Today, in summer cottages, you can increasingly find ornamental plants that need minimal care and simple maintenance conditions. One of these plants is the mountain ash - it is known for its unique frost resistance, as well as lush white inflorescences, which make this plant an ideal honey plant. In this article, you will get acquainted with the description of the mountain ash, as well as with the intricacies of planting and caring for it.
Wedge-leaved fieldfare (or "Sorbaria sorbifolia") belongs to the shrub-type plants from the Pink family. These bushes have a height of up to 3 meters, as well as a spreading and lush crown up to 2.5 meters in diameter. The plant got this name due to the similar shape of the leaves of the plant with the foliage of the common mountain ash. The fieldberry bush itself is formed from several erect shoots up to 1-1.5 cm thick.Each shoot can contain from 3 to 20 or more leaves up to 28 cm long.Each leaf, which ends with a single plate, consists of 12-23 small leaves of a pointed pinnate shape.
Mountain ash flowers have a small diameter of up to 1.5 cm and are collected in elongated pyramidal inflorescences up to 30 cm in length. Due to the fact that each flower of such a field ash is equipped with several long stamens, the inflorescences of this plant always look lush and fluffy. Fieldfare is actively used today in landscape design or serves as a honey plant. In rare cases, on the basis of mountain ash, medicinal preparations are made that have an antiseptic and antibacterial effect.
Gardeners most often use 3 varieties of mountain ash.
- "Sam". This is the most popular variety of mountain ash - it is usually used in the formation of hedges at their summer cottage. Such a plant has an average height of 0.8-1.2 meters. It differs from other species in small green leaves with a pleasant beige tint, as well as long inflorescences with creamy buds.
- "Pallas". Also a popular variety that is most often found in Siberia. It is slightly higher than the field ash "Sam", has a more powerful root system, better tolerates cold and prolonged drought. The main advantage of this variety is not the color of the leaves, but the appearance of the inflorescences with large and slightly pinkish flowers.
- Pink Hopi. The field ash of this variety has an incredibly lush and dense crown, in which the leaves are closer to the center as if covered with gold, and at the very tops they are pale pink. It is a fairly tall plant that can grow up to 1.7 meters in height. The main advantage is its high resistance to frost and no need for frequent pruning.
How to plant?
The planting process of mountain ash-leaved fieldfare consists of several stages.
Novice gardeners usually use seedlings or small bushes of fieldfare purchased from botanical stores or horticultural markets. Before planting seedlings in a permanent place, all dried branches should be removed from them and the integrity of the root system should be checked. Seedlings up to 15-20 cm high should be planted, while on each shoot there should be several young buds, and the shoot itself must have strong roots.
Preparing the landing site
Fortunately, fieldfare belongs to garden shrubs that can take root in almost any environmental conditions. This can be either a shaded place or an open area that will be constantly illuminated by the sun. If the field ash is tolerant of the sun, then a strong wind can greatly harm this plant - break branches, drive off pollinating insects and affect the growth of the tree crown. To avoid this, gardeners recommend not planting fieldfare in completely open areas, or provide a solid support to fix the trunk and branches of the shrub.
When planting mountain ash in open ground, you should not worry about the composition of the soil at the landing site. This shrub thrives on almost any soil. Despite this, fieldfare most of all loves loams rich in vitamins and minerals with neutral or weak acidity (with an indicator up to 6-7). In addition, the soil must have good water and air permeability. Compliance with all these conditions will directly affect the splendor of the crown of the shrub, the abundance and duration of flowering, as well as the immunity of fieldfare. Occasionally, it is advisable to add peat or sand to the tree trunk circle to this plant - this stimulates the growth of root shoots.
If we talk about soil moisture, the fieldfare prefers abundant watering, but stagnation of water in the case of such a plant is also undesirable - that is why a drainage layer is always organized in the planting pit.
The rowan-leaved fieldfare is usually planted in early spring before the period of sap flow, or already in the fall after leaf fall. Experts advise to plant the plant in the spring - until next winter it should have time to root properly.
- To plant a fieldfare bush, you should dig a hole 40-50 cm deep and 70-80 cm in diameter. When choosing sizes, be guided by the shape of the plant roots.
- Provide a 5-7 cm thick drainage layer at the bottom of the pit.
