Learn to Recognize and Grow Conifers
Conifers are frequently employed as timber trees and decorative plants. Even certain conifers give us access to beneficial things like edible nuts, medications, and other goods. With the help of this special course, you may learn how to grow and use conifers and take a step towards becoming a conifer expert.
“Most conifers, unlike many other plants, are grown for their magnificent, varied, and year-round foliage effects rather than their seasonal flower displays. Conifers should be grown in areas where you want them to appear beautiful all year long, not just some of the time.” Cultivating Conifers was written by John Mason and was distributed by Kangaroo Press.
There are 9 lessons in this course:
- Review the system of plant identification, general characteristics of the conifer plant group, information contacts you can use (ie: nurseries, seed, clubs, etc).
- Planting, staking, mulching, watering, pest & disease, feeding, pruning, protection from wind, salt air, propagation, etc.
- Conifers that reach tree proportions, their characteristics and requirements, how to grow conifers by seed propagation and grafting techniques.
- Common Medium Size Shrubs
- Many conifers fall into this height category. Some of the popular conifers are Chamaecyparis, Juniperus and Thuja. How to prune conifers.
- Small Shrubs
- How to choose small and prostrate conifers and their care. How to care for seedlings up to planting out stage.
- Australian Native Conifers
- Araucaria, Callitris, Podocarpus are three good conifers for use. The importance of environmental zones in Australia and how it can effect plant growth.
- Rarer Conifers
- Hemlocks, Podocarpus, Larches and leaf characteristics of Cephalotaxus.
- Using Conifers
- As timber, oils, edible seed, christmas trees, etc.
- Landscaping with Conifers
- This was originally developed in conjunction with the Rural Industries Industry Training Board in Queensland. Notes are continually upgraded to maintain relevance to current and future needs.
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school’s tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
- Distinguish between different types of conifers in cultivation, including twenty-five different genera and fifty different varieties.
- Specify the general cultural requirements of different conifer genera.
- Determine specific cultural requirements for some commonly cultivated conifer species.
- Specify specific cultural requirements for some lesser grown conifers, including Australian native and uncommon species.
- Determine different commercial applications for conifers in horticulture.
- Prepare a planting design using conifers.
What You Will Do
- Using two conifers as examples, describe the binomial system for naming plants.
- Using labelled drawings, distinguish between the following conifer families: Pinaceae, Taxodiaceae, Cupressaceae, Podocarpaceae, Araucariaceae, and Taxaceae.
- Identify two separate conifer genera using a botanical key.
- Prepare a conifer resource information guide, covering scope of activity and contact information (ie: address, phone, fax) for 30 distinct contacts, including:
- product suppliers
- other organisations
- Prepare reviews of fifty conifers, not collected elsewhere, each including:
- a photo, drawing or pressed specimen
- plant names (scientific and common)
- cultural details
- Use at least three distinct methods to reproduce five different conifers.
- Find out your region’s preferred soil conditions for common conifers.
- Make a potting medium that can be used to grow a sophisticated conifer in a tub.
- Describe the planting conditions that are typical for most conifers in your area.
- Describe the irrigation methods that are suitable for conifer culture in your area.
- Describe the dietary needs of two distinct conifer species from various conifer families.
- Describe five health issues that affect conifers frequently, including how to recognise them, why they matter to the plant, and how to manage them.
- Explain two different conifer species’ pruning techniques in your area.
- Establish two customary cultural practises with conifers in your area, one for each month of the year.
- Name 10 conifer species that grow in a certain area, such as:
- plant description
- preferred habitat
- growing requirements
- Examine the cultural needs of ten commonly planted conifer species.
- Discuss why growing other plants beneath the canopy of conifers is typically challenging.
- Establish strategies for effectively establishing two specified conifer species on a survey site.
- Discover whether any native conifers are endemic to your area or surrounding areas.
- Explain the various characteristics of six different native conifer species, including:
- plant description
- natural habitat
- growing requirements
- Describe different features of five specified uncommonly grown conifer cultivars, including:
- foliage colour
- foliage shape
- preferred site
- Find two distinct “non-standard” methods of conifer propagation that might work well for “rare” and unusually cultivated conifer species.
- Create a calendar of cultural actions to be completed over the course of a year in order to establish new plantings of a conifer species that is not
- typically grown in your area.
