Conifers, with their evergreen leaves and majestic size, are the most widespread and ancient ornamental trees.
They take their name from the woody fruits – called cones or strobili – that contain their seeds.
They are present in temperate environments and have needle-shaped or flat, dark green leaves that allow the trees to capture light, even when they grow in dense forests. If the plants are in a very bright and airy place, the needles have a light color and tend to cover themselves with white protective waxes.
Many conifers produce perfumed resins, called amber, which protect them from fungi and insects.
The Characteristics of Conifers
The conifers belong to the Gymnospermae (or Pinophyta), class Coniferopsida, order Coniferales and are subdivided into six families (Araucariaceae, Cephalotaxaceae, Cupressaceae, Pinaceae, Podocarpaceae, Taxodiaceae), in which there are about 550 species, included in 67 genera.
Among these ornamental trees, the most widespread and cultivated are: the maritime pine, which is generally found in the Tyrrhenian areas; the domestic pine of the Mediterranean areas; the Swiss stone pine and the Scots pine of the Alps; different types of firs, from white to red.
There are also those belonging to the genus Tuja, which can be cultivated in hedges, or the cypress.
To cultivate such trees in the garden, it is necessary to choose a large space to plant them, because they need to be at a certain distance from buildings and other conifers.
Attention should also be paid to the soil, which must not be too heavy or too full of limestone, because otherwise the leaves will turn yellow. If this happens, the soil, where the trees are grown, must be enriched with iron-based fertilizer.
The soil suitable for conifers, however, is very drained and fertile.
How Do You Maintain The Conifers?
The period for planting these evergreen plants varies according to the region in which it is to be carried out.
In particular, in the southern and coastal areas, where the climate is mild, these ornamental trees can be planted in early autumn; while in areas with a more rigid climate, it is advisable to plant them in late spring.
The conifers must be pruned, in order to remove the double tops and to create a balance of the foliage.
For trees cultivated with hedges, pruning must be done more frequently, in order to give shape to the conifers.
For the well-being of the plants, it is necessary to fertilise the soil, especially if it is not the most suitable for these ornamental trees.
Granular fertilizers are the best on the market and must be administered periodically.
Among the diseases of conifers, there is the so-called pine processionary, a butterfly larva, which consumes the leaves and trunk of trees through the emission of stinging substances. To combat them, the larvae must be removed and a pesticide applied.
Pine cancer, on the other hand, is caused by a fungus, which causes the leaves to turn yellow until the plant is completely destroyed. Against this last disease, prevention and constant control of the conifer and the surrounding trees is indispensable.
Places of Cultivation
Thanks to the ease of cultivation, the little attention required, the evergreen foliage, conifers adapt easily to both outdoor and indoor environments.
This allows to create a beautiful green space, in the garden or even at home, thanks to the capacity of such ornamental trees, especially the dwarf conifers, to live well also in pots. These latter trees are small in size and develop very slowly, so they require less space and less care than other conifers.
They can, therefore, live easily, even if planted in boxes or pots and their aesthetic appearance is better in the period between autumn and winter.
And to Conclude
By following the instructions above, you can have a garden or an apartment full of ornamental, imposing, evergreen and fragrant trees.
The elegant posture, the coloring of the leaves, the resinous aromas enrich the rooms with colors and fresh fragrances and, sometimes, they also have the utility, in large green spaces, to define entire avenues or, in marine areas, to create barriers to strong winds. If you are looking for advice on how to decorate and “furnish” your garden, always getting the best results from your garden, in the book “Trees and Shrubs” of Collana del Verde you will find many indications on how to grow and grow your trees as quickly and correctly as possible.