Korean evergreen fir, belonging to the Abies koreana Wils family, is widely used in decorative landscaping of sites. This species is represented by a wide variety variety, due to which it can be used to create landscape compositions of any kind.
Description of Korean Fir
In nature, Korean fir is found in the Northern Hemisphere in the temperate climate zone. It is considered one of the most long-lived plants. Some specimens in vivo reach the age of 400 years. A distinctive feature of this type of fir is its slow growth. Thanks to him, the tree looks very dense and fluffy.
The trunk of the Korean fir is even, in diameter it can reach 40 cm, however, in varietal plants grown in household plots, the trunk rarely reaches a diameter of 27 cm. There are also varieties of Korean fir with an unexpressed central trunk (stem). Such plants have the appearance of a pillow-shaped bush.
In most cases, the crown of Korean fir is a cone or pyramid. In this case, the color of the plant depends not only on varietal characteristics, but also on the age of the tree. Young specimens are painted in light yellow or light green color. As the needles grow older, or rather, succulent-like leaf blades acquire emerald, bluish-green or saturated green shades, often with a whitish or silver coating on the lower part of the needles.
Fruits with seeds, or simply cones, grow on a Korean fir vertically upwards, because of which they are often compared with candles. On young trees, they are painted in dark purple or bluish-green (depending on the type), on adults, they are brown-gray or gray-green. During growth, the segments of the cones are tightly closed, and at the time of ripening, they open, and the seeds spill out.
In any phase, whether it is winter peace or active growth in the summer, representatives of Korean firs look very picturesque. They are perfectly combined with flower and decorative foliage crops, fruit trees and shrubs. Even planted in a rocky garden or on a completely flat lawn, they are able to bring a certain zest to the landscape of the site.
Siberian fir: variety of varieties
The most popular varieties of Korean fir
In landscape design, many varieties of Korean fir are used, which can conditionally be attributed to two groups:
- tall fir with a pyramidal or conical crown;
- stunted fir with a crown in the shape of an irregular flattened ball or pillow.
But not only this characteristic distinguishes one variety from another. The shape and color of the needles, the type of cones and their color, as well as preferences regarding the growing conditions - all these characteristics are unique to each variety. They must be taken into account when selecting Korean firs for decorating a site.
The most popular cultivars for Russian amateurs and professional designers are varieties Diamond, Molly, Silverberlock, Blue Emperor and Compact (the second name of this fir is Compact Dwarf).
|Grade name||Crown Shape, Plant Height||Appearance of needles||The appearance of cones||Preferred growing conditions|
|Brilliant (diamond)||Natural dwarf with a pillow-shaped crown shape with a diameter of not more than 70 cm. The maximum height of the plant is 50 cm.||The needles are dense, saturated dark green in color, on the reverse side they are bluish or silver-green with longitudinal stripes. The needles are soft, with curled edges, no more than 2 cm long.||No bumps.||Prefers windproof areas. Demanding on light, but tolerates light shading. The soil for this variety must be slightly acidic, air- and water-permeable, loose and fertile. One of the best varieties for growing in a container. Suitable for a rocky garden, mixborder and rabatka.|
|Silberlocke||The crown is conical, often without a pronounced main trunk. It grows slowly, annual growth is about 12 cm.||The needles of this variety are characterized by a strong bend, which is why the tree is often called curly. The upper part of the needles is painted green, the lower - in white-green.||Cones are medium, reach 70 mm in length, painted green-purple.||It prefers bright places, withstands frost well, but can break due to snow adhering to branches. Soil loves acidic, friable and moisture-intensive, with a high content of humus components. Used in solitary landings, Japanese gardens and rockeries.|
|Molly||The crown is conical, with a diameter of up to 3 m, the maximum height of the plant is 7 m.||The needles are bright green, on the bottom of a bluish-gray, very dense.||Cones are violet-blue, numerous, up to 5 cm long.||Prefers well-lit, sheltered from the winds places. Needs drainage and good hydration. Looks good in single landings.|
|Compacta (Compact)||The crown is symmetrical and compact, with a height of not more than 80 cm. The maximum growth per year is 5-7 cm.||The needles are dense and long (up to 4 cm), blue.||Cones on this variety are extremely rare.||Prefers bright places with sandy loam or loamy soil, seasoned with humus. Great for planting in a container, as well as for growing in rock gardens, coastal areas of water bodies and for walking areas.|
|Blue Emperor||The compact and very dense crown does not have a pronounced central trunk, which is why the shape of the plant resembles an elongated pillow. The maximum height of this variety is 1.5 m. The average annual growth is 6 cm.||The needles are short and thick, soft touch. The upper part of the needles is purple-silver or intensely blue, the lower is white.||Cones are small, dark blue or purple.||It prefers slightly shaded areas and nutritious moist soils with drainage. One of the best varieties for planting in rock gardens, oriental gardens.|
Despite the small differences in the requirements of illumination and soil fertility, all varieties of Korean fir have a common feature - surface-lying roots. This must be taken into account when planting trees on your site.
