Tamarix or Tamarisk: rules for planting and care in the open field

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Tamarix or Tamarisk: rules for planting and care in the open field
Tamarix or Tamarisk: rules for planting and care in the open field

Description of the tamarix plant, how to plant and care for a bush in the garden, advice on breeding, possible diseases and pests during cultivation, notes for the curious, species and varieties.

Tamarix (Tamarix) can be found in some sources under the name Tamarisk or Grebenshchik. According to the botanical classification, this representative of the green world belongs to the Tamaricaceae family. The number of the genus reaches, according to various sources, from 57 to 90 species. Tamariks grow in nature in the southern regions of the European region (deserts, semi-deserts or in the steppe zone). They prefer salt marshes or salt licks for growth.

Tamariks can be found on the African continent or in Asia, where they can be the basic flora. For example, if we talk about the Central Asian regions, namely about tugai forests, then there are up to 15 varieties of this genus. Often, such plants for their lives "climb" to a height of up to 2000 m above sea level in the mountainous regions of Central Asia, and in the Caucasus itself, this parameter reaches 6000 m.

Family name Tamarisk
Growing period Perennial
Vegetation form Shrubs or small trees
Reproduction Seed or vegetative (cuttings or layering)
Open ground transplant terms In the spring, but there is a possibility when the foliage will fall
Landing rules Place the landing pits at a distance of 1-1, 5 m from each other
Priming Can be anything, but light, loose and permeable to water and air
Soil acidity values, pH Makes no difference
Illumination level Well lit or semi-shaded place
Humidity level Recommended 2-3 weeks after planting, abundant and frequent moisture, adult specimens only in dry season
Special care rules You definitely need pruning and regular feeding.
Height options Usually 1.5 m, often reaching 3-4 m
Flowering period Directly depends on the species, but on average April-May
Type of inflorescences or flowers Simple and complex racemose or panicle inflorescences
Coloring flowers Pink or purple, occasionally white or ruby
Fruit type Polyspermous pyramidal capsule
Fruit color Red
The timing of fruit ripening Immediately after flowering, but the timing will vary
Decorative period May be spring-autumn or year-round
Use in landscape design For the creation of hedges and in forest plantations, in group and single plantings, it is applicable as an indoor culture, it can be used in cutting
USDA zone 4–9

Tamarix got its scientific name thanks to the name of the river in the Pyrenees - Tama-riz. Today this river artery is called Timbra. However, you can hear how in various Russian regions the tamarisk is called "the tree of God" or "bead", and for example, in the Astrakhan region, the nicknames "Astrakhan lilac" or "gidovilnik" can still be found, in the lands of Central Asia there is the name "jengil".

Tamariks are perennials that take the form of shrubs or short trees. In the latter case, the plants still have bushy outlines. Astrakhan lilac can be deciduous or evergreen. The height to which the branches reach is 3-4 m, but most often this value does not exceed one and a half meters. Although there are specimens whose height values reach the 12-meter mark. The trunk diameter of the tamarix is about 50 cm. Plants successfully form light thickets in coastal areas and on velvet sands.

The crown of the bead is made up of a large number of thin twigs that resemble twigs. Their surface is covered with leaves of a very small size, similar in shape to scales. The color of the foliage of tamarix is bluish-green, dark green or emerald. The leaf plates are located in the next sequence. Leaves are deprived of petioles (sessile), stalk-embracing or semi-stalk-embracing. At the same time, the foliage on the branches of the 1st and 2nd year is slightly different. The length of the leaves ranges from 1–7 mm. The foliage does not have stipules, but on its surface there are depressions from the glands intended for the secretion of salt.

The flowering process in different species occurs at different times, but on average it begins in April-May. When tamarix blooms, large racemose (simple and complex) or panicle inflorescences are formed, which include small flowers with pink or purple petals, less often they are scarlet or white. Their length is 1.3 mm, rarely reaching 0.5 cm. Usually, inflorescences are formed on one-year-old shoots and then they take the form of brushes, on other branches they are panicles. Even when the flowers have not yet opened, and the inflorescences contain tightly closed buds, they also serve as decoration for tamarix with their decorative outlines. It is because of them that the plant got the name "beads", as the inflorescences seem to be strewn with small beads.

