Mahonia, an ornamental plant producing edible fruits
In recent years, an evergreen shrub from the Barberry family - Mahonia holly, or Oregon grapes, has become more and more interesting for gardeners and landscape designers, which is not surprising at all, because this ornamental plant retains its attractiveness almost all year round.Mahonia aquifolium Nutt.
- exotic from North America - evergreen deciduous shrub, up to 1.5 meters high. This shrub owes its official name "Mahonia" to the American gardener MacMahon. In culture in our country, it can grow from Arkhangelsk to the Black Sea coast. The crown of Mahonia is well formed, but quickly loses its shape due to the formation of underground shoots.
The bark of this plant is brown. The leaves are shiny, leathery, compound, pinnate, toothed, equipped with teeth at the ends, making them very reminiscent of holly foliage. Young they are reddish-green, in summer they are dark green, in autumn and winter they are greenish-reddish-bronze. In the spring, without falling, the leaves turn green again.
Lemon yellow flowers of Mahonia holly are numerous, beautiful and fragrant. It is noteworthy that in shape and aroma they are very similar to lilies of the valley. Collected flowers in a brush up to 10 cm in size. Mahonia blooms in late May - early June, about a month, sometimes blooms again - in the fall.
Mahonia fruits are round, about 1 cm in diameter, weighing 0.5 g, bluish-blue with a waxy bloom, edible, sweet and sour, tart, with red juice, ordinary taste, outwardly very similar to the fruits of dark grapes. Apparently, from this came its second name - Oregon grapes. Fruits ripen in August-September, yield - up to 2 kg per bush. They can be grinded with sugar,prepare juice, jelly, jam, jam
, other products. But the main thing is that they are an excellent food coloring; they can be added to any other fruit and berry preparations that have a pale color.
However, the main value of holly mahonia is decorative: it is good in group and specimen plantings,hedges
... She does not have varieties, but there are garden forms: variegated - Variegata, golden - Aurea, long-leaved - Gracillis.
It is gas- and smoke-resistant, shade-tolerant, but hardly blooms in the shade. Loves moist, humus-rich loamy soils. It is frost-resistant and winter-hardy, does not need shelter, it winters well under the snow. But in severe winters with little snow, shoots can be damaged. However, in the spring, the crown quickly recovers.
Mahonia holly is resistant to diseases and pests. It does not require special trimming. Propagated by seeds, root suckers, layering, grafting, green and lignified cuttings. Seeds are best sown in autumn. Spring sowing - only after stratification. The emerging seedlings are shaded. Autumn seedlings
and cover with spruce branches. Mahonia is transplanted in the spring with a clod of earth, without cutting off either the roots or the crown. They are cut in early spring or autumn, the percentage of rooting of cuttings is high. When planting Mahonia holly leaves a distance between the bushes - 1 m, the pits for this are prepared with dimensions of 40x40x40 cm.After planting, the plants are watered and mulched.
Vladimir Starostin, dendrologist,
candidate of agricultural sciences
Photo by the author and Olga Rubtsova
Mahonia or "Oregon grapes" is an evergreen berry shrub from the Barberry family, with about 50 species and varieties in its genus. The peculiarities of this culture are its high decorativeness, resistance to frost and droughts, shade tolerance and undemandingness to the composition of the soil, use in landscape design, individual taste of fruits and their beneficial properties.
The plant consists of strong shoots with a smooth surface of pinkish-gray or gray-brown shades depending on age, dark green leathery leaves, flowers of various shades of yellow and bluish-black sweet and sour berries with a thick bluish bloom. The berries are used in confectionery and winemaking. The flowering period lasts 20-30 days and falls in April - May, ripening of fruits and harvesting - at the end of August - at the beginning of September.
Rules for planting and caring for Magonia holly
We will briefly describe the conditions for planting this spectacular shrub and how to care for it.
This evergreen beauty prefers fertile, slightly acidic soils, it is better if they are drained. When planting, keep in mind that the root system of Mahonia holly does not tolerate excess moisture and alkali in the soil. Choose sunny areas, but the plant will feel good in partial shade.
