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Among others, Serbian spruce stands out for its good resistance to urban conditions, high growth rate. They are often planted in parks and public buildings. Serbian spruce care is simple, and decorativeness is high. In Russia, it is easier to grow it than the North American species, frost resistance allows you to keep the tree without shelter up to the Urals.
Description of Serbian spruce
The Serbian omorika spruce is endemic to the valley of the middle course of the Drina; it grows on the steep northern slopes of Mount Tara at an altitude of 800 to 1600 m. The area covers an area of about 60 hectares and is located in the east of Bosnia and in the western part of Serbia. The culture was discovered and described by the botanist Joseph Pancic in 1875.
Serbian spruce (Picea omorika) is a coniferous plant from the genus Spruce of the Pine family. It reaches a height of up to 30 m, a width of 2.5-4 m, forms a slender tree with a crown in the form of a narrow cone or slightly expanding at the bottom of the column. Barrel diameter - up to 1.5 m.
The branches are rather sparse, short, slightly curved in an arc, the ends are raised. Young shoots are brown and pubescent, adults are covered with thin reddish-gray scaly bark.
The color of the needles does not change depending on the season. The length of the needles is from 8 to 18 mm, the width is 2 mm. The underside of the needles is drawn with two light stripes, on the upper side there is a dark green shiny path. The needles of the Serbian spruce are prickly, but not as much as in other species.
The culture blooms in May. Male cones are red, female cones are first painted red-purple-brown, then turn brown, shiny. Ripen by August next year. Cones can appear already on a 12-15-year-old tree, have an ovoid-oblong shape, 3-6 in length, rounded, weakly toothed scales. They hang from the ends of the branches and look very attractive. Seeds 2-3 mm long have a transparent wing 5-8 mm long.
Serbian spruces are better than others adapted to urban conditions, they tolerate gas pollution and air smoke well. Shade-tolerant, relatively undemanding to soils. They tolerate low temperatures well. In nature, they live up to 300 years.
Varieties and types of Serbian spruce
In Europe and Russia, Serbian Spruce grows better and requires less maintenance than the more decorative species from North America - Prickly and Canadian. Many different varieties have been created with different crown shapes, heights and some variety in the color of the needles.
Serbian spruce Aurea
A feature of the Serbian spruce Aurea is its golden needles. But only young needles have such a color, by the middle of the season they begin to fade, and by the end they acquire the usual gray-green color.
By the age of 10, the Aurea variety reaches 1.5-3 m, at 30 it stretches to 10-12 m (in Russia - about 9 m). The diameter of the crown of the Serbian spruce at this age is 5 m. The annual growth is 15-30 cm, according to some data - more.
Short needles up to 2 cm long, semi-rigid. In old needles, the upper part is dark green, the lower one is silvery. The branches grow close to each other, forming a dense cone. A tall mature tree becomes looser.
The Serbian Aurea spruce should be planted in the sun, then the needles retain their golden color longer, and the branches grow densely. If you place it in partial shade, the yellow color will become pale, the crown is sparse. Without access to light, Aurea loses its original colors.
This variety tolerates gas-polluted air well, hibernates in zone 4 without shelter.
Serbian spruce Zukerhut
The name of the variety is translated into Russian as a sugarloaf. Indeed, the Serbian spruce Zuckerhut has a conical crown of the correct shape and belongs to dwarfs. On sale since 1999, and so far it is rare.
By the age of 10, the Tsukerhut spruce reaches a length of up to 1.5 m and a width of 80 cm.An adult tree after 30 years grows to 2-2.5 m, the crown diameter is about 1.5 m.This is the maximum size, in Russia the Serbian spruce is unlikely will reach them. The annual growth is no more than 15 cm.
The shoots of the Zuckerhut variety are tough, short, mostly directed upwards, densely covered with needles. At a young age, the crown is somewhat rounded, then it takes on more strict forms. The branches of an adult tree do not become sparse.
The needles of the Serbian spruce are blue from below, from above - green, slightly twisted. This creates an interesting effect. The branches of the Zuckerhut variety are lifted up, and the green color seems to be mixed with silver.
The tree can grow in partial shade or in an open place, requires protection from the sun in late February and early spring. Winters without shelter in the fourth zone.
Serbian spruce Pimoko
The Serbian spruce variety Pimoko, derived from the witch's broom mutation, was discovered in the early 1980s. It is very similar to the well-known Nana, but much smaller in size. The crown is spherical or nest-shaped, by the age of 10 it reaches a height of 30 cm.Annual growth is uneven, no more than 7 cm.The diameter of the crown of the Serbian Pimoko spruce does not exceed one and a half meters after 30 years, but in Russia it will not reach this size.
The branches are short, hard, reddish. They are pressed against each other, poorly permeable to the sun and moisture, and need regular cleaning. But the crown of Pimoko is dense not due to the larger number of shoots, but because of the shortened internodes.
