to use chemical fertilizers - they can burn the roots of a young tree.
Watering and feeding
Even mature Weymouth pine trees of some species do not tolerate drought well. And young seedlings in the first year or two of life necessarily need regular watering. In hot summers, the soil should not dry out at a depth of about 30-50 cm. It is especially important to thoroughly shed the soil under the seedlings in the fall, before wintering. Each tree requires about 10-15 liters of water.
In order for the tree to wake up safely in the spring, it is also watered, especially if there is little rain during this period.
It is advisable to feed Weymouth pine only a year after planting and use for this special complex fertilizers for conifers. After 4-5 years, trees no longer need special feeding. It is much more important to control the optimal soil moisture in the summer.
Mulching and loosening
Soil moisture is much easier to maintain at the proper level if, from the very moment of planting, the soil around the seedling is mulched with any suitable organic material: peat, chips or bark, sawdust, crushed leaf humus. The thickness of the mulch layer should be at least 10-12 cm.
If in the summer it is necessary to loosen the soil, and the mulch will mix with the ground, then in the fall it will be necessary to add mulching material under the tree. Since it also serves as a source of additional nutrition for the tree and smooths out temperature drops at the soil level.
The usual strong pruning is not applied to Weymouth pine. If you want to influence the formation of the crown, then in the summer you can shorten the young shoots by 5-10 cm, and in the spring you can gently break off part of the growth buds.
Preparing for winter
Weymouth pine trees tolerate winter frosts very well. They suffer much more from sunburn in late winter and early spring. This is especially true for young trees under the age of 5 years. Therefore, it is customary to cover them with burlap or white non-woven material. In April, after the snow melts, the covering material is removed.
Weymouth pine propagation
Most often, weymouth pine is propagated by seeds and grafts. Cutting is theoretically also possible, but the survival rate of cuttings is very low. With the obligatory processing of them with special rooting materials, up to 80% of the plants can be preserved.
Weymouth pine is propagated by grafting by professionals and this is the only way to get new plants from decorative varietal forms.
Therefore, propagation by seeds is the easiest and most affordable way to get many young pine seedlings practically for free.
Weymouth pine pests and diseases
The most common disease in Weymouth pine is blister rust. In this case, resinous white smudges appear on the trunks and whole branches can dry out. It is best to treat the trees three times with Bordeaux liquid in case of the very first signs of the disease - bright orange pads with spores. The intermediate hosts of this fungus are currant, gooseberry and hawthorn bushes. Therefore, it is not recommended to plant Weymouth pine closer than 500 m to the place of growth of these fruit plants.
Young sprouts of Weymouth pine can be affected in the first year of life by various fungal diseases. Therefore, it is recommended to regularly treat them with a phytosporin solution.
Weymouth pine is an ornamental plant from the conifer family that can survive even in suburban areas, not far from highways and the smoky air of cities. And its dwarf varieties can decorate even the smallest area.