Flowers of all types of comb beetles are bisexual and only Tamarix dioica is dioecious with dioecious flowers. The calyx has a division into 4–5 lobes; there are the same number of petals, in rare cases, seven. The shape of the petals is ovoid, obovate, or can be oblong, elliptical or oblong-oval. The flowers are very fragrant and attract many insects and also bees, acting as an excellent honey plant.

After pollination, the tamarix produces fruits that look like poly-seeded pyramidal bolls, on the surface of which there are 3-5 faces. The size of the fruit is usually 3-5 times the calyx. When the ripening is completely completed, the capsules crack into three leaves. Inside contains very small seeds, their size can be measured in the range of 0.5–0.7 mm. Their outlines are straight, there is compression on the sides. The shape of the seeds of tamarix is oblong-obovate; an awn is present at the apex, the surface of which is covered with whitish elongated hairs. Seed material is usually spread by wind.

It is customary to use most of the species of the tamarix genus as a garden ornamental culture or to fix sandy substrates. At the same time, it is important to note the special unpretentiousness, resistance to drought and frost, therefore, a gardener who does not have sufficient experience can grow such a plant.

Tamarix: planting and care in the open field

Tamarix blooms
Tamarix blooms
  1. Landing place beads should be selected open on all sides to streams of sunlight. It is important that moisture from melting snow or prolonged precipitation does not accumulate in such places, as this can provoke fungal diseases. It is recommended to approach the issue of choosing a permanent place of growth of tamarix with great care, since its root system, formed by thin root processes, will not be able to adapt normally during transplantation, there is a possibility that the plant will die.
  2. Soil for tamarix there will be no problems to pick up, since the plant will accept any composition, even prone to salinity. But it is imperative that the soil mixture is light and well-drained. If the substrate is heavy, this will not prevent the Astrakhan lilac from developing well, however, it is recommended to mix peat and humus into it when planting, which will increase the nutritional value and lightness.
  3. Planting tamarix. The best time for planting beads in open ground is spring, or, in extreme cases, the time is right in the fall when the leaves are falling. According to the reviews of experienced gardeners, it is the spring planting of tamarix that is the most successful. The planting hole for the Astrakhan lilac is dug out approximately 60 cm in depth and diameter. It is recommended to lay a drainage layer on its bottom, which will protect the roots from waterlogging. Such material can be crushed stone or pebbles, as well as small pieces of broken brick or expanded clay. The thickness of the drainage layer when planting tamarix should be at least 20 cm. A layer of wood ash mixed with humus is laid on top. After that, the planting hole needs to be filled with a soil mixture composed of river sand, peat chips and fertile soil, taken in a ratio of 1: 1: 2. Before planting, all branches of a tamarix seedling should be shortened so that they measure 3-5 cm in length. The plant is then set in a hole and its roots are carefully straightened out in it. The entire space in the recess must be filled with the substrate of the above composition. It is recommended to gently squeeze the soil in the root zone so that no voids remain in the soil and then it is thoroughly watered. When planting and after watering, the root collar of the tamarix seedling should be at the same level with the soil on the site. After the seedlings of beads are planted, it is necessary to provide them with shading from direct streams of sunlight for 14–20 days. Also, in order for the soil to remain moistened longer, the trunk circle needs to be mulched with peat chips or sawdust.
  4. Watering when caring for tamarix, it should not be carried out often and abundantly. Such soil moistening is recommended only during a prolonged drought, but if the amount of precipitation is normal, then there is no need to worry at all. However, this is not the case with only planted Astrakhan lilac plants. For them, it is necessary to water regularly and very well for 2-3 weeks.
  5. General advice on care. When growing tamarix, it is necessary after each moistening of the soil under the plant (whether it be watering or rains) in the near-stem circle, carefully loosen it. Along with this, it is necessary to carry out weed control by weeding.
