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Siberian pine is a tree that everyone can grow on their own plot. It has phytoncidal properties and a pleasant pine scent. The main advantage of Siberian pine is its seeds - pine nuts, which are a valuable high-calorie food product.
Description of Siberian pine
Siberian cedar pine is a close relative of Korean, European and elfin cedar pines. According to the scientific classification, the Siberian pine belongs to the pine genus, but it has long been nicknamed the Siberian cedar for its external resemblance to the tree of the same name.
Siberian pine is a monoecious, dioecious, anemophilous plant. This means that female and male cones are located on the same tree, and it is pollinated with the help of the wind. The growing season of the plant is quite short and is only 40 - 45 days, therefore it is classified as a slow-growing crop. Active fruiting of pine begins, on average, after 60 years. Up to 12 kg of nuts are harvested from one tree. The plant gives a bountiful harvest every 3 - 10 years.
Characteristics of Siberian pine:
- a moisture-loving culture, which is especially sensitive to soil and air moisture, especially during winter;
- develops well in sandy loam and loamy soils, but can grow on the surface of sphagnum bogs and stony substrates;
- high frost resistance;
- high rates of shade tolerance in youth, however, in mature age, the plant prefers good lighting;
- does not respond well to a transplant in adulthood;
- the ability to grow throughout life;
- does not tolerate air pollution.
Siberian pine is listed in the Red Book and is considered a vulnerable species, since its number is decreasing due to forest fires, under the influence of anthropogenic factors, economic activity and changes in environmental conditions.
What does Siberian pine look like?
Siberian cedar pine is one of the largest evergreen representatives of the Pines genus. This is a powerful tree, the trunk of which reaches a thickness of about 2 m in diameter. The height of the Siberian pine is from 20 to 44 m.
Photos and descriptions of Siberian pine show that the crown of the tree is dense, multi-peaked, with many thick branches. In young plants, it has a sharp conical shape; as the tree matures, the crown becomes wider.
The trunk of the tree is gray-brown, even and straight. Old pines are covered with fissured, coarse, scaly bark. Young shoots are lighter brown, covered with long red hairs.
Morphological features of Siberian pine
The shortened shoots of Siberian pine are covered with dark green needles with a bluish bloom. The length of the needles is from 6 to 14 cm. The needles are soft to the touch, slightly serrated and grow in bunches, five pieces in one. The bunches are surrounded by scaly, rapidly falling golden brown leaves. The needles stay on tree branches for 3 years, after which they fall off and renew themselves.
The buds of the plant are conical, 6 to 10 cm long, tapering towards the end, not resinous, covered with pointed lanceolate bud scales. Siberian pine blooms in May.
The cones of this ephedra are erect. Females are formed at the ends of the upper shoots, after they have completed their growth, and the males are collected at the base. In the sinuses of female cones, there are seed scales with two ovules.
Important! The ripening period of the cones is 14-15 months, pollination takes place in June, and the cones begin to fall off in a year, in September.
Upon reaching maturity, the cones become large, from 5 to 8 cm in width and up to 13 cm in length, acquire an elongated, ovoid shape, first have a purple and then a brown tint. Their scales become denser and tighter, and the surface is covered with short, hard pubescence.
Each cone can contain from 30 to 150 nut seeds. By their structure, the seeds of Siberian pine are quite large, ovoid, reaching 10-15 mm in length and 6-10 mm in width. Their peel is dense, tough, dark brown in color. The internal contents are yellowish-white oily nuts, covered with a thin skin. They are a rich source of phosphorus, lecithin, iodine, manganese, copper, zinc and cobalt.
Comparison of Siberian pine and Scots pine:
Large nuts with a dense, brown skin and a white buttery kernel.
Seeds are small, with wings.
One bunch contains 5 needles, they are longer and stay on the tree for up to 3 years.
The needles are small, connected in bundles of 1 piece, the needles are changed much more often.
Powerful, conical, dark green crown.
Round or umbrella-shaped crown shape.
The root system of Siberian pine
A characteristic feature of the structure of the Siberian pine is its root system, which includes a taproot up to 50 cm long, as well as lateral roots extending from it. At their ends there are small root hairs on which mycorrhiza forms - a symbiotic relationship between the mycelium of fungi and plant roots.
If a tree grows on well-drained, light soil, then, despite a short taproot, it will have powerful anchor roots that can penetrate to a depth of 3 m.This solid support, consisting of anchor roots and basal feet, endows the trunk and crown wood resistant and able to withstand winds and hurricanes.
Properties of Siberian pine wood
Siberian pine wood has the following features:
- softness, lightness, strength;
- nice smell;
- beautiful texture and many shades (light beige, pink-beige, soft chocolate, dark brown);
- excellent resonance properties;
- high moisture resistance, resistance to decay, unattractiveness for worms and beetles that eat away at the bark and trunk of a tree;
- ease of processing and polishing, pliability of the material, drying without cracking.
