Many people believe that edible chestnuts are those trees that are found in parks and squares of large cities. In fact, it is not, because you can not eat their fruits. They are bitter and have practically no nutritional value, although they are used in medical practice. For landscape design, horse chestnut is most often used, which belongs to the Sapindo family. While its “congener” edible is a representative of the family of Beech. In addition to differences in the origin of these two species, they are not similar in appearance. Here are a few secrets of how to distinguish between edible (or planting) and inedible chestnut.
The history of the name of this tree is rooted in Greek mythology. Jupiter madly loved one nymph. He pursued her so much that she brought the score to life. The fictitious god turned the lost passion into a chestnut tree (the Latin "caste" means virginal, well, "Neya" - the name of the chosen one).
"Two of the casket, but not the same from the face"
Everything is relative, a long-known truth. Therefore, without a botanical description can not do. These differences are evident during the flowering period. It is almost impossible to walk past and not admire the exquisite horse chestnut candles, which cannot be said about edible chestnuts (at the bottom of the photo). At this time, it looks more like a willow or a shaggy polar bear. But still his crown has an unmatched appearance. Now it is worth considering each feature separately:
Height. They can reach from 35 to 50 meters in height, almost like a 14- or 20-storey building. But their "brothers" are not above 25 m.
Fetus. Differs in increased "shaggy" because it is densely covered with thin elastic needles. Behind this “fur coat” lies from one to three flattened nuts, the mass of which is not more than 20 g. Up to 190 kg of crop can be harvested from a single tree.
Leaves. They are not like the cone-shaped foliage of a horse species collected in luxurious fans. Each leaf of edible chestnut is planted on short rather than long petioles. Its leafy plate is oblong-oval in shape, 22 cm in length and up to 7 cm in width.
Inflorescences These perennials bloom in the first half of summer - in June, and sometimes in July. Blossoms are presented in the form of thin 15-centimeter ears, unlike the pyramidal brushes of his “relative”.
Peel nuts can be very difficult to remove. Therefore, some practice soaking them in water for a few hours.
You can collect the fruits of these representatives of the Beech family in the fall (October or November). While on the stomach they ripen by 1 September. It should be remembered that the fruiting tree of edible chestnut begins 20 years after planting. This is five years later than other species. But in order to successfully grow these specimens in the country, you need to know the natural range of their habitat.
Meeting place can not be Changed
Representatives of the Sapindov family need loose and fertile soil. Moderate climatic conditions favorably influence their growth and development. They are often found in southern Europe and Russia, as well as in northern India, in eastern Asia, in China, Canada and the countries of North America. However, edible chestnuts grow mainly where the climate is more humid. Most often these are subtropical latitudes:
Mediterranean (Italy, France, Spain);
Asia Minor (Caucasus);
European part of Eurasia;
Moreover, this species perfectly survives in temperate climates. Therefore, it is grown for decoration of some national parks and mass recreation places. In addition, edible chestnuts, the benefits of which were known many centuries ago, are widely used in cooking by many ethnic groups.
The beneficial properties of the fruit, flowers, leaves and bark of this plant encourage gardeners to replenish their land with this variety.
Sharp temperature drops are destructive for them. The scorching rays of the sun, as well as the stifling air, dry the leaves, leaving burns on them. Severe and prolonged frosts destroy the shoots / roots of the tree.
Two sides of the same coin
It is important to know that from the edible chestnut is both good and harm. Therefore, you never need to abuse such a delicacy. These fried fruits are reminiscent of hazelnuts, as well as baked bread or potatoes cooked on charcoal. The composition of the glossy nuts includes:
types of fat (up to 6%);
vitamins of groups B and A;
carbohydrate bonds, more than 60%;
This complex is a real explosive mixture for athletes. Once in the body, nutrients release an enormous amount of energy.
The peel of the fruit contains the lion's share of fiber, so some dry the skin and then add to food. From the foliage, inflorescences and branches make tinctures, decoctions and infusions, which are used in the treatment of:
diseases of the digestive system (has astringent properties).
Among other things, nuts cause allergies. They are contraindicated for those who have kidney problems. He is recommended to use them suffering from low blood pressure. Among the list of what edible chestnuts are useful for, it should be noted that their inflorescences are the rarest honey plants.
The honey obtained from them is very much appreciated among the inhabitants of the Caucasus.