  6. Fertilizers when cultivating tamarix, it is important to apply regularly. So, with the arrival of spring, as soon as the growing season of the comb operator begins, it is recommended to use organic fertilizing. Throughout the summer, potash-phosphorus blends are the best choice to ensure lush and long-lasting flowering for the beads. You can use preparations for flowering garden plants (Fertika-Plus or Kemira-Universal).
  7. Tamarix wintering. If the cultivation of such a plant is carried out in areas where during the winter period the temperature can drop to -28 degrees below zero, then it is worth taking care of the shelter. As experienced gardeners advise, in the autumn, the trunk of the Astrakhan lilac should be wrapped in non-woven material (for example, agrofibre or spunbond). To protect the root system, the root zone should be covered with spruce paws or a significant layer of sawdust.
  8. Pruning when caring for tamarix, sanitary, molding and anti-aging are usually performed. The first is necessary after the winter period to clear the crown of frozen, broken or diseased branches. Such shoots must be cut back to healthy wood. Usually this operation is very easy to carry with beads. A second pruning is necessary to support the decorative outline of the crown. All old branches with growths with a short length are recommended to be cut into a ring, this will stimulate the growth of young shoots on them in a month. Tamarix pruning is also performed for rejuvenation purposes. This procedure will serve the future branching of the branches, right from the base of the bush. It is recommended to ensure that the growth of tamarisk shoots does not weaken, as this will entail a reduction in the number of inflorescences formed and a shortening of their length. Often, experienced gardeners perform pruning after the flowering process of the tamarix comes to an end. This will help give the shrub crown a more groomed look. In this case, all inflorescences that have withered are removed and too strongly elongated branches are cut off. In the process of pruning, it is important to give the comber bush more stability, since you will have to tie up too elongated shoots to the supports.
  9. The use of tamarix in landscape design. Due to the fact that the deciduous mass of beads (green or bluish) has an openwork, and budding and flowering add decorativeness, the plant has gained popularity among gardeners. It is recommended to use such bushes both singly and in group plantings, they are suitable for the formation of flowering thickets, which can be placed in the central part of lawns and in open locations. If you regularly cut the branches of tamarix, then there is the possibility of creating hedges. Plants will be good neighbors that, like the comb, tolerate drought very well. For example, it can be poplars or thickets of wormwood, hodgepodge and anabasis, as well as immortelle. From the bushes that can become a wonderful background for tamariks, various types and varieties of lilacs, jasmine and barberry are distinguished. If there are sliding soils on the site, then the planting of the comb-maker will serve as anchorage for them.

See also the rules for planting and caring for myrikari in the garden.

Breeding tips for tamarix

Tamarix in the ground
Tamarix in the ground

To get a new bead plant on its site, use the seed method or the vegetative method, which is the rooting of cuttings or layering.

Reproduction of tamarix using seeds

To grow a healthy seedling ready for transplanting, you will need to stock up not only with patience, but also have enough knowledge about growing such plants. In addition, cultivation must be carried out in greenhouse conditions. Already 4 months after ripening, the germination of the comb's seeds will be lost, so sowing is recommended as soon as possible. For sowing, seedling boxes are used, filled with fertile soil mixed with sand for looseness (you can take a peat-sand mixture).

Tamarix seeds are spread on the surface, lightly sprinkled with the same substrate and sprayed with a spray bottle. Germination is carried out at room temperature (approximately 20-24 degrees). Humidity should be moderate throughout the two years of care. When the spring-summer period comes, containers with seedlings are recommended to be taken out into the open air (immediately after the return frosts recede). As soon as the temperature begins to drop in autumn, young tamariks are transferred back to a warm room. When the seedlings reach the age of two, then in spring or autumn, you can start transplanting into open ground. At the same time, it is important not to destroy the earthen lump, the so-called transshipment method is used.