Due to its properties, Siberian pine wood is highly valued and is used for the production of furniture, grand pianos, guitars, harps and even pencils. It is also used for construction and interior decoration.
How long does Siberian pine live
The tree is considered a long-liver. The lifespan of the Siberian pine is about 500 years, but some individuals have existed for 850 years. The level of air pollution has a great influence on the life span of a plant.
Important! Siberian pine begins to seed only at the age of 30.
Where does Siberian pine grow
Siberian pine grows throughout the forest belt of Western Siberia. In Eastern Siberia, its spread is hindered by permafrost, therefore Siberian cedar is found only closer to the south. In the west of the Urals, the tree grows up to the Timan Ridge.
In Altai, Siberian pine can be found even at an altitude of 2400 m above sea level. The plant is also widespread in Mongolia, Kazakhstan and China.
Among other things, on the territory of Russia there are cedar groves planted in pre-revolutionary times, such as Chagrinskaya, Koryazhemskaya and Petryaevskaya.
Siberian pine varieties
Siberian pine is characterized by very slow growth, and the first cones appear on the tree after about 60 years. As a result of research, breeders obtained about several dozen specimens of Siberian cedar, characterized by faster growth rates and abundant fruiting. Already a year after inoculation with a suitable stock, such plants can produce about 15 - 20 cones. Examples of varieties:
The value of Siberian pine in nature
Siberian pine is of great importance for nature. Its seeds serve as food for nutcrackers, chipmunks, squirrels, sables, bears, woodpeckers, nuthatches and other animals. The animals, in turn, distribute seeds, from which new trees subsequently grow.
Coniferous hedges not only have high decorative qualities, but also have a beneficial effect on the microclimate. Siberian cedar creates a habitat for many other plants, mosses, lichens, fungi and microorganisms. Coniferous tree purifies the air, helps to destroy pathogenic microbes.
Planting and caring for Siberian pine on the site
Gardeners practice two methods of growing Siberian pine: from seeds or using seedlings. Moreover, the second method is more preferable. Since the tree belongs to slow-growing crops, planting with seedlings can shorten the ripening period of the first fruits.
Important! Extreme care should be taken during work: Siberian pine seedlings are very fragile, they can be easily damaged during transplantation.
Seedling and planting plot preparation
Saplings that have reached the age of 5 years are considered ideal. Their growth should be no more than 1 m, the trunk diameter should be no more than 2 cm.
It is best to purchase Siberian pine seedlings with a closed root system: this will avoid damage during further planting in the ground. If there is no opportunity to purchase such a plant, then you can choose seedlings with an open root system. The main thing is that they meet the following requirements:
- a lump of earth should be at least 40 - 60 cm in diameter: the larger the seedling, the more land it needs;
- it is important that the earthen ball is wrapped in burlap and additionally placed in a plastic bag;
- disembarkation to a permanent place should occur as soon as possible;
- it is desirable that the seedling is freshly dug.
Good nurseries use a special root pruning technique while digging the seedlings to maintain the integrity of the root system when transplanted to a permanent location. Usually the plant takes some time to take root. At this moment, it is important to provide him with the most comfortable conditions.
The plant prefers sandy loam and loamy well-moistened soils. If the land at the summer cottage is clay or loamy, additional drainage will be required. The root system develops well in aerial soils.
The acidity of the soil should be medium; at high rates, it is recommended to use lime at the rate of 300 g per hole.
The optimal time for planting Siberian pine seedlings is early spring. Despite the fact that young trees grow well in partial shade, a well-lit place should be preferred.
- Dig up the entire area for planting Siberian pine seedlings. For one tree, you need to dig at least 1 m of soil around the planting pit. The distance between the seedlings should be 6 - 8 meters.
- An earthen hole should be dug about 30% larger than an earthen lump.
- Siberian pine seedlings can be transplanted into loamy and sandy loam soil immediately. If the soil is too clayey, the soil removed from the hole should be mixed with a mixture of peat and sand, in a ratio of 2: 1: 2.
- After that, fertilizer from rotted manure, wood ash, peat and several handfuls of forest coniferous soil must be added to the soil. Mix the resulting mixture well, pour into the wells.
- Strengthen a peg in the planting pit, place a pine seedling in the center so that the root collar is not too deep and is at the level of the soil. If it turns out to be lower, you need to carefully remove the seedling and add the missing amount of soil mixture.
- Seedlings with a closed root system, after being removed from the container, need to spread the roots. They should be free, without bending, located in the hole.
- The part of the seedling that remains above the ground must be tied to the support with a twine.
