Decorative almonds, planting, care and pruning rules
Often, owners of summer cottages try to acquire new types of plants by buying foreign varieties of trees and shrubs. But not all exotic plants can compare with such a hazel like almonds. Thanks to the work of breeders, it can be grown not only in the southern, but also in the middle part of Russia. This article will help amateur gardeners learn all the details of planting, care and storage of the harvest of this decorative tree.
Description of decorative almonds
The almond fruit (in Latin Amygdalus) is a representative of the genus Plum. You can also find the following names of this shrub: tender plum, dwarf almonds or bobovnik. In some cases, almonds are grown on a stem or try to create a low decorative tree. In the Russian Federation, almonds are most common in the form of small three-lobed bush plants.
The main characteristics of the plant include the following:
- almonds have trunks of gray-scarlet color, which can reach 100 - 150 cm in height, and some species can grow up to 250–300 cm;
- the bush lets out even fan-shaped shoots, thanks to which the plant takes on a round-oval shape;
- from the third year of life, the accessory kidneys form, which gradually replace the old root offspring;
- almond roots are very fragile and easily broken;
- the sizes of leaves in all varieties are different (width varies from 15 mm to 30 mm, and length - from 40 mm to 80 mm);
- low or steppe almonds have pink flowers and dark green leaves with serrated color along the edges;
- ornamental shrubs begin to bloom in early spring for 5 years after the transplant.
Many almond stamens form a delicate and fragrant flower, which can be seen in the photo.. The corolla in diameter reaches 3 cm, and the buds are dense in the upper part of the processes. Flowering plants last about 1 to 3 weeks.
Important! The only variety of decorative walnuts with edible fruits is steppe almonds.
Common almonds are divided into two types: bitter and sweet. The first grows in the wild, and the second was specially bred by breeders to decorate the landscape. The shrub does not breed independently and requires additional planting nearby other varieties of almonds for cross pollination.
Growing decorative almonds
The plant loves light, open areas and is highly frost-resistant, therefore, it is not required to additionally prepare it for cold weather. At the same time, it is important to understand when and how best to plant this plant, because the success of growing almonds directly depends on compliance with the rules of agricultural technology.
Dates and scheme of planting and transplanting in open ground
Almonds can be planted both in the spring and in the fall season. It is worth considering that the culture is growing rapidly and is characterized by early fruiting, so planting at the beginning of the year will interfere with the successful development of the root system due to rapid flowering. Active gardening should be planned for spring only as a last resort. It is better to transplant almonds in late October or early November. In a mild climate, the bush will have time to take root, and in the spring all efforts will be directed to growth.
Did you know? February 16 in the United States is considered the official Almond Day. This is because in mid-February, almond trees begin to bloom in California, from where more than 60% of the world's walnut stock is exported.
Almonds grow best in rocky or calcareous areas with light loam. Permissible level of soil acidity is pH 5–7.5.The planting site must be freed from high branched crops that can create a shadow for flowering shrubs.
Before transplanting this relative of the plum, it is important to create all favorable conditions for him:
- check how close underground waters come to the surface (the norm is no closer than two meters);
- prepare the planting mixture: sand, soil from the orchard and humus (you can compost) are mixed in a ratio of 1: 3: 2;
- add 0.3-0.4 kg of quenched lime or dolomite flour to the substrate to stabilize the acidity of the soil;
- dig out landing pits at a distance of 1.5–2 m from each other.
Important! Shrub almonds should not be transplanted into the open ground under the age of three.
Before moving the seedling into open ground, it must be soaked in a solution of water and clay (in a ratio of 1: 1) for at least 6 hours. The transplant is carried out according to the scheme 7 × 4 or 7 × 5 in the following sequence:
- A pit is excavated with a depth and diameter of 30 cm.
- A 10 cm drainage layer is placed at the bottom.
- A seedling is placed in the prepared nutrient substrate. The root neck should remain above the ground.
- A metal support is immediately installed for the seedling trunk, so the weakened roots will harden faster.
- Further, the culture is covered with earth, rammed and watered (at least 1 bucket of water per 1 bush).
- The near-stem circle is covered with a layer of mulch from dry earth or black peat 6–8 cm thick.
It is better to plant a bush in the evening. You can also do this in the morning or afternoon, but always in cloudy weather.
Video: Almonds in your garden
The subtleties of care
Since fruit varieties are more whimsical than decorative varieties, almond care is as follows:
- Watering - the ground under the bushes needs to be moistened as necessary, because the flowering almonds are characterized by low requirements for frequent moisture. It is enough to make 10–20 L of water under one bush every 8–10 days. In wet weather, it is better to reduce the amount of watering to two times a month, since excess moisture contributes to rotting of the root neck. Before watering, the ground under the bush must be loosened and all weeds removed.