Reproduction of tamarix by cuttings

This method is simpler, faster and gives consistently positive results. With the arrival of spring, it is recommended to cut blanks from semi-lignified shoots of the plant, which will reach 8-10 cm in length, while their thickness should be 1 cm. The lower cut of the cuttings should be dipped in a solution to stimulate root formation (you can take Heteroauxin or Kornevin). Planting is carried out in pots filled with a light sandy substrate (peat-sandy or a mixture of garden soil with sand) at an angle. Glass jars or plastic bottles with a cut bottom are put on the cuttings. Caring for tamarix cuttings will consist of regular airing, and if the soil begins to dry out, it is carefully moistened.

The successful rooting of bead cuttings will be signaled by the appearance of young leaves. When May comes, you can transplant seedlings, which have already formed roots, to a prepared place in a school (training bed). However, it is recommended to provide shelter for the winter period without fail. Already with the arrival of the next spring, young tamariks that have survived the winter months in the garden can be transplanted into open ground to a prepared place. Plants will be well developed and vigorous.

Some gardeners recommend, for confidence, to keep the cuttings in a container of water for some time so that root shoots develop there and only then transplant them into the soil, covering them with a jar.

Reproduction of tamarix by layering

The rooting of cuttings also shows excellent results. This can be done throughout the growing season, when the juices began to move. A strong and healthy lignified branch is selected from the bush, which is closest to the surface of the soil. It is bent down to the ground and buried in a groove about 20 cm deep. In this place, it is recommended to fix the tamarix shoot with a stiff wire or hairpin. If the cuttings are chained in the spring, then by the end of August the cuttings will have formed their own normal and strong root processes. Then the cuttings are separated from the mother bush, and transplanted to a prepared place on the site.

Read also about the rules for breeding privet with your own hands

Possible diseases and pests when growing tamarix

Tamarix grows
Tamarix grows

Interestingly, harmful insects show no interest in beads. However, it happens that pests can crawl onto tamarix from nearby garden plantings, but to combat them, just one spraying with insecticidal agents (for example, Aktara or Aktellik) is enough.

With diseases, things are a little worse. If the irrigation rules are violated or rainy weather is present throughout the growing season, then fungal diseases (for example, root rot or powdery mildew) may appear on tamarix. In any case, if the leaves are covered with a bloom of gray or whitish color, spots appear on the leaf plates, the leaves lose their turgor and droop, but all parts of the plant, including the shoots of the bush, are recommended to be removed. The entire crown (branches and foliage) must be immediately treated with fungicidal agents (such as Fundazol or Bordeaux liquid).

Notes for the curious about the tamarix bush

Blooming Tamarix
Blooming Tamarix

Since in nature the plant has adapted to grow on sands, it is customary to use it to fix moving soil, especially when it is saline. For example, in China, tamariks are planted to grow green walls that serve as windbreaks. Usually poplars and other drought-resistant representatives of the flora act as neighbors for them.

Since the wood is quite beautiful and is characterized by its density, it is customary to use it for making crafts, in turning and carving.

Plantations of tamariks are 4–7 years old, it is customary to use them as fuel, from a large number of thin stems, from which racks are made, as well as snow shields are made. Craftsmen from branches make fishing nets and many other utensils.

These representatives of the flora are used as pergonos. Due to the fact that tamarix bark contains 0, 6–10, 8% tannins, and about 3–3, 5% in the leaves, the plant has been used for a long time by folk healers. On the basis of parts of the comb, it is customary to prepare preparations with laxative and diaphoretic, diuretic and analgesic properties. Also, such agents (decoctions or alcoholic tinctures) are characterized by a hemostatic and astringent effect. They are prescribed to patients to weaken the manifestations of stomach inflammation, attacks of rheumatism, and eliminate diarrhea.

Types and varieties of tamarix

In the photo there is a four-stalked Tamarix
In the photo there is a four-stalked Tamarix

Tamarix tetrandra

occurs naturally in Asia Minor and Greece, and also grows in the Crimean lands and in the southeastern region of the European part of Russia. The shrub is large in size, while its branches vary in height in the range of 5–10 m. Shoots are characterized by arcuate bends. Their surface is covered with brownish-red bark. On the branches, leaf plates of an emerald green hue unfold. The shape of the leaves can be lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate, there is a narrowing at the base, and the top with a pointed tip resembling a beak.

