Chestnuts are often perceived as uninteresting woody plants, used only in urban landscaping. And if they are grown in gardens, it is more for the sake of a crop of edible or medicinal chestnuts and only in really large areas. But this delightfully hardy plant with extremely beautiful leaves and candles of inflorescence deserves a very different reputation. Chestnuts are not small, but there are some true beauties among them. One of the most ornamental species is the pavia horse chestnut, a graceful, ornate plant that can be the perfect giants even for a small garden.
Favorite among favorites
Horse chestnuts are not accidentally called the most ornamental among the huge family of these giants. Fast-growing, yet very "docile", allowing successful shaping at any age, they feature a neat, naturally rounded crown. The tallest species of horse chestnuts will not exceed 20-25 meters in height, the best ornamental ones are limited to 3-10 meters. Half as tall as the usual ones in all parameters, from overall growth to leaf size, but also times more spectacular is the pavia horse chestnut. It is one of the best species with beautiful flowering and high ornamental value, which lasts throughout the year.
Conk chestnut pavia (Aesculus pavia) - large decorative shrubs and trees with a maximum height of 12 m (shrubs - 3-6 m). In regions with harsh winters, pavia is most often limited to 3-4 meters in height. In our country this woody is also known as "red horse chestnut". The bark is quite light, grayish, the trunk - slender, and growth - slow (full height reaches no earlier than 10 years). The crown is dense, lush and ornamental. The whorls are reddish, slightly sagging. The leaves of this horse chestnut are half the size of those of the common horse chestnut. They consist of five narrowly elliptical lobes, with a serrated edge and prominent veins. Individual lobes do not exceed 10-14 cm in length. Light pubescence underneath and light cuttings accentuate the rich green coloration, bright and fresh even in heat.
The red horse chestnut, or Aesculus pavia (Aesculus pavia) is a tree of the horse chestnut family.
The greatest pride of the horse chestnut pavia is the panicle inflorescence. They appear more loose, lush and less pyramid-like than the inflorescences of common horse chestnuts. Up to 15-18 cm in length, they captivate with their bright colors and unusual tone transitions and exotic effect. The inflorescences are densely tubular, with bell-shaped yawns and asymmetrical petals, which, despite the difference in size, still form a funnel-shaped corolla. The stamens of the red horse chestnut are always longer than the petals.
The fruits of the red horse chestnut are easy to recognize: despite their similar shape to other horse-chestnuts, their surface is completely smooth, without any bristles. The fruits themselves are quite distinctive: tuberous or smooth, elliptically ovoid in shape, tricuspid, they often contain not one "chestnut" but several seeds. Fruits are about 3 to 6 cm long. This chestnut bears fruit in September.
Pavia blossoms in late May and delights with beautiful and bright candles in early summer. The color palette of the horse chestnut red is more than interesting. The base plant has flowers colored bright red, with the upper side of the corolla usually lighter in color. In addition to carmine, yellow flowers and a combination of deep red with yellow spots and speckles are also found. Regardless of variety and form, in the red horse chestnut, the inflorescences always turn yellow when they fade.
Decorative forms and varieties of horse chestnut pavia
The base plant of the horse chestnut pavia is now much inferior in popularity to the ornamental forms. This is not surprising: the natural North American species is less hardy than the common horse chestnut, and its considerable height limits its possibilities of use. But the selectively bred hybrid forms have more interesting growth forms, compact size, and richer colors.
The best ornamental forms of the pavia horse chestnut include:
- Half-cut (sublaciniata), a shrub with a sprawling crown, very beautiful narrow lobes of leaves with deep, original denticles, which will surprise with its rich dark red color during flowering, contrasting remarkably gracefully with the coolish hue of the leaves;
- Dark red form (atrosanguinea) with wine-garlic coloration;
- Small form (humilis) with uniquely spreading shoots that form a beautiful low bush with reduced size inflorescences with light red coloration.
Some varieties of horse chestnut pavia also deserve attention. For example, the variety 'Koehnei' with its loose, as if prickly inflorescences, elongated tube at the flowers and the game of external orange color and bright pink-red inside the corolla of the flower.
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Nowadays red horse chestnut is often used for making boles. Its rounded crown due to pruning and shaping seems particularly graceful, and its thin trunk only emphasizes its openwork beauty.
Frequently in the Russian-language internet this variety can be found under the name Koebnei, which is not correct.
Use of Pavia chestnut in ornamental gardening
It is believed that the horse chestnut Pavia is best for solo lots. It is true that it is planted primarily as a solitary solitary in a lawn or clearing of groundcovers. But unlike other horse chestnuts, it provides much greater opportunities. Due to its shallow root system the chestnut does not like a too close neighbourhood, but it can also be used in groups:
- as a high accent for the front garden, front decorative compositions;
- as a large tree in small gardens, a source of shade for a recreation area in a small area;
- as a basic unpretentious woody for decorative groups with trees and bushes;
- in alleys and their imitations;
- in groups of continuous flowering;
- in landscape multi-row hedgerows.
