If you need to choose a plant for a hedge, a resting corner, or to decorate a porch, a terrace - stop at the thuja, especially when there are swampy and peaty soils on the site, unsuitable for most fruit and berry crops. Thuja is highly regarded all over the world for its decorative effect. This evergreen coniferous breed is beautiful in winter and summer. Under favorable conditions in nature, it can reach a height of 20-30 m, and the trunk is 180 cm in diameter. In culture, thuja is much lower. At a young age, the tree is especially graceful. Its crown is narrow pyramidal, later it becomes ovoid, but does not lose its decorative effect. For this, the thuja is called the “cypress of the North”, in contrast to the real cypress growing in the south.
Thuja shoots are covered with scaly, and in transitional forms - needle-shaped needles, which are bright green in spring, dark green in summer, and brown-green in winter. The needles fall off after 4-5 years along with the branches (branch fall).
An interesting biological feature of thuja is "flowering" or, more correctly, dusting. Its flowers are called spikelets. Female spikelets are yellow-green reniform, located mainly in the upper part of the crown. Male ones are brownish-yellow, rounded, you will find them at the bottom of the tree. In the middle zone of the European part of Russia, thuja occidentalis grows dusty in the spring in April-May, before the growth of shoots. Duration of dusting, depending on the weather, is 6-12 days. Then oval bumps form. They ripen annually for 160-180 days, but bountiful harvests occur in 2-3 years. When ripe, the scales open slightly and from there flat seeds with narrow wings fly out. The mass of 1000 pieces is 1.4-1.8 g, germination lasts no more than 2 years.
Shoots begin to grow 1-1.5 weeks after dusting. The annual growth is 10-15 cm. Thuja has a superficial root system, so do not forget to shake off wet snow from the tree in winter so that it does not fall and break.
For the decoration of plots, we often use the western thuja (Thuja occidentalis L.). It comes from the coniferous and coniferous-deciduous forests of North America, stretching from Canada to North Carolina. Under natural conditions, thuja forms dense thickets mainly in swamps and in places with close groundwater, it is also found on rocky banks of mountain rivers and in valleys. Prefers moist, fresh, clayey soils in mixed forests. Such a detailed acquaintance with the habitat conditions will probably help amateur gardeners to choose the right soil for the thuja, the planting site and the "companion" plants.
Thuja western lives for more than a hundred years and therefore can please more than one generation of people. And after the death of a tree, a good owner will find use for its wood. In thuja, it is yellowish-brown, with a narrow light sapwood, fragrant, very light, soft, resistant to rot. Pine needles are also appreciated, as they contain a lot of essential oil, which is used in perfumery and medicine. Finally, it is a phytoncidal plant that can heal the surrounding air.
Thuja western is suitable for most areas of the former Soviet Union. It is winter-hardy and wind-resistant, tolerates excessive soil moisture and, at the same time, is sufficiently drought-resistant, light-loving and at the same time shade-tolerant, tolerates shearing well and resumes after cutting, not too demanding on soil fertility. The tree can be planted close to home as it is safer in case of fire than other conifers such as fir. This is due to the fact that thuja has denser wood and a lot of moisture in the needles.
Tuyu is easy to grow from seeds, it is available to every novice gardener. Collect them from mother plants in September-December. Carefully cut the buds and spread the seeds to dry in a thin layer on a table in a cool room or on a terrace where the temperature does not exceed 6-7 ° C. As soon as the scales of the cones dry up, the seeds should be removed from them and sifted through a sieve with cells measuring 6x6 mm. Then put them in gauze bags and store in a cool place until it snows. As soon as it falls out, the bags must be laid out on the ground and covered with snow with a layer of 30 cm.
In spring, seeds are sown in rows on ridges (distance between rows is 10 cm), and are planted to a depth of 0.5 cm. The seeding rate is about 5 g of seeds per 1 m². The crops are lightly sprinkled with coniferous sawdust, regularly, but moderately watered. Germination rate is usually about 90%.
Seedlings are protected from direct sunlight with shields. In the first year, they grow up to 4-6 cm, the next up to 10-20 cm, in the third - from 25 to 40 cm. In dry time, the soil under the plants is mulched with peat or sawdust. At the age of three, they dive, and at the 5th year they are planted in a permanent place, preferably in the spring. The growth of seedlings is favorably affected by fertilizing with a weak solution of slurry. However, nitrogen fertilization should be used with caution.
Thuja occidentalis and its forms also reproduce by green and lignified cuttings; decorative forms can be grafted onto savages.
Cuttings begin before the beginning of bud swelling, in late April - early May, and after the end of shoot growth, at the end of June. 2-3-year-old branches 25-40 cm long are cut from mother plants in any part of the crown. Cuttings (10-20 cm) are cut from them with a heel - a piece of old bark. They are treated for 12 hours with an aqueous solution of heteroauxin (20 mg / l) and planted in a nursery to a depth of 1.5 to 2.5 cm. Turf soil is poured into the nursery, and on top is a layer of river sand with peat (1: 1). Before planting the cuttings, the ground is bayonetted, disinfected with a solution of potassium permanganate and spilled with water.
One of the most important conditions for rooting cuttings is to maintain high air humidity, but without waterlogging the substrate. To do this, use sprinkler installations with nozzles that create artificial fog, or cover the cuttings with a film, having previously watered them from a watering can with a fine strainer. At an air temperature of 25 ° C, the artificial fog installation is turned on 6 times daily with an irrigation duration of 0.5 to 1 min (at temperatures up to 20 ° C - 4 times). In hot sunny weather, the film is whitewashed with a lime solution. Weeds are periodically weeded and measures are taken to combat pests and diseases.
As soon as the cuttings take root, they begin to harden - reduce watering and ventilate, opening a nursery for a while. For the winter, somewhere in November, they are covered with a leaf, sawdust or spruce branches, and when frosts come down to minus 5-7 ° C, they are also covered with a film. In some areas (for example, in the Black Earth Zone and to the south), thuja cuttings winter without shelter, under natural snow cover. In the spring, the insulation is removed, the plants are corrected after winter, pressing them into the ground, and weeding.
Single thuja plants look good against the background of a lawn or other tree species. From them you can form an intricate group and hedge, create an alley or a small grove. Everything will look picturesque.