The best time to plant is spring. Dig the planting hole slightly wider and deeper than the root ball. Mix the excavated material with the compost before using it to refill the hole after planting to create optimal starting conditions for Mahonia aquifolium. Water a small bush after planting well.
How to care for Magonia holly
Plant care is minimal. In the spring, you will need top dressing, for this, azofoska is suitable, for 1 m² you will need from 95 to 120 g of the substance. In the summer, additional watering will be required, but only if there is no rain. Add 10 liters of water under one bush. The optimal interval between soil moisture is two weeks. Then the bush will thank you with its spectacular appearance. In addition to introducing water under the roots, you can moisten the leaves of the plant, for this use hose irrigation. Another important point of care is the timely loosening of the soil so that the rhizomes receive a sufficient amount of air.
If you need to transplant an evergreen beauty, it is better to perform this process in the summer.
Despite the fact that some sources write about the frost resistance of the plant, in our conditions it is better to cover it for the winter, using spruce branches for this. Try to follow this rule at least for young plants that are less than 5 years old.
Powdery mildew can form on the shrub if it is improperly taken care of. Also, gardeners are often faced with the problem of root rot, rust. To combat these diseases, fungicides are used.
Mahonia is quite tolerant of pruning and can even be cut all the way down to the ground if you want to give the bush new growth. But usually it doesn't need a lot of pruning. Pruning should be done in the spring when the bush has bloomed.
To maintain the shape of the crown of Magonia, prune it at the end of autumn, remove a smaller part of the total length of the branches. Older shrubs are often pruned “under the stump” in order to return the shrub to its former decorative shape.
Pests and diseases
Mahonia can usually suffer from rust and powdery mildew, but these fungi are easy to spot and can be easily treated with a garden fungicide at the first sign of infection.
On this plant, you can find signs of pests such as whiteflies, aphids, or scale insects. All of these insects can leave sticky dew that can lead to mold growth.
Preparing a place for planting young bushes
The place for the growth and development of Mahonia plays a significant role. This culture does not tolerate too sunny areas, direct sunlight can easily burn the plant, this can be easily seen on the foliage. The crop grows best in shaded areas.
Mahonia feels more comfortable in the shade
Despite the fact that Mahonia love shade, they bring intense heat in the summer well. Plants are much more afraid of strong draft. It is recommended to plant seedlings near buildings or gardens. So they, at least partially, will be protected from the sun.
The plant is not too demanding for the type of soil, but it does not really like to grow in sandstones or clay soils. Prefers loose soil with a sufficient amount of nutrients.
Care of Mahonia holly
Young Mahonia needs regular and abundant watering, and their intensity decreases in the future.
It is enough to feed the shrub twice a season - immediately after the snow melts with urea and in May with complex fertilizer. In autumn, the soil under the plant must be covered with compost or peat with a layer of 10 cm. You can cover the bush with pine or spruce branches. As a rule, Mahonia tolerates winter well not only in the middle lane, but also in Siberia.
Sanitary pruning or shearing is done in early spring to restrict growth. To maintain the compactness of the shrub, it must be trimmed after flowering or in the fall.
In Mahonia, flower buds are laid on the shoots of last year, so they need to be shortened by half, no more. An old bush can be used for rejuvenating pruning, which the plant easily tolerates and recovers quickly.
Sometimes Mahonia is affected by rust. If signs of disease are found on the leaves, they should be removed immediately.
Placing in the garden
Mahonia is good in different varieties: as a single plant on a lawn, in a group with other shrubs or conifers. In spring it goes well with primroses. It can be used as a groundcover under trees and in low curbs. In rockeries and on a slide, it will look good against the background of stones.
If you want to have a magnificent evergreen shrub in your garden, feel free to plant Mahonia. Mahonia berries have the ability to lower high blood pressure. Magonia from 15 UAH Magonia 10cm for 8 UAH, 20cm for 15 UAH, 35-40cm for 25 UAH.
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