- Top dressing - in early spring, the first top dressing is carried out in the form of mulch from humus and lowland peat. In mid-April or early May (before the flowering of the bush), a mixture of 1 liter of mullein, 25 g of urea, 40 g of ammonium nitrate and 10 l of water is used to fertilize the plant. Helping to strengthen the trunk and the growth of the kidneys will allow top dressing of 30 g of superphosphate to 10 liters of water in mid-summer. During the autumn digging, 20 g of double superphosphate and 20 g of potassium sulfate should be scattered on each square meter of soil.
- Pruning - after the culture has ceased to bloom, the removal of damaged and dead branches is mandatory. Such sanitary pruning will help to form the crown of the bush. Also removed are seven-year-old adult almond trunks that have begun to die. Over time, they will be replaced by young root offspring.
- Wintering - an annual tree is covered with straw, dry leaves or lutrasil before the onset of frost with a layer of 15 cm. An adult culture can withstand severe cold and can winter without hiding.
- Diseases and Pests - the main enemies who suck out juice, eat leaves and interfere with the development of almond buds, are aphids, caterpillars, leafworms and plum moths. Ladybugs can do fine with aphids, and the caterpillars can be assembled by hand or using the pesticide spraying method. May beetle larvae can be destroyed with the help of the Antichrushch drug (10 ml / 10 l of water, the consumption rate is 10 l of solution per 100 m² of plot) or any insecticide. The main diseases of the nut include moniliosis (treated with Bordeaux liquid - 100 g of copper sulfate per 10 l of water) and gray rot (it is necessary to cut and burn all affected branches before pads with spores form).
Harvesting and storage
During the ripening of the fruits of the almond shrub, the shell begins to crack along the edges, making it much easier to separate from the fruit. Inside the shell is an oval-oblong bone of a brownish tint up to 3 cm long. You can collect the finished crop at the end of July. The bone, separated from the pericarp, is dried under open sunlight or in the oven. As a container for storage, a fabric bag or a cardboard box is suitable. Keep the fruits in a dry and well-ventilated area.
Important! Almonds respond well to pruning and are growing rapidly, so errors during branch removal can be fixed next season.
Almonds in landscaping
Many experienced gardeners choose almonds as a decorative decoration for their adjoining area due to its unusually beautiful flowering.. Shrubs are often planted on lawn grass, slopes, or next to garden stones. A well-thought-out shape of the crown can obscure the places for rest or, in case of planting a large number of bushes, to form a beautiful walking alley.
The crown of a mature ornamental bush is cut like a peach tree in several stages each year:
- In early spring, the first sanitary pruning takes place.
- After lush flowering, branches that differ in too active growth are removed. This helps the trunks to ripen and direct forces to the formation of young shoots.
- Then they often give the necessary shape: they create a stump up to 55–70 cm tall, and leave 5–7 branches on the main trunk.
- In the summer season, all processes that go beyond the boundaries of the form are pinched. Planned pruning of branches that have grown over 60 cm is also carried out.
Did you know? Bitter almonds contain a large amount of poison called amygdalin glycoside, which gives the product a specific taste. That's why the fruits of the bush can not be eaten without special treatment (a lethal dose of bitter nuts — 50 pieces).
Creating a crown consists of the following steps:
- It is necessary to determine the height of the stem: choose the one with which young branches should begin their growth. All other lower shoots must be cut to zero.
- Next, select the skeletal branch. Its role will be played by the maximum height escape from the lower row. It must be very strong and fully formed.
- The nearest branch, which is located at a height of 15 - 20 cm from the main skeletal and looks in the opposite direction from it, will become the second skeletal.
- The third skeletal branch should be 15 - 20 cm above the second and look perpendicular to the above shoots.
- Without exception, all branches that grow in the region of three skeletal are cut to zero.
- To control the growth of the tree up will help control the main trunk. It should be higher than the last branch by 0.5 m.
After pruning, you need to monitor the growth of young shoots. They should not thicken the crown and dominate the skeletal branches. Excess shoots that are knocked out of the general form of the bush are adjusted using pruning. Cutting off dense branches, it is necessary to blot the places of cuts with a garden decoction for healing cuts and wounds (a talker of 200 g of clay, 100 g of manure and 100 g of lime, diluted with water to a state resembling thick sour cream is suitable). This will stimulate the quick restoration of the tree.
Almonds on the stem
Stacked almonds look as impressive as a bush shaped garden plant. The seedling of the desired form can be purchased ready-made from specialized specialists or created by yourself. Moreover, to do this is quite simple. The easiest method for forming a stem is to trim the crown, which will help create the trunk. The procedure takes a lot of time, but is very effective.
The formation of the stem can be achieved by tying an even seedling (necessarily without knots) to a standing wooden support immediately after transplanting to the prepared site. After the bush has passed into the stage of active growth, the top must be tied to a clogged peg, and cut off all the side branches. This will give the bush a hat shape.
Bright and peculiar decorative almonds are resistant to extreme heat and cold winters. With proper care, it will delight the eye with spectacular flowering for a long time: the culture is able to grow on the site for up to 100 years. Thanks to the variety of crown formation options, you can easily complement the landscape design of your garden with an original and unpretentious plant.