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Mountain pine is a favorite of gardeners who arrange rockeries or rocky hills. Nurseries distribute dwarf and miniature forms that are quite similar to each other. There are varieties with the original color of the needles or differing in the arrangement of needles on the branches.
Description of mountain pine
In its natural habitat, in the mountainous areas of Central and Southern Europe, wild mountain pine grows in the form of a tall tree or shrub, more often a spherical or broad-ovate silhouette. There are plants with erect or creeping shoots. The peculiarity of the structure of the crown of the bushes is the dense arrangement of the branches to each other. The gray-brown bark of the trunk is smooth, with age, dark scales appear at the top. The growing shoots are green, then gradually turn brown. The height of mountain pine shrubs by the age of 30 reaches 1-3 m, diameter - up to 1.5-4 m. Most plants have a well-developed central taproot and spreading surface processes.
Attention! On sale, in addition to the name of the variety, the species is often used, taken from the Latin language (Pinus mugo Mughus - mountain pine Mugus).
Shoot development is slow, up to 6-15 cm, even much less in breeding forms. The needles of a mountain pine, pointed at the top, are rigid, in the form of a needle, more often of a dark green color or with a different shade in new varieties. The needles are from 4-5 to 8-10 cm long, collected in bundles of several pieces. Dwarf pine blooms after 6-10 years of development in May, every year. Numerous cones, wide at the base of the cone, sessile, small in size, 3-5 cm wide, up to 5-8 cm long, with a gray-brown cover. Young fruits are gray-purple in color. Edible seeds ripen in 1.5 years, by the end of autumn.
Mountain pine varieties
The decorative coniferous species has been known as an element of landscape gardening since the end of the 18th century. It appeared in Russia since the beginning of the 19th century. Now experts count more than 120 species and varieties of mountain pine, dwarf and miniature forms. Many plants are very similar to each other. Various varieties of 2 forms of mountain culture are popular:
- Mugus is actually a shrub;
- Pumilio is a dwarf species.
Gnom is a dwarf variety from Holland with an oval-round, dense crown that has been decorating gardens for almost a century. The maximum height is 2 m, extending only 80-90 cm in circumference. Dark green needles up to 4 cm thickly cover the shoot. The Dwarf Pine loves sunny exposure and grows well in cities.
A mountain bush variety with an original color of the needles, as if sparkling from a distance, was bred in the middle of the last century in Germany. The spreading crown with irregular shoots rises up to 1.5 m. The interesting effect of the coloring of the needles, which is called "dragon's eye", is especially noticeable when looking at the shoot from above. Green needles are colored yellow first at the base and then at the tops. Their combination creates the impression of a double bright ring. Kokarde Pine is planted in partial shade to protect it from spring burning.
Pumilio is a seedling of a wild mountain bush. The height can vary, on average the plant rises up to 1.5-2 m. The creeping shoots form a very open crown - up to 3 m in diameter. The pine is unpretentious, easily tolerates a haircut, and is resistant to weather conditions in the middle lane. Hard needles of dark green color, medium size, up to 4 cm. Lilac cones, slightly rounded.
According to the description of the mountain pine variety Hnizdo, which was bred by Czech breeders at the end of the last century, the plant has a curious compact crown shape. In the center, the shoots are shorter, which gives the impression of a smooth depression in the form of a nest. From the beginning of growth, the silhouette of a dwarf pine variety is spherical, and then becomes pillow-shaped. Slow growth: by the age of 20 it reaches 1-1.2 m in height, spreads in width also up to 1.2 m. Branches with dense, but short, up to 2 cm, needles are densely arranged. Small cones up to 3 cm long. The needles do not fade in the spring sun, they develop well in partial shade.
Dwarf pine of Dutch selection, the prototype of which was found in the German Alps, is low. In adulthood, Allgau rises from 0.7 to 1 m, covers an area of up to 1-1.2 m in circumference. An unpretentious mountain bush variety has a high level of decorativeness, thanks to a dense lush crown in the form of a sphere. Dark green needles are collected 2 in a bunch. Quite long and stiff needles, slightly twisted at the tops. The low pine variety is not planted in the shade on dense soil. Saplings are covered for the winter.
The charming variety of mountain pine shrub Sunshine conquers with its luminous halo, which is created by the two-tone color of the needles. Long arcuate needles, creamy yellow at the base, turning bright green towards the top. The arrangement of the needles is dense, the branches form a loose, rounded crown. The light strip changes in intensity: young needles are lighter in summer, with the onset of winter they turn yellow. Sunshine Pine is best planted in a sunny area dominated by loam. Sprinkler irrigation is recommended in summer.
