The conifer family is very large and widespread. It includes over 600 species which, depending on their characteristics, appear in their natural state in almost every area of the planet.
This means that there are conifers suitable for every climate, from the hottest to the most rigid, as you can see by leafing through the pages of “Trees and Shrubs”, the volume of Collana del Verde in which we talk about conifers, large, medium and small development, and how to grow them in the most effective and simple way. There are over 200 varieties of conifers of which the volume offers a description and an illustrative photo, which represents the variety at the moment of maximum development.
Some characteristics make conifers a privileged choice for parks and gardens.
For example, the persistent foliage – with a few rare exceptions – consisting of dense needles, makes them very popular as fences and natural barriers.
Growing Conifers In The Garden
The pine, fir, thuja, larch, cypress, juniper, there are many species of conifers that are well suited to the gardens and even the balconies of Italians. These plants do not need excessive care but only some targeted attention.
Just a few cares are enough to fully enjoy their beauty and pleasant scent, due to the resins.
Conifers in nature grow on rough and even rocky soils: this is because they have a great rooting capacity. When we find ourselves planting them we must therefore consider that they are afraid of soils that are too moist and heavy, which risk rotting them. Limestone soils or soils poor in iron yellow their foliage, in which case it is necessary to spread anti-chlorosis products.
Depending on the type of plant we choose, we must take care that it has the necessary living space, taking into account the size it will reach over the years. These considerations become even more important when it comes to planting a large number of plants close together to form a barrier, for example.
In addition, for large plants, the distance to walls, roads and buildings also needs to be well calculated in order to preserve their integrity. It should not be forgotten that some of the largest and longest-lived species belong to the conifer family, such as redwood.
How And When To Plant Conifers
The most suitable periods for planting or transplanting conifers are September-October and April-May. In the case of potted shrubs, any time is fine. If you transplant in a dry period you need to pay more attention to the regularity of subsequent watering.
It would always be better to buy plants that are still small, because they take root better and more easily than the already large ones. However, planting adult specimens provides the desired effect right away, especially if you want to build a hedge or a barrier.
In any case, when planting conifers, you must prepare the soil well with special tools, such as hoes or spiders. The first thing to do is to dig a sufficiently large and deep hole. Then you spread peat and organic manure on the bottom of the excavation. The root system of the plant must be cleaned of any broken or compromised roots with sharp scissors. Once the plant is in place, you have to cover the hole with fertilized soil and compact it with your feet. Finally, water it abundantly.
Tips For Pruning Conifers
Even as far as pruning is concerned, there are not many things to know, but they are important. In the volume of Collana del Verde, “La pratura e gli graesti”, in the large section dedicated to “La pratura degli alberi ornamentali”, all the tricks to carry out a proper pruning are revealed, without being great experts in gardening and plants.
The right time to cut is between autumn and winter.
In the case of the cultivation of conifers for ornamental purposes, most of the interventions will be aesthetic, with the elimination of branches that compromise the shape and balance of the foliage. Sometimes we may find ourselves having to eliminate branches that are too low, which, in addition to being unsightly, could pose a danger to passers-by or to the surrounding buildings.
In any case, it is always good to remember to apply a healing agent to the wounds that pruning leaves the plant. In fact, although conifers defend themselves by producing resin to cover the cuts, there is always the risk that parasites will penetrate the wood right where it is weakest as a result of pruning.
In some cases it may be necessary to intervene outside the optimal season. For example, hedges and barriers will be pruned more frequently, aimed at keeping them in order. In spring, it is sometimes necessary to cut to eliminate the processionary nests. These off-season interventions stress the plants and weaken them, making them more prone to disease and pests. Therefore, as a precaution, it is a good idea to fertilise hedge conifers more often with a fertiliser suitable for conifers, and treat them with specific products to combat possible parasites. In the book “Trees and Shrubs”, in the extensive and detailed section dedicated to the creation of Hedges and Bordures, there are all the indications to choose the best and most suitable varieties for the design of your green space.