Young trees need care like little children. They need special support and care until they grow up and get stronger. The health of the tree or shrub and the future harvest depend on proper care. How many fertilizers do seedlings need, why branches froze in the spring, how often trees need to be watered - novice gardeners have a lot of questions. Let's look at it in order.
How to choose seedlings
Healthy planting material is the basis for good survival and future harvest. There are several rules on how to choose seedlings of fruit trees and shrubs:
- You need to buy planting material from trusted suppliers. It is best to give preference to nurseries and specialty stores. They will cost a little more, but with proper care they will definitely take root.
- You need to buy seedlings just before planting. An exception can be made for a rare variety that can be bought up.
- A seedling with an open root system should have a sufficient number of roots. If the tree was dug up recently (there is earth left on the roots), then it will take root faster.
- The seedling must be clean, free from damage, mold and traces of parasites.
- 1-2 year old plants take root best of all. The height of an annual tree is 120-140 cm.
- Only zoned varieties should be chosen.
- You do not need to choose seedlings with a large number of leaves, as a lot of moisture is lost through them.
Top dressing of young trees and shrubs
Ordinary garden soil rarely boasts high fertility. Young fruit trees and shrubs need a lot of nutrients, which must be applied in a timely manner and correctly. The lack of elements in the soil will affect the growth and health of the plant, its resistance to diseases and weather resistance, and will negatively affect the future yield of the tree. But an excess of fertilizer can also harm - burn the roots. Therefore, you need to fertilize in moderation. Before planting, the planting hole must be well filled with organic or complex fertilizers. Young plants have an increased need for potassium, nitrogen, phosphorus.
What is the best way to feed the seedlings of fruit trees in the spring after planting? If the soil was filled enough during planting, there is no need to fertilize the seedlings in the first year. The first feeding with nitrogen begins in the second or third year after planting, in spring and autumn. In autumn, nitrogen should not be given under immature plants, otherwise they will grow again and may die from frost. Nitrogen is found in the following substances:
- manure, bird droppings, compost - the nitrogen content is low, so it is better to combine with mineral fertilizers;
- ammonium nitrate is well absorbed by plants, the norm in dry form is 15 g per sq. m. or 20 g per 10 liters of water;
- urea contains nitrogen in a form that is well absorbed by plants.
In the fall of the fourth year after planting, you can start feeding with potassium and phosphorus. Fruiting trees are fertilized with these elements in the spring during the period of fruit ovary. Potassium can be added using:
- potassium salt, potassium content is 40%, applied at the end of the growing season;
- potassium sulfate, contains 50% potassium, they need to fertilize in the spring.
You can fertilize with phosphorus:
- superphosphate, which is introduced at the rate of 30 g per sq. m .;
- phosphate rock, which also neutralizes the acidity of the soil.
Many gardeners use compost as fertilizer. It contains many substances necessary for young plants. Good compost can give the seedlings enough nutrition to start successfully. It is introduced at planting and in the third year after. But if the soil is very poor, then you can fertilize with organic matter in the second year. This should be done in the fall, so that some of the substances have time to be absorbed, which will help the tree to survive the winter easier.
Watering rules for seedlings
When planting, the seedling is carefully watered in the area of the trunk circle. This is necessary not only to water the plant, but also to compact the soil. To prevent water from spreading around, but absorbed to a sufficient depth, several techniques are used:
- Bowl... Around the trunk circle, equal to the diameter of the crown, sides are made of earth, 15-20 cm high. Water is carefully poured into the resulting "bowl".
- Trench. This method is suitable for a garden on a flat surface with trees in a row. A furrow is made in the row spacing, about 30 cm wide, you can water from a hose.
- Sprinkling... This is the most efficient way of watering trees growing on a slope, where the usual method washes away the fertile layer. Irrigation is carried out using special equipment.
- Subsoil watering... To do this, when planting on both sides of the trunk, pipes are inserted vertically, about 50 cm long. Subsequently, water is fed into the pipes and goes directly to the roots. With this method of irrigation, the flow rate is reduced by 3 times.
In the first year after planting, seedlings need frequent watering - about once every two weeks. A common newbie mistake is to water more often, but with a little water. With this method, moisture does not sufficiently enter the roots, because they are at a depth of 50-70 cm. Therefore, it is better to water less often, but abundantly. One seedling requires about 30-50 liters of water, for 3-5 year old trees - up to 80 liters. Shrub crops need 40-60 liters per 1 sq. m of the trunk circle.
Reasons for freezing trees in spring
Young trees and shrubs that survived even a harsh winter can freeze out in early spring. This period is characterized by strong daily temperature drops (the difference between day and night temperatures can be up to 30 degrees). Positive (up to 10-20 gr.) Daytime temperatures stimulate the awakening of the plant, sap flow begins, the tissues become sensitive to cold. At night in spring, there may still be frosts down to -10 gr., Or even lower. Under such conditions, flower buds suffer, and the bark can be damaged by sunburn. Young plants have a superficial root system, which can also be damaged when the soil freezes. Therefore, it is recommended to cover the ground around the trunk with mulch - peat or sawdust, 10-12 cm high.
Late spring frosts often coincide with flowering and the beginning of fruit setting. Buds die at -3-4 gr., Flowers - at -2-3 gr., Ovaries - at -1-2 gr. If many flowers or ovaries are damaged on a tree, then everything must be cut off, even whole ones. If only a part is damaged, you need to leave no more than a quarter to keep the plant vigorous. As soon as possible, you need to loosen and weed the soil around the damaged plant and mulch with humus or compost with a layer of 5-10 cm.
To reanimate frostbitten plants, you need to immediately provide them with proper care. In late spring - early summer, the slightest lack of moisture should not be allowed.Damaged trees should be watered frequently and abundantly, as they have difficulty in sap flow. During this period, you do not need to try to save the plant with fertilizers before mid-June. A solution of sodium humate can be added under the root, spraying on the leaves with a 1% solution of mineral fertilizer will help. Foliar dressing can be repeated 3-4 times with an interval of 10-15 days.
Pruning with low freezing is carried out at the usual time. If only the tops of the branches are affected, then the damaged part is removed to healthy wood. In case of severe damage, pruning should be postponed until early May so that the dead branches are clearly visible. You should try to leave more shoots so that the plant has a chance to reanimate as soon as possible. A heavily frozen seedling can be cut to the grafting level, provided that the tree below is not damaged.
Tips for caring for young trees
- Young branches can break under heavy snow. To avoid this, in the fall, you need to carefully pull and tie the branches with a soft ribbon.
- To protect the seedlings from mice and sunburn, you need to apply protection (wrapping with burlap) in late autumn. It is also important to remove it in time in the spring, so that the bark does not rot. This should be done in the evening or in cloudy weather, so the tree will not get burned.
- In regions with unpredictable winters (as, for example, in the Moscow region), you can hide a young tree from frost entirely with covering material.
- It has become very fashionable to plant large trees - adult trees. At the same time, you need to be careful with mineral and poorly rotted organic fertilizers. Root growth stimulants will not interfere, they will help speed up the rooting process of the tree.
- Growing a tree is a lengthy process. So that the large area between the seedlings is not empty, you can plant fast-growing shrubs or garden crops there.
- Fruit tree seedlings are usually tied to a peg for protection from the wind. In this case, you need to ensure that the trunk does not rub against the peg, and the ropes do not cut into the bark.
Growing a garden is not an easy task. Saplings require a lot of attention and knowledge. The novice gardener will have to learn to care for trees and bushes until they turn into luxurious fruit-bearing trees and bushes. Then hard work will be a joy.