Golden Glow is another glowing shrub of a miniature pine tree with a hemispherical crown, which delights the garden in winter. But it will not be possible to independently grow a seedling of this variety of mountain dwarf pine from seeds. Golden Glow belongs to the species that reproduce only through grafting. Straight needles, collected in 2 in a bunch, are bright green in summer. The hue changes after frost, the color brightens and turns yellow. The annual growth is only 4 cm: in 10 years the bush reaches a height of 50 cm and 90-100 cm in diameter. Pine develops on any soil, in sunny areas. The Golden Glow variety tolerates frosts down to -34 ° C.
Ophir is one of the finest Dutch mountain pine dwarf varieties that can be grafted. It grows slowly: a 10-year-old specimen reaches only 40-50 cm, and a 20-year-old spherical bush rises to 80 cm with a diameter of up to 1 m. An adult plant can take the shape of a cone. The color of the tough short needles changes with the seasons: green in summer, golden yellow with cold weather. They are planted in the sun, adding humus and sand to the substrate. Sprinkling and mulching of the soil is preferable in summer. In industrial cities, the attractive variety of the evergreen mountain bush Ophir does not develop well.
The miniature German variety Benjamin is often grafted onto a tall stem. This form of dwarf pine with a dense, flat-globular crown is popular as an evergreen for balconies and terraces. Crown size 50-70, rarely 90-100 cm. Growth is very small, up to 3-5 cm per year. Shiny needles are dark green, tough and short. The picky dwarf pine grows on any well-structured soil. You can try to breed the mountain pine variety by propagation by cuttings through grafting.
A very decorative dwarf mountain shrub that changes color with the seasons. Bred in the 70s of the last century in Germany through the selection of seedlings. By the age of 10, the hemispherical crown grows to only 40 cm, reaching 90-100 cm in diameter. The dense, short branches are covered with light green needles, 3-5 cm long, which acquires a golden tone in late autumn. With frost, the shade becomes more intense, with a transition to orange and copper. By the end of winter, the crown of young seedlings is sheltered from burning out in the bright sun. Egg-shaped cones of the variety are from 2 to 6 cm, yellow-brown. Carstens Wintergold pine radically transforms the mood of the winter garden.
Mountain pine in landscape design
Seedlings of the species in natural conditions live up to 1000 years. An established seedling is also durable. The shrub will harmoniously fit into the landscape, especially revitalizing it in the poor in colors off-season and in winter. For a dwarf pine, such areas are chosen where the plant will be comfortable for years:
- rocky slopes and slopes;
- rockeries and rock gardens;
- curbs, partial edging of water bodies, hedges;
- in combination with deciduous shrubs with the condition of planting miniature pine varieties in the foreground, and taller ones as an evergreen background;
- background for flower arrangements from low-growing plants;
- in a group of conifers on lawns;
- to decorate the lower plan of fences and walls of buildings.
All varieties of mountain pine shrubs are suitable for decoration. Especially appreciated are those that change the color of the needles and become fun lanterns in the winter.
Warning! Not all varieties of pine mountain bushes can withstand gas pollution in large cities. It is necessary to find out about the requirements of the plant for placement in advance.
How to grow mountain pine from seeds
The seeds in the cones ripen in late autumn. The collected cones are placed in a warm place to open. Seeds are placed in water, determining germination: heavy, suitable for sowing, go down. Algorithm for planting mountain pine seeds:
- soaking in a solution of potassium permanganate for 30 minutes;
- germination in a constantly damp tissue for 2 weeks;
- seeds with hatched roots are placed in separate pots, where they put chopped pine bark and sphagnum for the substrate;
- the containers are in a bright, warm place, the substrate is moderately moistened;
- shoots are shown by the end of March, mid-April;
- seedlings are planted in a permanent place the next year, kept in a frost-free room in winter.
In areas with mild winters, sowing is carried out directly into the ground, preparing the seeds by soaking for 3-6 days.
Planting and caring for mountain pine
It is better to buy pine seedlings in containers from local nurseries, where the trees have acclimatized during development. Successful planting of mountain pine in autumn, until mid-September, or in spring, from mid-April.
Seedling and planting plot preparation
Usually, a sunny area is chosen for a mountain pine bush. Some varieties develop in partial shade. Seedlings of mountain evergreen conifers, picky about soils, grow on loam and sandy loam, often poor, dry areas. It is better if it is slightly acidic or slightly alkaline soils. Ornamental conifers are planted on heavy soils, arranging drainage up to 20 cm high. Adhere to the following proportions for the substrate:
- 2 parts of turf soil;
- 1 part of humus, sand and clay equally;
- 0.3-0.5 parts of sphagnum.
