Iron tree - plants, care and pruning


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The iron tree is a real ornament in the garden both in autumn and in spring. Although it is not one of the fastest growing plants, it is extremely easy to care for.

Iron tree - plants, care and pruning

The iron tree or Persian ironwood tree, belongs to the family of witch hazel plants. The plant represents there the only representative of the genus Parrotia dar. This plant family owes its name to the German botanist Friedrich W. Parrot, who earned merit at the beginning of the 19th century for the determination and description of the plant.

The deciduous shrub can grow up to ten meters high and can also be broad in width. As a garden plant, the iron tree knows how to set atmospheric accents throughout the year. This begins with the early sprouting of red-rimmed leaves and culminates in a particularly intense and long-lasting fall coloration. The iron tree requires relatively little care, but it takes some patience until the plant grows into a stately shrub or tree.

The spread of the iron tree

The natural range of the iron tree is to be found in the Caucasus and northern Iran. In our latitudes, the ornamental wood has found its way into gardens and parks. Likewise, the plant is represented in numerous botanical gardens, which can be justified not least by the attractive autumn color.

Growth and appearance of the iron tree

The iron tree is a late developer and hobby gardeners have to exercise their patience until the delicate little plant becomes a lush shrub. It can take years for the plant to grow and shape. Adult specimens can grow between eight and ten meters in height. The sweeping side branches reach similar dimensions. Already in March, the striking, red-edged leaves appear. In summer, the rich green leaves are an eye-catcher. Already in August, the intense autumn colors set in, which can last until the first frosts and is accompanied by atmospheric reds, oranges and yellows. On the other hand, the fruits of the plant are less noticeable.

This is how you plant the iron tree correctly

Iron trees are robust plants that require little care. Once the right location has been found, the plant will need some time, but eventually gain in altitude and remain healthy and free of pests. Younger plants should pay more attention to them, as they create the conditions for a healthy growth of the iron tree.

❍ location

Iron trees come from warm and sunny areas. However, if the tree is placed in the blazing sun, the leaves may be damaged. Especially bright midday sun should be avoided. Lights shadow is gratefully accepted. When choosing a location, it should be kept in mind that the plant wants to go high and needs a lot of space even in its width. You will meet this with a unique position. Larger plants can usually no longer transplant easily. On the other hand, young plants can be kept in the tub and later moved to a suitable location.

" Tip: Iron trees can grow up to ten meters in height and in width and need a suitable location.

The ideal location:

  • sunny
  • warm
  • no midday sun
  • unique
  • no drafts

❍ floor

The soil should be loose and permeable. The plant always needs sufficient moisture, but does not tolerate waterlogging. The ideal pH is 7. At higher levels, it may help to add peat to the soil. Heavy clay soil is unsuitable for the plants.

The ideal floor:

  • relaxed
  • permeable
  • damp
  • pH maximum 7

❍ Instructions

AuswΓ€hlen select the appropriate location
WΓ€ss Water rootballs
Aus Lift planting hole
❹ pay attention to sufficient distance to other plants
Einsetzen Insert plant
Schon Save roots
Schließen Close the planting hole
Leicht Press the floor lightly
Ang Water the plant

" Danger: As a Flachwurzler the iron tree is not suitable for Unterpflanzungen.

How to properly maintain the iron tree

❍ pouring

If the requirements regarding the soil and the site have been met, the plant is frugal and undemanding. Young plants and potted plants should receive regular watering. Avoid waterlogging. Older plants that have already grown well need irrigation only in dry summers.

❍ Fertilize

If the soil conditions are right, there is no need for continuous fertilization. It is perfectly sufficient to add compost in the spring as a long-term fertilizer to the soil. Bark mulch ensures that the soil does not dry out and can also be understood as a natural fertilizer.If the iron tree is kept in the bucket, it has a higher nutrient requirement and should be supplied with mineral fertilizer at monthly intervals.

❍ More tips at a glance

  • sunny location
  • no blazing midday sun
  • moist and well drained soil
  • Compost as a slow-release fertilizer in spring
  • Pour potted plants regularly
  • Do not allow soil to dry out in winter
  • Keep potted plants in a cool and bright place

When does the iron tree bloom?

The iron tree surprises with its early flowering. The flowers appear between January and March, coinciding with the leaves. An inflorescence includes between eight and ten flowers. The flower heads can be a little over a centimeter long and are surrounded by hairy bracts. Overall, the flower of the iron tree is rather inconspicuous. The five to seven sepals are green and brown from the top.