- Prepare the soil mixture for planting the plant. It should consist of turf, sand, humus, compost and mineral fertilizers.
- Inspect the roots of the plant for integrity, then place the fieldfare in the hole so that they are located in different directions and do not break.
- Using the prepared soil, fill in all the holes between the roots in the hole so that the root collar of the fieldberry bush rises a few centimeters above ground level. Some gardeners recommend organizing a special earthen slide in the trunk circle near the bush to prevent moisture accumulation near the roots.
- The near-trunk earthen circle is slightly compacted and watered with 1-2 buckets of settled water. Then mulching should be carried out.
How to properly care for?
Mountain ash care consists of 5 separate points, each of which requires a careful approach. In general, fieldfare can do great without painstaking care, but the latter will affect the appearance of the plant and its health.
The rowan-leaved fieldfare is able to withstand drought for some time, but it belongs to garden plants that prefer regular and abundant watering. Over-watering will be much more beneficial than lack of water and drying out of the soil. It is thanks to this love of moisture that in natural conditions the field ash is found next to water bodies and rivers. Watering mountain ash-leaved fieldfare should be carried out at least 2-3 times a month, if we are talking about an already adult shrub with its own root system. If this is a young plant or a newly planted seedling, watering should be carried out more often and constantly monitor that the ground near the plant's trunk circle does not dry out.
Fieldfare should be watered most abundantly during periods of drought - at least once every few days. At a time, a mountain ash bush, depending on its age, can have from 1 to 3 10-liter buckets of water. During each watering, you should loosen the soil in the near-trunk circle - this will allow water to be absorbed faster into the soil.
Fieldfare, especially mountain ash, is distinguished by very fast growth rates and can increase the diameter of its crown several times in a couple of seasons. To preserve a certain appearance of the plant, gardeners resort to decorative pruning. The procedure itself should be carried out in summer and spring. Wellness pruning is carried out no earlier than 3 years after planting the shrub in open ground. This procedure primarily involves pruning dry, diseased and broken branches. A similar procedure in a mild form can be carried out in the spring, after each wintering of the plant.
The process of pruning should not bring any inconvenience to the mountain ash - in some cases decorative pruning is allowed up to 4 times in 1 season.
The rowan-leaved fieldfare belongs to plants that tolerate even the lowest temperatures. In its natural environment, this shrub is able to withstand even the most severe cold down to -30 degrees. Such frost resistance makes this plant an ideal candidate for planting in Siberia and in the middle lane. In addition, an adult fieldfare will not need any additional shelter. Only sick or recently planted seedlings of this shrub are covered with spruce branches in order to painlessly endure the winter.
An important moment in the wintering of mountain ash-leaved fieldfare is the removal of dried-up inflorescences from the shoots, which can become an excellent wintering place for insects and pests. For the same reason, all the fallen leaves around the shrub are removed and burned before the beginning of winter. Such foliage can become a home not only for dangerous pests, but also for fungal diseases or viruses.
To make the mountain ash crown look lush and healthy, this plant should be regularly fed. It is worth saying that the fieldfare, unlike many garden plants, is not picky about the type of dressing - it perfectly absorbs both mineral and organic fertilizers . In the spring season, nitrogen fertilizers are introduced into the soil near the shrub to stimulate the growth of roots and young shoots. In summer, in order to increase the number of inflorescences and extend the flowering period, fieldfare can be fed with sodium nitrate. In the fall, to strengthen immunity before the winter period, it is best to feed in the form of superphosphate.
If the fieldfare bush has grown too much and interferes with neighboring plants, or this shrub was planted in an inappropriate area, the gardener decides to transplant the plant to a new permanent place. It is better to carry out the transplantation procedure itself in the spring (or early autumn), no more than 1 time in 3 years. The transplant process might look like this. Here, such a method of reproduction of field ash will be approximately described as dividing a bush, which is usually carried out precisely during the transplantation of this plant.
- On the selected plot of land (far from trees and stunted plants), a hole is dug 70 by 70 cm in size and half a meter deep.
- At the bottom of the pit, a drainage layer about 5-7 cm thick is laid out. Broken brick, crushed stone or pebbles are used as drainage.