Dried nuts can be crushed in a blender. Then this powder is added to any dough. Along with the exotic flavor, you can get a decent supply of fiber for your body.
Choosing a place for the future “giant” is an important task. Because of their unique, even “selfish,” features, their competition is rarely sustained. A wide and dense crown obscures the light of flowers growing below. In turn, the root system grows so much in the upper layers of the soil that it destroys all neighboring plants.
Thus, to plant edible chestnuts in the country, you need to provide them with vast expanses. For each individual copy it is necessary to choose a place, the diameter of which should be 3-5 meters. This will allow the seedling to develop intensively. In addition, it is important to bear in mind that these "giants":
perfectly carry air pollution;
resistant to winds.
Taking into account these moments, the owners of private plots will be able to enjoy luxurious blossoms and useful fruits of edible chestnut for a long time. As the tree grows, it will have a lush and spreading crown.
Since you cannot plant anything under such a “giant”, this section can be used to set up a bench or swing. In the summer heat they will become an indispensable place to rest.
A few words should be said about the choice of soil. Experts advise that this is a well-moistened black soil (loam).
Although sandy soil is also a good option for planting, yet on it the tree will grow, develop and bear fruit slowly. But calcareous land almost immediately destroy the fragile germ.
Work with seedlings
The most optimal and speedy method of growing an edible chestnut is with the help of a young seedling. It is only important to make the necessary preparations:
dig a square-shaped hole (each side - 0.5 m);
lay out on the bottom of a 15-centimeter drainage layer of pebbles / rubble;
mix earth, humus and sand (the ground should be 2 times more than the other components), and also dolomite flour (500 g) in tandem with lime;
Add prikormku in the form of nitrogen, potash and phosphate fertilizers.
Now you need to carefully lay out a sapling from the container. Drainage sprinkle part of the substrate, place a tree in the hole, and then add the remaining soil. Then pour plenty of water with summer water. Make a mound near the radical neck, which should rise 20 cm above the soil level. However, for large varieties, the root collar should not be buried, but on the contrary, raised to 10 cm higher than the tubercle.
Age of young stock should be one or two years. For it you need to make a support, and attach a trunk to them.
Autumn work plan
To do this, in November, you need to collect as many nuts as possible. Only fallen, ripe specimens should be chosen. Now the main thing is to make cold hardening correctly. A gardener needs:
put the fruit in a plastic bag or box;
to fill them with sand;
put in the fridge / basement (room temperature not higher than +5 degrees);
leave for 12 days, then transfer to open ground.
On the site it is worth digging shallow grooves, somewhere 5-6 cm deep. Rinse with plenty of water. Planting seeds-nuts must be every 15 cm, then covering them with a dense layer of fallen leaves, and leave for the winter. In the spring it is worth removing weak sprouts, leaving a distance of 50 cm between good saplings.
After a year or two, as a calibration, you can try to transplant some plants. This should be done very delicately, so as not to hurt the roots.
Spring seed trouble
It is noteworthy, but they start as early as autumn, because the nuts covered with sand can be kept in the basement until spring. Before planting, they should be removed from this certification system and soaked in warm water. It is important to monitor the condition of the fluid and change it as it becomes contaminated. This can be done daily. In five days of such "spa procedures" the peel swells, and the embryo germinates.
After that, this nut is transferred to the ground, having previously prepared a plot for the future of the tree, so that the edible chestnut can grow intensively. Nevertheless, for the development of a strong root system, the tip of young sprouts must be pinched.
Next spring, the growth of this sapling will be 25 cm. And by the age of five it will reach 3 meters.
Care in every move
Young tree should be watered as the soil dries. Every month, the soil around the trunk should be loosened, of course, after watering. For the winter period it is necessary to make multil of the near-stem circle. Its height should be 12 cm. You can make such a “blanket” from leaves, sawdust and peat.
Every year (in early March) you need to feed the plants. In this case, the following fertilizer options can be used:
cow dung (1 kg of edible chestnut leaves 1 kg);
ammonium nitrate (20 liters of water for 15 liters);
mineral fertilizers (containing nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus);
It should be cut dry branches and missing leaves. Such procedures are especially needed in the first years of life. In the future, experts advise to form the crown of this “giant”, so that it has a luxurious look. As you can see, it is very easy to grow edible chestnut on its land. A few competent advice and reverent care serve as a guarantee of a stunning result.