Brilliant cotoneaster is an interesting and very beautiful plant belonging to the Pink family. Very often this shrub is used to decorate parks, squares and private areas. In natural conditions, it can be found on the territory of Buryatia and Eastern Siberia. Resistance to adverse conditions makes this plant especially popular among many gardeners. In this article we will tell you everything about the care and planting of cotoneaster brilliant. This process is quite troublesome, but only in the first two years.
Brilliant Cotoneaster - upright deciduous shrub with very dense foliage. Small leaves, the length of which is not more than 4 centimeters, are ovoid and pointed tips. The surface of the leaves is smooth and the color changes from delicate to luscious green in springtime.
A distinctive feature of this ornamental shrub is the change in leaf color in autumnperiod. As shown in the photo of Cotoneaster Glitter below, the leaves take on a purple hue. Corymbose pink inflorescences consist of 5-8 flowers. The shrub begins to bloom in May-June, after which fruits appear in the form of small berries. Separately taken flowers do not carry noticeable decorative qualities. But the combination of lush pink blooms against a background of lush green foliage makes the shrub especially attractive. Cotoneaster berries at the initial stage of formation have a light green color, which, as it ripens, turns into almost black. Ripe cotoneaster fruits are quite edible and have a lot of nutrients.
In the wild, it is not so easy to find dense plantings of this shrub. Most often, these are single bushes that have weaker decorative qualities compared to garden specimens.
Advantages and disadvantages
When choosing shrubs for decorative functions, it is important to study not only the advantages of a particular variety, but also its disadvantages. A photo of a hedge from a brilliant cotoneaster clearly illustrates its positive decorative qualities. In addition, it has a number of advantages over other shrubs, namely:
- unpretentiousness in caring for an adult plant;
- neat appearance;
- resistance to almost all diseases;
- immunity to air pollution from dust, soot and exhaust gases;
- no strict requirements for the choice of soil and planting site.
That's whyThis plant is often used to decorate city parks and alleys. However, the cotoneaster needs constant pruning and has quite difficult growing methods.
Planting: choosing a place and soil
Cotoneaster brilliant grows equally well both in sunny areas and in partial shade. But in any case, it is important to have shelter from drafts and not close groundwater. Planting seedlings is carried out at a distance of at least one and a half meters from each other, since over time their crown grows significantly. Holes 70 centimeters deep are prepared for planting, on the bottom of which a good layer of drainage is poured.
For the development of a he althy and beautiful plant, it is necessary to prepare a certain soil mixture. It consists of two parts of turf, one part of peat or compost and two parts of river sand. A small amount of lime is added to this mixture - no more than 300 grams per square meter of land.
Seed propagation method
This method is considered quite laborious and troublesome. In addition, you need to be prepared for the fact that not all seedlings sprout, but only half. To increase the germination rates, it is important to conduct a comprehensive preparation of planting material.
Seed stratification begins in autumn, immediately after harvest. The seeds are placed in a metal container and sent for storage in a refrigerator or a cold room, such as a basement. Planting is carried out only next autumn, when the seeds are fully ripe.You can shorten the preparation time. To do this, the seeds are immersed in sulfuric acid for 20 minutes, after which they are hardened for a month.
Before sowing, the seeds are soaked in water in order to identify empty specimens that float to the surface and must be destroyed. He althy seed material is buried in the soil by 4 centimeters, and the distance between rows should be at least 15 centimeters. The period of emergence of seedlings is quite long and does not depend on the thoroughness of care and the creation of comfortable conditions for germination. During the first year of growth, seedlings reach a height of thirty centimeters. And only a year later the formation of the crown will begin. Brilliant cotoneaster begins to bloom 4 years after planting.
The most used method of propagation of brilliant cotoneaster is vegetative. For him, green or lignified cuttings are prepared in advance, the length of which should be at least 15 centimeters. Well developed and strong specimens should have at least two internodes.
Green cuttings are harvested in July. Before planting the planting material in the ground, it should be immersed in a growth stimulator for several hours and only then distributed in boxes with a substrate. The soil for planting cuttings should consist of equal parts of humus, sod and sand. Before deepening the cuttings, the soil is well wetted with water. The process of planting cuttings consists in their deepening into the soil by 5-6 centimeters at an angle of 45 °. After that, they are covered with a film or a jar andgo to a well-lit place. Observing all the conditions of planting and care, by the fall you will receive seedlings with a powerful root system, ready for transplanting to a permanent place. After transplanting into open ground, young plants must be covered for the winter.
To obtain lignified cuttings, harvesting is carried out after the onset of the first frost. Cut shoots are placed in sand and stored in a cool and dry room. In the spring, the cuttings are cut into pieces, the length of which is 20 centimeters, after which a similar preparation is carried out.
Regardless of the variety, cotoneaster is considered a very drought-resistant plant. And therefore, even on hot summer days, he calmly manages without additional watering. It is enough to water adult bushes 3-4 times for the entire growing season, adding at least 8 liters of water for each plant. However, cotoneaster cotoneaster should not be over-watered, as excessive soil moisture leads to rotting of the roots and the development of diseases.
It is acceptable to refresh the plant on hot days by spraying. A jet of water will not only wash away a layer of dust from the leaves, but also fill them with the necessary moisture. This is especially true of the shiny cotoneaster hedge.
The rate of growth and development of young shoots directly depends on the fertile composition of the soil. To obtain a lush, dense and beautiful crown of saturated color, various top dressings should be regularly applied to the soil. A particularly valuable additive that activates the growth of greenery isnitrogen-containing preparations. And for the general maintenance of the balance of minerals, superphosphate and potash fertilizers are applied to the soil.
Also important for cotoneaster and organics. It is desirable to dilute manure in water in a ratio of 1:6, and when using bird droppings, one part of the fertilizer is diluted in ten parts of water. The resulting composition is used during the spring digging of the soil around the bush. In addition to manure, other organic fertilizers are also used, such as compost and humus.
Shrub of this type requires some care. Cotoneaster brilliant, like many other ornamental plants to create a hedge, needs mandatory pruning. After this procedure, the branches of the shrub grow well and give the plant the desired shape. You can give the cotoneaster absolutely any shape (ball, square, cone), but shaped pruning should begin no earlier than the age of two years of the plant, when the length of the shoots has reached 60 centimeters.
First, pinch the tops of young shoots, and after reaching the required density, they begin a full pruning to a third of the length of the branch. To obtain a neat and even geometric shape, it is important to have tapestry scissors, as well as a tightly stretched rope. However, the most convenient is the use of a wooden frame. You can build it yourself, from any wooden bars. To perform a large amount of work, it is advisable to use a special brush cutter. Increase the pruning height by 6-7 centimeters annually until the bushreaches the required level. Also, when pruning, it should be remembered that the upper tier grows much more actively than the lower one and can overshadow it.
Shelter for the winter
Despite the general frost resistance, it is desirable to cover the brilliant cotoneaster in especially severe winters. As a material for shelter, dry foliage or peat is well suited, the layer of which should be at least 6 centimeters. At the same time, the branches of the tallest bushes bend down to the ground and are carefully fixed so that it becomes possible to cover them too. Fallen snow can be used as additional insulation.