When planting Korean firs, it is important to consider the fact that this species grows very slowly. Therefore, it is important to provide an additional indentation from the walls of buildings on the site, so that after several decades the crown will not "rest" against the wall and not suffer from a lack of light. Depending on the plan of planting, Korean firs are planted at a distance of 5 m (to form crowns that are even and regular in shape) or 2 m (to create a dense hedge in the future) from each other.
The time of planting Korean fir in open ground is the beginning of spring before the formation of young buds and shoots on seedlings. The ideal age of planting material is from 4 to 10 years. Younger plants may die due to the abundance of light or frost, and older plants take root worse in a new place.
Korean fir is undemanding to soil nutrition and moisture, but acidic soils with a high humus content are more suitable for good development. It is important to avoid wetlands when planting, although fir is positive for the presence of peat in the soil. If there is a chance of flooding, it is necessary to arrange a good drainage.
The depth of the planting pit for fir is 50-80 cm, depending on the type of plant. The more massive the crown is and the more roots, the deeper and wider it is necessary to make a pit. It is important to carefully spread the roots of the fir and not to deepen the root neck. Otherwise, the tree will stop growing and may die within 3-4 years.
Things are a little simpler when planting Korean fir in containers. The soil for undersized bushy varieties is based on general rules. The bottom of the flowerpot or container is equipped with drainage from the shards, they are covered with soil from above. Shrub fir roots also need to be straightened well, and then covered with soil residues flush with the root neck.
Regardless of whether Korean fir grows in open ground or in a container, it is important to follow the general rules for caring for this plant:
- Young fir need shading and shelter from frost in the first years after planting.
- Watering is especially needed for young plants and those grown in containers. It is important to recharge once every 10-15 days. Adult plants can be watered 2-3 times per season. In particularly dry years, you can increase the number of irrigations up to 2 times a month.
- Korean firs begin to need additional nutrition 3-4 years after planting. It is better to fertilize them with complexes for conifers (not more than 100-130 g of fertilizer per square meter).
- Korean fir grows better on mulched with semi-ripened sawdust or pine needles (previously disinfected and steamed). This inhibits weed growth and makes the soil more permeable to moisture and air.
For better branching and the formation of a fluffy crown, it is recommended to pinch the central kidneys. It is also necessary to remove dried cones and branches from plants. Korean fir varieties do not need formative pruning.
You may also be interested in an article in which we talk about unpretentious conifers that can be grown on their site.
Among the main advantages of the plant, reviews of Korean fir mention extremely high frost resistance and slow growth, due to which the compositions on the site do not require annual correction of winter “surprises”. The lack of need for pruning is also appreciated by gardeners, because even with the complete absence of external influence on the forms, Korean fir grows absolutely symmetrical and even (with the exception of dwarf shrub species). Among the shortcomings of Korean fir, susceptibility to aphid attack is mentioned. However, this problem, according to gardeners, is easily solved with the help of insecticides.
Conifers: a choice for the garden
Judging by the numerous reviews of gardeners who have already become the masters of Korean fir, this plant fits perfectly into any landscape. Due to the variety of forms and unpretentiousness, trees and shrubs belonging to this species have won the love of many. Having planted it on your site, you can forget about the need to decorate it with something else for many years.