The needles are small, dark green above, below - silvery-blue. The needles stick out in all directions, it seems that Pimoko is colored unevenly.
Resistance to air pollution is high. Serbian spruce Pimoko winters without protection in the 4th zone of frost resistance. Can be grown on a trunk.
Serbian spruce Vodan
The result of artificial crossing of the Serbian Spruce with the North American Brever Spruce was the dwarf hybrid Wodan. It was created at the beginning of the century in the nursery of Verdun, Germany. The name was given in honor of the supreme god Wodan (Wotan), who is the German analogue of the Scandinavian Odin, better known in Russia.
Up to 10 years, the variety grows very slowly, annually adds about 5-8 cm, and reaches a height of 60-70 cm with a width in the lower part of up to 50 cm.Then the tree begins to grow at a rapid pace - 15-20 cm. The size of the Serbian Wotan spruce after 30 years unknown, as the variety is young.
The crown is pyramidal, not too dense. The needles are greenish-blue, short. Resistance to urban conditions is satisfactory. Frost resistance - zone 4, some sources claim that the variety hibernates at -40 ° C.
Spruce Serbian Linda
This variety is more popular in Europe. It is difficult to find it in Russia. Most lovers who collect a collection of conifers, or who, for some reason, want to get this particular variety, subscribe Linda from abroad.
Those who like to eat a standard shape consider the variety to be one of the most beautiful. Linda's crown is pyramidal, the branches bend serpentinely, but not enough to call the tree bizarre, the lower ones, without pruning, lie on the ground with a skirt. Height at 10 years - about 1.5 m, growth - 15 cm per year.
Linda's needles are bluish at the bottom, dark green at the top. Due to the fact that the shoots "flow", the visual effect is impressive - the color is uneven and invariably draws attention to the tree.
Serbian spruce Medusa
Perhaps Medusa is the most exotic variety of Serbian spruce. It can hardly be called beautiful, rather the word strange is more suitable here. Medusa is rare even in Europe. Russian lovers of exoticism are forced to subscribe a variety from foreign nurseries.
The height of an adult plant is about 3 m. The branches are located irregularly and stick out in different directions. They are rather long, bend and twist in a serpentine manner. Moreover, there are few branches, as well as side shoots! The effect is stunning.
Important! Fans of standard conifers will hardly like this Serbian spruce.
The needles are tightly pressed to the shoots, blue-green. Young needles are bluish, lighter.
Serbian spruce Karel
Popular and widespread variety. It is a dwarf evergreen tree by the age of 10, growing up to 60 cm with a width of the same, or slightly more. Young needles are light green, by the end of the season they become blue-green.
The crown is cushion-shaped or similar to a hemisphere. It holds its shape well and can do without formative pruning. Winters without shelter in zone 4.
Serbian spruce Nana
One of the most famous varieties. By the age of 10, Nana has a height of 1.5 m, at 30 it stretches to 4-5 m. In Russia, the dimensions are more modest. Annual growth is 5-15 cm in height and 5 cm in width.
In the young Serbian spruce Nana, the crown is dense, round-ovate, the leader is poorly expressed. The mature tree is looser, the shape becomes conical. The needles are blue-green, sparse.
Serbian spruce Pendula
Many experts believe that Pendula is not a separate variety, but a collective name for Serbian spruce trees with a drooping crown. All of them reproduce only by grafting and do not have a trunk. Its function is performed by a strong branch, chosen at random and tied to the support.
It is by the nature of the growth of the central conductor that varieties are distinguished. For example, the description of the Serbian spruce Bruns shows that at first the tree stretches upward, and then begins to bend. And cultivar Cook tends to take a horizontal position just above the grafting site.
Unlike other types of Pendula firs, the Serbian do not need a rigid garter. Their branches are strong and woody quickly. The center conductor bends but does not land. Shoots descend close to the trunk and form an impenetrable curtain. The needles are blue-green.
The annual growth depends on the variety, on average it is 15-20 cm per year. Height is determined by whether the tree is tied up and how much the loose center conductor bends. It is more convenient to talk about the leader's length, and it can be 10-15 m after 30 years.
Serbian spruce in landscape design
In Russia, Serbian spruces are often used in landscape design. They are more suited to urban cultivation and require minimal maintenance. The variety of varieties allows you to use the culture in different compositions:
- Serbian spruce Bruns and other Pendulas will be a great vertical accent with a rigid garter, or a fancy tree of a fantastic shape if grown without fastening;
- dwarf varieties Karel, Pimoko and Vodan can be placed in rockeries, rock gardens and flower beds;
- Aurea attracts the eye with its unusual golden color of the crown;
- Zuckerhut and Linda can be planted in the stalls, and decorated with toys and garlands for the New Year;
- Jellyfish is like an alien among the conifers, and is suitable for people seeking to amaze the imagination of others;
- shapes with a narrow, sky-like arrow can be planted as an alley or vertical accent in large and small tree groups.