- Next, you need to fill the pits with the prepared soil mixture so that there is no empty space, water it using at least 6 liters of water per tree.
- Mulch the surface around the trunk with nutshells, needles, bark or coniferous sawdust.
- Water the saplings of Siberian pine once every 2 - 3 days for the next two weeks. When it rains, watering is usually reduced.
Important! It is not recommended to apply nitrogen fertilization in the first year after transplanting seedlings.
Watering and feeding
Despite the fact that the plant is very moisture-loving, it is recommended to water it as the soil dries out. Watering should be more abundant and frequent in summer, but in winter it is important to check that the soil is completely dry. Excessive soil moisture can cause damage and rotting of the root system.
The plant does not require frequent feeding. The hot summer period is considered the best time for fertilization. Siberian pine can be fed with special fertilizers for coniferous crops. Organic fertilizers are applied before planting. A mixture of 2 buckets of manure and 50 g of superphosphate, calculated for the entire trunk circle, is perfect.
Mulching and loosening
When loosening the soil, one should not forget about accuracy. The roots of Siberian pine are too close to the surface, so only the top layer of the soil can be loosened.
The best mulch for conifers is forest foliage, small branches, moss. They contain the mycelium of fungi that live in symbiosis with Siberian pine, and improve the mineral nutrition of its roots. The soil around the trunk is also mulched by adding compost, loose humus or peat.
With the help of mulching, soil moisture is maintained, favorable conditions for soil microorganisms are maintained, which are necessary for the plant root system to replenish humus reserves. This is especially important for sandy loam soil.
Pruning of Siberian pine is not necessary if in the first years after planting the seedling you break off the lateral buds of the axial shoot. This allows nutrients to enter the central point on the axial shoot: thus, its growth per season can increase by 2 - 2.5 times.
Important! Trimming of lateral buds and side shoots in order to form a crown should be done in autumn or winter, before the beginning of the growing season.
Preparing for winter
The tree is characterized by high frost resistance and calmly survives a decrease in temperature to -60 oC. Siberian pine does not require special preparation for the winter period. In autumn, before the snow falls, you only need to mulch the soil around the trunk. This will help keep the root system from freezing and retain moisture in the root zone.
Siberian pine pests and diseases
The main sources of danger for Siberian pine are:
- Bark beetles, especially chalcographers and an ordinary engraver. Immediately after the spring thaws, when the daytime air temperature rises, bark beetles wake up from hibernation. They gnaw passages in the bark of a tree and lay eggs there, from which new larvae hatch. Gradually, the bark tissues are destroyed, and the tree itself may die. To get rid of these beetles, it is recommended to contact a specialist, since the process of removing them is not so simple;
- Hermes Siberian, piercing the trunk of a tree with its sharp trunk and sucking juice from it. In the fight against such pests, insecticides that act through plant sap will be effective;
- Rust that appears on needles during wet and warm summer seasons. This disease can be recognized by the orange-yellow bubbles on the needles.The prevention of the disease is the weeding of nearby plants;
- Blister rust and shoot cancer are some of the most serious diseases of Siberian pine that are difficult to treat. For prophylaxis in the early stages, root development stimulants and anti-stress agents are used.
Siberian pine propagation
In its natural environment, Siberian pine propagates by seeds. They are distributed by nutcrackers, chipmunks, sables, squirrels and other forest animals that eat pine nuts.
In dachas and vegetable gardens, the culture is most often grown with the help of seedlings. Especially valuable varieties are grafted for propagation purposes. Reproduction of Siberian pine at home is also possible with the help of seeds. The seeds of the Siberian cedar of the agricultural firm "Gavrish" are on sale.
The use of Siberian pine
Siberian cedar pine is one of the most valuable tree species. Pine nuts are renowned for their beneficial nutritional properties and are eaten all over the world. They are rich in iodine and are valuable as a natural, natural prevention of iodine deficiency.
Nutshells are great for mulching. Oil is also made from nuts, which is used in medicine and the food industry. It contains twice as much vitamin E as almond and walnut oil.
Pine needles are used in the production of shampoos, soaps and vitamin supplements. It is processed and received as vitamin flour for animal husbandry. The resin of Siberian cedar pine is considered an effective remedy for the healing of wounds, boils and ulcers.
Siberian pine pollen has medicinal properties, on its basis, an alcoholic tincture is prepared, which helps to cope with respiratory diseases, tuberculosis.
Wood is easy to handle, soft, lightweight and pliable, which makes it often used for construction and interior decoration. Crafts, pencils, furniture and musical instruments are made from pine.
Siberian pine is a valuable commercial crop that can be easily grown on your site. It is undemanding to care for and has high frost resistance. Growing a tree from grafted seedlings significantly reduces the time it takes to enter the fruiting season, and the first cones can appear on such a tree 1 - 2 years after planting.