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HOW TO GROW CEDAR TREES


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Foresters of our country (especially V. V. Assanov), denied the popular opinion that it is extremely difficult to raise cedar and that it grows slowly. In natural conditions, in the taiga, cedar begins to bear fruit after 40-50 years. In cultivated plantings, with feeding, care, some forms of cedar give up to half a meter increase in height in a year, begin to bear fruit 15-20 years after planting and bear fruit in 2-3 years, or even annually.

Seeds and cedar nuts are needed in order to grow a Siberian cedar. Of course proven benign seeds are preferable. But if you have to plant the nuts bought in shop, it is necessary to accept in advance that their germination can be low. The best time for cedar planting is the end of April — early May. It is necessary to carry out treatment of nuts 90 days before planting. If you plant unprepared seeds, they sprout (unless of course they will survive) only next spring. You can sow seeds in the fall, without preparation. It is necessary to choose the time before the frost, so rodents do not have time to destroy them. Crops must be covered with leaves, so they do not freeze. 

However, the most reliable is a spring planting with pre-stratification of the seeds. To do this, they must first be lowered to 2 hours in a half-percent solution of potassium permanganate. It will protect the seedlings from disease.

The next operation is soaking. Cedar nuts should be filled with hot water (40-50°C) and soaked for three days. Water needs to be changed daily.

After that, the nuts must be thoroughly mixed with a triple volume of peat crumbs or medium-grained, well washed from the silt of river sand. Sand or peat should be wet. Be so wet that the sand, if you squeeze it in hand, must not scattered, but the water should not dripping, and from peat, compressed in a fist, should be only rare drops of the water.

The prepared mixture of seeds with peat and sand is poured into a wooden box with a layer of 10-20 centimeters. You need to make holes in the sides and on the bottom of the box; wooden wedges must be put under the box. All this is necessary for air access. A mixture of sand or peat with the seeds mixed well and moistened to the original condition at least once in 15 days. Stratification should take place at a temperature of plus 4-6°C in the basement, in the cellar or in the home refrigerator. Lowering the temperature to minus 4°C is allowed, but not more than for 2-3 days. If stratification is carried out correctly, most of the seeds will appear at the time of sowing.

And, finally, planting in the ground. The best soils for cedar are considered not too dry sandy or not very wet loamy soils. Seeds are planted to a depth of 2-3 centimeters.  Planting be sure to mulch — cover the top with a layer of sawdust, peat litter. This protects the soil from drying, from compaction after watering or rain, from rapid overgrowth of weeds. 

It is very interesting to observe how cedar grows. First appears a green loop. Then it straightens and pulls out the shell of the nut from the ground. Like a cap on top of the stem and the remains of another delicious cookie in it. Gradually the emerald panicle of the needles opens and the nut falls down. It attracts the attention of birds (crows, magpies, blue tits) while swinging on the stem. They bite down the nut and very soon realize that the nuts are buried in the ground, and they begin to dig crops. You need to carefully monitor the seeding, otherwise it will die. Therefore, it is better to cover the crops with shields of wicker or of shingles. Shields should be put on the bars so that they were raised above the soil by 5-7 centimeters. It is a good protection against birds and sunburn. After about a month they can be removed.

Further care for sowing cedar is simple: weeding, loosening the soil, watering. The best fertilizer for cedar is mullein (it is diluted with water in the proportion of one to ten).   

The first 5-6 years of cedar growth in height is not very large. Then the growth significantly accelerates, and then the first harvest of cedar nuts just around the corner. 

A. Sorokin, Zagorsk city, forester
Based on materials of the magazine “Science and life” №7, 1986


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