The neighbors of Serbian spruces can be any crops that require regular, abundant, but rare watering and prefer acidic soil.
Advice! Moisture-loving plants are planted, limiting their feeding area with a curb tape (so that water does not spread), or in another way.
Photo of Serbian spruce in landscape design
Planting and caring for Serbian spruce
Serbian spruce maintenance is not difficult, but should be regular. Any novice gardener can handle it without outside help. If you leave the plant unattended for a long time, it will start to hurt and lose its decorative effect. In the worst case, the tree will die.
Seedling and planting plot preparation
Serbian spruce is planted in an open, sunny place. It withstands partial shade well, but if there is not enough light, the crown becomes loose, and in the Aurea variety, the needles turn pale. The soil should be loose, permeable to water and air, acidic or slightly acidic. The species tolerates anthropogenic air pollution well.
If there is a choice, seedlings should be taken from local nurseries. Imported spruce must be in a container. Locals can be bought with an earthen lump lined with burlap. Serbian open-rooted spruce is unlikely to take root. The needles should be fresh and elastic, even the brown tips of the needles are a sign of trouble.
Planting rules for Serbian spruce
The planting hole is prepared at least 2 weeks in advance. It is not necessary to completely change the soil in it:
- for looseness and improvement of the structure, leaf humus and sod soil are added to the substrate;
- acidity is brought back to normal with high-moor peat;
- clay is added to too light sandstones.
The root collar should remain at ground level when planting. As the pits fill up, the substrate is compacted so that voids do not form. After planting, the tree is watered abundantly, and the soil is mulched.
Watering and feeding
Serbian spruce is often watered immediately after planting, about 2-4 weeks. Then the soil is rarely moistened, but abundantly, at least 10 liters of water is needed for each small tree. Adults water so that there is a bucket of liquid for every linear meter of growth. In warm weather, sprinkling of the crown is necessary.
Root and foliar dressings are made with special fertilizers for coniferous crops.
Mulching and loosening
The soil under the Serbian spruces is loosened only in the first 2 years after planting. Then, in order not to injure the roots that come close to the surface, they only mulch. Better to use sour peat or pine bark.
Serbian spruces usually do not need formative pruning, but they tolerate shearing well. Dry and broken branches require regular removal during sanitation.
In large trees and Serbian spruce trees with a thin crown, crown cleaning is quick and unnoticeable among other sanitary measures. Particular attention should be paid to dwarf varieties with a dense crown - without access to light, with poor ventilation close to the trunk, needles and twigs dry quickly, dust collects, spider mites start.
Cleaning is carried out annually, and then the plant and the area under it are treated with a fungicide containing copper.
At the end of winter and early spring, the needles quickly evaporate moisture, and the root, which is in the frozen ground, cannot replenish it. Trees under 10 years of age, dwarf forms and the Aurea variety are especially affected. When the weather is sunny, burlap or white nonwoven fabric should be thrown over the trees until they start growing.
Preparing for winter
Most varieties of Serbian spruce winter well without shelter in zone 4. It is necessary to protect newly planted trees in the first year or two, then they are limited to mulching.
How fast the Serbian spruce grows
Serbian spruce grows faster than other species. Most varieties add 15-20 cm per season. Dwarf varieties grow slightly slower.
Serbian spruce, depending on the variety, reproduce:
- Forms close to the species plant and producing buds can be propagated by seed. To preserve the variety, the culling of seedlings that do not resemble the parental form begins from the first year of life. Usually, the yield of quality plants does not exceed 20-50%. From the moment of emergence of seedlings to transplantation to a permanent place, it takes 4-5 years.
- Most Serbian fir trees can be propagated by cuttings. Experts take them all year round; amateurs are advised to engage in rooting in the spring. There are a lot of lunges, even with professional breeding.
- Weeping forms are bred exclusively by vaccinations. This operation is beyond the power of amateurs. Even domestic nurseries are just mastering it and are not able to saturate the market.
Diseases and pests
Serbian spruce has good health and is rarely affected by pests. But only if the tree is regularly looked after, watered on time, fed and carried out preventive treatments.
The culture is often affected in the absence of sprinkling of the crown with a spider mite. If the needles are moistened late in the evening, and they do not have time to dry, mealybugs may appear in warm climates.Other pests are introduced from infected plants. In the years of epizootics (mass reproduction of this or that insect), all cultures suffer.
Among the diseases, it should be noted separately rot that occurs during overflows, especially on dense soils, and shute, which affects mostly the branches lying on the ground. Infection from tree to tree can be spread with dirty hands.
Diseases are fought with fungicides, pests are destroyed with insecticides.
Serbian spruce maintenance is simple, but should be regular. This beautiful, healthy coniferous culture grows well in Russia and neighboring countries. On the basis of Serbian spruce, a variety of different varieties have been created that can satisfy every taste.