- A mixture of soil is prepared for plant transplantation. The composition of such a soil should include compost, sod land, humus and mineral fertilizers for garden plants.
- An adult overgrown fieldfare should be carefully dug up and the roots should be cleaned from the ground. Then the root system of the bush is divided into several tubers with full adult shoots. Each shoot must have buds.
- A sharp garden knife is used to separate the root system. So that in the cut off places the bushes do not rot or dry out, the cut sites are processed with crushed charcoal and a root formation stimulator.
- Divided bushes are planted in new places so that a distance of at least 1 meter remains between them.
- All holes with new bushes are abundantly watered with settled water (room temperature) and covered with mulch. In the coming year, these plants will need increased attention in terms of watering and feeding.
When propagating a garden plant such as mountain ash, gardeners usually use only three methods: cuttings, dividing the bush and removing the bush.
This breeding option is usually chosen by novice gardeners - it is the simplest and causes minimal damage to the mother field bush.
- In mid-spring, young shoots up to 25 cm long are cut from the top of the branches of an adult fieldfare. Both completely green cuttings and already lignified branches can be selected.
- To stimulate the growth of the roots of cuttings in a new place, they are placed in a solution of a root formation stimulator for a day. After that, each cutting should be planted in a separate small container with standard meadow soil (a little sand can be added to the soil).
- Alternatively, cuttings can be planted outdoors in small beds. However, if such a landing takes place in the fall, they will need additional shelter in the form of jars or plastic bottles.
- Over the next month, all cuttings are watered abundantly. As soon as you notice new green leaves or swelling buds on the shoots, the cuttings are planted in a permanent place with the standard planting procedure.
Gardeners who want to spend a minimum of effort to quickly propagate fieldfare usually use a method such as diversion. He suggests that in the spring or early summer, several of the strongest shoots of the fieldfare are bent to the ground, secured with a hairpin and covered with soil. In this case, the tip of the shoot remains above the ground. A small incision should be made in the place where the shoot is covered with earth. There should also be several young buds. This will allow the plant to root and by the end of summer to get a full-fledged young bush with its own root shoots.
The most important thing in the process of such reproduction is to care for the layers in the same way as for the mother bush. Transplanting a new bush to a permanent place (that is, separating it from the mother bush) can be carried out in the same autumn or in the first months of next spring.
Diseases and pests
All varieties of fieldfare are garden plants with excellent immunity to most common diseases. This is due to the high content of phytoncides in the shoots of this plant, which effectively protect fieldfare from fungal diseases and even pests. If some pests settle on the fieldfare, then it is usually a spider mite or ordinary green aphid. The tick can be recognized by its characteristic gray spider web, covering inflorescences or individual leaves. This pest slows down the growth of the plant and prevents sunlight from reaching the fieldfare foliage, which leads to the drying of the shoots and even the death of the entire plant. The green aphid shrivels the fieldberry foliage and drinks all the juices from it. This usually leads to the death of green and still young shoots of this shrub.
In the fight against such pests, it is recommended to use ordinary insecticidal preparations. The most popular and affordable today are Fitoverma and Mitaka. Treatment with these drugs should be carried out strictly according to the instructions. The most terrible disease for fieldfare is a viral mosaic. Initially, this virus covers only individual leaves of the plant, but very quickly spreads to the entire crown.
The virus is expressed in frequent gradient spots on the fieldfare foliage. Unfortunately, a bush infected with this virus is no longer subject to treatment. Experts advise to immediately destroy the plant and disinfect the soil in place of its growth.
Use in landscape design
In landscape design, mountain ash is used not only for its lush inflorescences. This plant has a unique foliage that changes color depending on the current season. For example, young leaves of this plant have a very delicate pinkish lemon hue . By summer, the shade becomes light green due to the influence of the sun, while in the fall such a fieldberry turns into a rich burgundy color, which looks charming against the background of other plants.
Most often, fieldfare of this type is used as a hedge or to focus attention on individual landscape objects. Individual fieldfare can also often be found in the design of summer cottages - here they play the role of a compositional center of the entire garden or flower bed. This plant is best combined with perennials and conifers (thuja, lilac, cotoneaster), but it can create a pleasant contrast next to low-growing annuals such as marigolds, pansies or petunias.
For information on how to plant the mountain ash plant correctly, see the next video.