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Growing Chinese dates has recently been considered an exotic hobby. The varieties of this plant were represented only by small-fruited types that did not have time to ripen in the climatic conditions of the Middle Strip. But the labors of both amateur and professional selection have borne fruit. Today even large-fruited Chinese dates are no longer a rarity in Russia.
Botanical description and features
The Chinese date belongs to the Krushinov family. It was cultivated in different regions of the Earth for a very long time, but came to our country only in the middle of the twentieth century. Its lifespan is long, which, combined with good yields, has made the tree one of the most popular crops.
There are only 80 species of Ziziphus, not to mention a huge number of varieties. Of course, among such a wide variety, gardeners should have had their own favorites.
Varieties are divided into three main categories, depending on the timing of fruiting and ripening:
- early maturing;
- late ripening.
They are also divided based on the size of the fruits: those in which they weigh less than 5 grams are considered small-fruited, and over 10 are large-fruited.
To date, the most popular varieties are considered:
- Ya Zao is a mid-season Chinese variety with good yields.
- Ta-yan-Zao is another Chinese variety, with a high yield and early ripening of fruits, due to which it is frost-hardy.
- Chinese 2A is one of the best large-fruited varieties of medium ripening.
- Sinit is a variety of the Nikitsky Botanical Gardens, belonging to the early medium-fruited.
- The southerner is a popular domestic early ripening variety.
Three to five buckets of fruit are harvested from one tree of each of these cultivars.
What is the difference between dates and unabi
Dates and unabi belong to different families. If the former are the fruits of a palm tree, then the latter are buckthorn trees. They resemble dates only in their appearance and nutritional value.
Unabi belongs to those plants that are propagated in several ways - such a tree is so resistant that it will even be taken from root growth.
The main options are:
- reproduction by seeds;
- propagation by cuttings;
- reproduction by root shoots.
At the same time, in addition to them, vaccinations and budding are used. It is worth noting that each method works best for its variety. For example, mid-season varieties are grown from cuttings.
Seed propagation is a suitable option for small-fruited varieties with early yields. The fact is that cultivars grown from seeds give fruits a little later, which means that those, in the conditions of the average Russian climate, will not have time to ripen.
Alternatively, a plant grown in this way is used as a rootstock for large-fruited varieties.
The harvesting of seeds begins from the moment the fruit ripens. Ripe fruits are removed from the plant and placed in the refrigerator until the onset of the warm season. Unabi seeds need stratification in the pulp.
The seed is cleaned in the spring. Ensure the complete absence of pericarp residues. To do this, place the "date" in hot water for a couple of minutes for three days. Peeled bones for the same period, for warming, are poured with water at a temperature of about 60 degrees.
Seeds are planted to a depth of 3 centimeters. The distance between the seeds is at least 5 centimeters, and after the emergence of seedlings, they are seated at a distance of up to half a meter. The time required for their appearance is about a month. The seedbed has been covered with foil all this time.
Reproduction by cuttings is extremely simple - a branch of the required length is cut off and placed in moist peat until the root system is formed. As soon as this happens, the cutting is planted in the ground.
Propagation by root shoots is similar to the previous one, only instead of cutting, the shoots of the plant are used at the roots. They already have small roots.
Growing Chinese dates
Growing a Chinese date is not such a difficult undertaking. It is not capricious, and the only thing that hinders its widespread distribution in Russian areas is exoticism. The gardener who dares to contact this crop will enjoy the ease of cultivation and subsequent care of it.
We select the variety and prepare the seedling of the future palm tree
The first step is to choose the most suitable variety of Chinese dates. This takes into account factors such as:
- climatic conditions;
- desired yield;
Residents of the South of Russia grow most of the varieties of this crop due to the suitable climate. At the same time, the inhabitants of the Middle Belt are often limited to early cultivars, sometimes planting and mid-season.
Always buy two seedlings to ensure pollination in the future. In addition, they are checked for damage and disease.
Choosing the right spot is probably the most difficult part of the Ziziphus planting procedure. It is in this moment that he shows some capriciousness. The plant prefers to grow in areas protected from winds and drafts. Therefore, the southern slopes of small hills are especially suitable for him. The site is also chosen so that no shadow falls on it, and it is of sufficient size - the tree prefers the sun and the availability of sufficient space.
The Chinese date is not picky about the choice of soil and is able to grow in any soil. But, nevertheless, he has his own preferences. Favorite soils for him are not only fertile, but also light. Therefore, the earth is dug up before planting and humus is introduced into it. The tree categorically does not tolerate saline areas - although it will survive in such conditions, it will bear fruit very poorly.
Chinese dates are planted in early spring. If we are talking about planting seedlings, they first dig holes of a suitable depth. The latter is determined by the development of the root system. In most cases, the size of the pit is 60 by 60 centimeters. The distance between the seedlings is about 4 meters. The soil is mixed with manure.
The Chinese date is notable for its low demands on care measures. This tree has been loved for centuries because it is extremely unpretentious. Its cultivation requires adherence to the simplest agrotechnical procedures. Timely watering plays an important role. As for dressings, they are used to increase yields, although the plant bears fruit without them.
Unabi belongs to the plants of an arid climate. This means that it easily tolerates drought and high temperatures. Moreover, it does not like "bays", so it is rarely grown in truly humid regions. Watering frequency depends on soil drying.
During the flowering period, the culture is not watered at all. The period of frequent watering is the first year of the life of Ziziphus. At this time, water is introduced into the soil a couple of times a month, during the period of active growth.
As already noted, the Chinese date does not belong to plants that require frequent feeding. It grows quite well and bears fruit without fertilization. Yet it responds very well to spring application of nutrient complexes. But they begin to feed the tree only from the fourth year of life. In addition, humus is introduced into the soil during planting.
The formation of the crown allows the plant to fit into the size of the garden, make it aesthetically pleasing, stimulates productivity and makes harvesting more convenient. The most common form of the Chinese date, loved by gardeners, is the bowl-shaped. To achieve the result, the crown is formed around the five strongest branches. They also carry out annual sanitary pruning.
We stimulate flowering and fruiting of palm trees
As already noted, the Chinese date easily reaches the highest level of fruiting if the correct farming practices are followed. To stimulate flowering, use such a technique as stopping watering. This is due to the fact that the tree blooms during the dry season.
Two plants in the garden and sunny weather contribute to obtaining the largest number of ovaries.
Diseases and pests, the fight against them
The only pest of Ziziphus is the unabium fly. It infects fruits in early autumn, making them taste bitter. To combat it, digging the soil is used, as well as special solutions - Sumition, Aktellik, Zolona. These preparations are harmless to fruits and allow harvesting within two days after spraying.
Unabi is a crop that is distinguished by its unpretentiousness and high yield. It is very easy to grow as it requires little maintenance. At the same time, it gives a rich harvest of nutritious fruits. This tree prefers an arid climate in summer.