- Choose 10 conifer species that are suited for pot culture, including at least five distinct types.
- Choose five conifer species that are good for hedging.
- Examine the different cultural practises needed to grow two specific conifers in containers and the ground.
- Explain the conifer culture in various contexts, such as:
- as topiary
- as bonsai
- as a hedge
- as a rockery planting
- as screening
- Determine conifer species which have commercial value as a plantation crop, including:
- essential oils
- foliage/filler for florists
- Using a design checklist provided, evaluate the use of conifers in a garden containing both conifers and blooming plants.
- Using a design checklist provided, evaluate the use of conifers in a garden that is either wholly or mostly conifers.
- Create a thirty-square-meter conifer garden bed that integrates at least ten different conifer kinds and meets both the aesthetic and cultural requirements of a given site that you assess.
Growing Pine Trees: A Guide
Pine trees (i.e., members of the genus “Pinus”) come in about 100 different species and are found all throughout the northern hemisphere, from arctic regions to the tropics of Indonesia, the West Indies, and Guatemala. In most regions of the world, a pine can be grown if you pick the proper species.
Pines are evergreen, come in a wide range of sizes, and feature hard, woody cones with thick scales. Whorls of branches emerge from the primary trunk (making pines easy to climb). Because the majority of their leaves are grouped together, typically in clusters of two to five, on short spurs, they are easily distinguished from all other conifers. The quantity of needles coming from a spur, or the number of bundles, might give you a decent idea of the species you are looking at.
Once established, most are often quite resilient. For the majority of pines, it’s crucial to keep one sturdy leader (top growth point); if the tip is broken, new growths will appear; the strongest of these should be kept, and the rest should be destroyed. As the plant reaches its maximum height, the dominance of the tip diminishes and the top flattens; at this time, it is useless to support a single leader.
If you want a well-formed tree, pruning should be kept to a minimum. However, any pruning should ideally be done in the spring.
A variety of pests and diseases, including damping off and root rot (especially on seedlings), die back (more serious on younger plants), rusts, blights, and wood rots, as well as aphids, caterpillars, sawflies, web worms, scale, leaf miners, borers, and weevils, have been observed on pines, despite the fact that they are typically resistant to serious issues.
Soil issues might also affect pines. Needles can fall because of a lack or surplus of water. Stunted growth may be brought on by root injury or nutrient shortages. Pines have also been reported to be negatively impacted (and occasionally killed) by salt and air pollution.
The best way to grow pines
Cuttings or grafting are sporadically used, along with seed. Cones mature late in the summer or early in the fall of the second season after they are initiated because of their slow growth. Cones in the majority of species open to release seed shortly after becoming ripe, therefore gather cones at this point and let them air dry to release seed. Several species only open their cones and release their seeds after being ignited (eg. P. attenuata, P. contorta, P. muricata, P. pungens and P. radiata). These cones can be heated or submerged in boiling water to be opened.
If seeds are kept dry and chilled, their vitality will not be compromised. Depending on the species, germination may differ. While many seeds can germinate without stratification, for some, it is crucial. To stratify, immerse in water for 24 hours, then store in a bag with damp peat moss or perlite in the bottom of a refrigerator (1–2 oC) for a while (some species require 3 months stratification, others only 2-4 weeks).
Winter is a good time to graft most species onto seedlings, most frequently using a side graft. The cultivar being grafted will determine the rootstock that is chosen (not all pines graft well onto all species).
Cuttings of low-yielding cultivars, such as Pinus mugo var. mugo, may occasionally be grown; fungicide and a stronger hormone dosage are used.
WHAT CAN YOU ACHIEVE FROM THIS COURSE?
Conifer studies is a significant part of this course.
You will know more types of conifers than you do now after completing this course, and you will know how to cultivate conifers in a variety of diverse environments. You will be more knowledgeable about the applications for conifers and be better equipped to select the ideal conifer for any given circumstance.
Some people will enrol in this course to pursue their enthusiasm for conifers. Others will utilise this course as a means of developing their knowledge and abilities for use in the workplace or in a business venture.
Conifer expertise is a huge asset for many occupations, including nurserymen, landscapers, gardeners, forestry professionals, and environmentalists.