Cut back ironwoods

In order to support the formation of a uniform crown, iron trees can easily be cut back in spring. This should happen immediately after flowering, ie around April.

" Danger: Recesses in the old wood are to be avoided at the iron tree.

From the bush to the tree - ironing the trees

If you do not like the shrubby form of growth of the iron tree, you can with some skill draw on a single-stemmed tree. For this purpose, the branches in the lower part of the plant must be specifically removed. However, it is important to proceed with caution, so as not to let the growth habit of the plant become unsightly. Only through a targeted pruning the natural appearance of the plant is preserved.

Detect pests and diseases in the iron tree

The iron tree is an extremely robust plant, which is largely spared by diseases and pests. If abnormalities and signs of disease or pest infestation are observed, it is first necessary to check the location. If the tree is too dark or exposed to drafts, this can have the same negative effect as the blazing midday sun damages the leaves or persistent waterlogging can kill the entire plant. If site and care faults are to be ruled out, a fungal infection or a pest infestation can be assumed.

❍ Black-weevil - danger to the leaves

The black-eared weevil takes a liking to the leaves of the iron tree. The oviposition takes place at the roots. The larvae not only destroy the fine roots of the pinnate root, but also attack the main roots growing vertically in the soil.

What should I do?

  • Administer nematodes with the irrigation water
  • Insert nematodes traps

❍ Phytophthora - danger to the roots

This fungal attack is a particular danger to the plant. The disease leads to a rotting of the roots. Thus, the nutrient supply of the leaves and shoots is prevented and the plant ultimately dies.

What should I do?

  • Remove and dispose of plant
  • no control agents known
  • take precautionary measures to avoid waterlogging
  • Check the pH of the soil and lower it if necessary

❍ Verticillium wilt - danger to the entire plant

At first glance, the damage picture of this disease is comparable to a lack of water. But withering of the leaves can also point to Verticillium wilting. The fungus is deadly especially for younger plants. Strong and stable plants are more likely to cope with fungal infestation. However, it is to be expected with a chronic infestation and it can then come again and again to the death of shoots and branches.

What should I do?

  • remove affected parts of plants
  • Plant parts do not belong to the compost
  • in case of heavy infestation, remove the plant and exchange the soil

How can iron trees be multiplied?

The propagation of the iron tree can be done by cuttings and sinkers.

❍ Propagation by cuttings

Hobby gardeners are best advised with this method. The cuttings are cut in summer. Use a sharp knife and cut the half lignified shoots about 15 to 20 centimeters long. After the bottom of the cuttings have been freed from leaves, the interface can be dipped in rooting powders. The cuttings are placed in a mixture of peat and sand. The soil is good to moisten. To speed up growth, the cuttings should be covered with a glass or plastic hood and placed warm and bright. Best suited for this purpose is a greenhouse. After about three weeks, new roots are formed.

" Tip: The rooting can be promoted by grazing water. For this one-year pasture shoots are doused with boiling water and allowed to rest for one day. The cuttings are dipped for a few minutes in the brew before planting.

❍ Propagation by sinkers

If the shrub retains its natural habit, sufficient branches will be present to attract a sinker. The procedure is quite complex and requires some gardening skills. First, a gutter is pulled into the ground around the plant. There is a branch of the bush led into it.This is then covered with earth and to complain, so he can not slip out again. The tip of the absorber is not covered with earth. It will take several months for the sinker to develop its own roots and be separated from the mother plant.

Iron trees overwinter

Older plants are considered hardy and can withstand temperatures down to -20 degrees without additional protection. Young plants are less robust and need our help in the cold season. The trunk and the crown can be wrapped with jute bands. Plastic film is inappropriate. The soil around the plants can be provided with coconut mats. In addition, you can apply on the mats a brushwood or deciduous layer.

Container plants in winter

If the iron tree is kept in the bucket, it needs in any case a protected location, preferably on a house wall. The planter can be wrapped with garden fleece. Frost also protects the placement of the planter on a Styrofoam block. The root area can be covered with straw or brushwood. On frost-free days, you should check the soil and water slightly, if necessary.

" Tip: Iron trees should no longer receive fertilizer from mid-July. The nitrogen contained therein makes the plant vulnerable to frost damage.

The iron tree as bonsai

As bonsai, the iron tree grows slowly and needs a lot of light and high humidity. At temperatures below 20 degrees, leaf fall can be the result. The plants tolerate mold cuts without problems. When watering, waterlogging should be avoided. The wiring should start only when a slight woodiness of the branches sets in. In summer, the bonsai can be set up in a sheltered outdoor location. In winter, the plant should be kept light and not below 18 degrees.

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