The roots of the seedling are not soaked, they are only slightly damp. The braided processes are gently straightened, trying to leave as much of the original substrate as possible.
How to properly plant a mountain pine
Saplings of tall varieties are placed at intervals of 4 m, dwarf ones - 1.5 m.When planting, follow the rules:
- holes are dug according to the size of the straightened roots, adding 5-10 cm;
- the depth is determined, taking into account the drainage layer from 10 to 20 cm;
- have the root collar at the site level;
- drive in a support for support;
- the soil is compacted, watered and mulched.
Watering a mountain pine
While the seedling takes root, up to 30 days, it is watered along the perimeter of the trunk circle after 3-4 days, 10-20 liters each. When planting in spring, a decorative pine seedling is shaded, especially at noon. Watering is needed both in summer and autumn. The earth is moistened when a clod of soil compressed in a handful crumbles. Adult specimens are usually content with natural precipitation. Sprinkling of mountain bushes is carried out during the dry period. In the middle of autumn, the pines are watered so that the soil is saturated with moisture.
Dwarf pine is fed with preparations for coniferous crops according to the instructions. Once a month, the diameter of the planting pit is watered with an organic solution. It is also recommended to introduce a root growth stimulator at the beginning and end of summer so that small spreading shoots form.
Mulching and loosening
The roots of the mountain bush are provided with an oxygen-rich soil. Regularly shallowly loosen the trunk circle. Adult and young plants are mulched with forest needles, sawdust, especially conifers.
The crown of a mountain bush is trimmed to slow down growth. Pine easily tolerates pruning. The annual shoots in the form of "candles" are shortened by one third to make the crown more dense and lush. Pine is freed from dry branches in the spring by cutting off the shoot into a ring.
Preparing for winter
Almost all varieties of mountain pine shrubs are frost-resistant, because the shoots ripen during the warm season and become lignified.
But at very low temperatures, from -35 ° C, the tops suffer.
- after late autumn watering, pine shrubs are mulched with sawdust, pine bark;
- young plants are covered with spruce branches or agrotextile, which will serve as protection not so much from frost as from bright sunlight at the end of winter and in March;
- high shrubs are tied so that the branches do not break off under the weight of the snow;
- in February and March, they do not allow the accumulation of snow inside the shrub, which can serve as an optical lens and thus burn out the bases of the shoots;
- if the ice is frozen to the pine branches, they are sprinkled with peat or earth, under which the snow or ice crust melts without harming the plant.
Sometimes shrubs are watered with warm water to wake up after the snow has completely melted.
Advice! Bonsai are created from mountain pine by special pruning.
How to propagate mountain pine
Some types of conifers sprout well from a buried branch. But regarding the reproduction of mountain pine by layering, there are no positive responses in the sources. Perhaps the dwarf pine form is more successful in this respect. It is advised that varieties that are propagated by seedlings should be spread using seeds. This is the most successful way to increase the number of the species. Some varieties of dwarf pine can only be obtained through grafting, which is accessible to specialists in terms of complexity.
Reproduction of mountain pine by cuttings at home is also in doubt, since most gardeners emphasize that this is a complex process. Cuttings of a mountain bush have a narrow layer of kalyus, due to which the shoots cannot release the root rudiments. Special treatment of pine cuttings with growth stimulants, acids is required:
Rooting and strengthening of pine sprouts lasts more than a year.
Mountain pine pests and diseases
One of the dangerous diseases of the mountain pine is visible in the photo. Fungal disease shute is of several types, which are caused by different pathogens. In spring, pine needles turn brown, turn yellow or turn gray, and also have black spots, then crumble. Shrubs are also affected by gray rot, rust, and bark cancer. They prevent diseases with spring and summer treatments with Bordeaux liquid, copper oxychloride, various insecticides, for example, "Abiga Peak", "Tilt".
Among mountain pine pests, aphids are often found, or pine hermes, which feeds on the juice of needles. A sign of insect activity is a white fluff on needles, and later a slowdown in the growth of shoots. Sawflies, ticks, bark beetles also spoil the look of the coniferous paws of the mountain bush. Insects are destroyed with Rovikurt, Actellik or others. Acaricides are used against ticks.
Mountain pine requires a lot of care in the first seasons until it takes root. Further care is significantly reduced. Ornamental varieties of dwarf shrubs enliven the garden landscape, focusing on themselves in winter, and serve as a pleasant backdrop for flowering plants in summer.