The red horse chestnut, like other species of horse chestnuts, contributes to air purification, is not afraid of the polluted environment and the neighborhood with the roadway. Moreover, it can be seen as an air-purifying crop.
Conditions necessary for the horse chestnut pavia
This is one of the most undemanding woody plants. The red horse chestnut blooms equally colorfully and grows well in both bright sun and penumbra, Which allows the tree to be used in complex groups and in combination with buildings.
Pavia chestnut is a typical representative of horse chestnuts. It prefers fresh, moist and fertile soil, does not grow well in neglected, compacted, acidic or sandy soil. Woody loams are excellent for this tree.
The red horse chestnut due to its more compact size allows it to be placed closer to buildings and other plants than other species of horse chestnuts. Shrubby horse chestnuts can be planted 1 to 2 meters away from buildings or other trees, tree chestnuts can be planted 2 to 6 meters away (the optimal distance should be specified when buying ornamental forms and varieties).
It is advisable to improve the soil before planting at least a month before planting. Mature compost, humus, sand and deep digging will help to make the soil ideal for this ornamental woody. In acidic soils, liming is mandatory.
Planting is identical to other chestnuts. Pavia is placed in planting pits with a diameter and depth of about half a meter, on a cushion of crushed stone and sand. The root neck of the red horse chestnut should be at the level of the soil. After filling the planting hole with soil (it can be additionally mixed with a portion of compost or manure), be sure to install a support to support the thin trunk and provide very abundant watering. The support can only be removed after the chestnut has gained strength. Dryness must not be allowed to continue for the first two weeks after planting.
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Care for the unpretentious pavia
The red horse chestnut is a hardy plant. And caring for it is quite simple, actually reduced to just a few procedures per year:
- watering in extreme drought (like all horse chestnuts with a superficial root system, Pavia is sensitive to the lack of moisture in the soil);
- loosening the soil, weeding or mulching (for Pavia it is better to choose sawdust, peat or wood chips, crushed bark);
- annual removal of damaged and dry shoots (and in chestnuts formed on the stem or with a strict crown shape - also forming pruning) in early spring;
- Feeding: starting from the third year of cultivation, they are carried out in early spring, using organic fertilizers and half the proportion of nitrogen fertilizers (urea, ammonium nitrate in the amount of 15 g per 1 tree and a bucket of water) and in autumn, using full mineral fertilizers (15 g of self-made mixture or nitroammofoska enough).
Wintering Pavia horse chestnut
Despite its superficial root system, Pavia horse chestnut is quite hardy and with light shelter it survives even the snowless and harsh winters well. Moreover, pavia recovers well after frost. In the conditions of the northern strip, additional pre-winter mulching of the soil with a layer of dry leaves is recommended annually. For young plants, it is also better to carry out mulching. The older the tree becomes, the higher its frost-resistance.
The red horse chestnut is prone to frost bites, especially at a young age. In February it's better to wrap several layers of sacking around the trunks. During winter, the plants should be inspected for bark injuries and measures should be taken immediately if there are any cracks. The sacking is also used to protect all boles in winter.
Pest and disease control
One of the disadvantages of all horse chestnuts is rightly considered vulnerability to apple and chestnut moths. In this case, prevention is not always fruitful, and the struggle is sometimes reduced to the complete collection and destruction of fallen leaves. When adjacent to infested plants, pavia can suffer from powdery mildew, wood mite.
Propagation of the Pavia horse chestnut
The red horse chestnut does not differ much from horse chestnuts in its propagation possibilities in general. The optimal method for the tree chestnut is to obtain new plants from seed.The chestnuts need preliminary stratification. For that purpose, the freshly fallen seeds must be soaked for a few days in warm water and regularly changed in order to maintain their temperature. After soaking, the chestnuts are submerged in damp sand and left to stratify at a temperature of around 3-5 degrees Celsius. The soaking should last about 3 to 4 months. Sowing for germination is carried out in the open soil, on the seedbed, only after the threat of repeated frosts has passed.
Traditionally, sowing of horse chestnuts is carried out in May. It is necessary to prepare a quality nutritious soil for the plant. The fruits are buried 10 cm deep at a sufficient distance to allow them to grow for 2 years. Before being transferred to the permanent place, the two-year old seedlings are carefully dug out, the soil is partially removed and the tap root is shortened by a third of its length for active branching of the rhizome and a lush, spreading crown.
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