When flowering, starting from April-May, racemose inflorescences form on the lateral branches. They are made up of flowers with petals, the color of which can vary from snow-white to light pinkish. Tamarix four-stalked with proper care can reach the age of 75 years. It is also characterized by resistance to dry periods. With the help of such shrubs, it is possible to form hedges.

In the photo, Tamarix is loose
In the photo, Tamarix is loose

Loose tamarix (Tamarix laxa)

Its natural habitat is in the northwestern regions of China, Mongolia and Afghanistan, it can be found in the northern Iranian regions and even in the lower reaches of the Volga River. It takes both a shrub and a tree-like shape, in the first case, the size of the plant is large, or the tree is small. The crown reaches a maximum height of 5 m, and it is formed by spreading bare branches. The color of the shoots is green or bluish. The leaf plates of this variety grow apart, with oval-rhombic or ovoid outlines. There is a sharpening at the top, and the leaf tapers towards the base.

When flowering in loose tamarix, which stretches for two months, the formation of dense racemose inflorescences, painted in pink color, occurs. From such brushes, panicles are formed at the tops of the branches, in turn. The species is characterized by drought resistance and winter hardiness, can grow well on any type of soil and copes well with its salinization.

In the photo, Tamarix is graceful
In the photo, Tamarix is graceful

Tamarix graceful (Tamarix gracilis)

it is naturally distributed on the lands of Mongolia and Siberia, not uncommon in Kazakhstan and China, and also found in the southern regions of the European part of Russia and Ukraine. The height of the shrub does not exceed 4 meters. Its branches are concatenated, have thick outlines and are covered with chestnut-brown or grayish-green bark. On the entire surface of the shoots, cork spots of a light fawn shade are clearly visible, which can also be in the leaf sinuses. On green branches, the leaves have an apical sharpening, their arrangement in the form of tiles. On one-year-old shoots, the foliage is larger, its shape is lanceolate, the color is fawn.

In springtime, the graceful tamarix forms simple inflorescences in the form of brushes, consisting of flowers with bright pink petals. The length of the inflorescences is measured by 5 cm. From the summer inflorescences (also racemose), large panicles are formed, the length of which slightly exceeds 7 cm. The flowering process stretches from spring to the end of summer. It is frost-resistant and highly decorative, and is popular among home designers.

In the photo, Tamarix is branched
In the photo, Tamarix is branched

Branched tamarix (Tamarix ramosissima)

also found under the name Tamarix pentamellar (Tamarix pentandra). The area of natural distribution falls on the Chinese, Iranian and Balkan lands, the species grows in Moldova and Mongolia, Ukraine and Central Asia. Usually prefers pebble banks, coastal areas and terraces next to river arteries. The shrub has upright shoots reaching 2 meters in height. Its crown is formed by thin branches, which are covered with greenish or gray-gray bark, on annual shoots it is of a reddish hue.

The foliage of tamarix branched has a narrowed or subulate shape, the ends with a bend. During flowering, dense racemose inflorescences of complex shape are collected from the buds. Their length is measured by 5 cm. Flowering starts from the beginning of summer and lasts until September. The flowers have pinkish petals. The species is characterized by easy adaptation to any soil composition and urban conditions (pollution and gas pollution). If the branches freeze in winter, then the plant quickly recovers, but it is better to organize a shelter for the winter.

The most popular varieties of tamarix five-grained are considered to be:

  • Pink Cascade characterized by a large number of opening buds and the splendor of the flowering of light pink flowers.
  • Rubra possesses flowers, the petals of which are painted in a reddish-purple color scheme.
  • Summe Glow (Summer Glow) lives up to its name (summer glow) because of the large number of bright crimson inflorescences.

This type of tamarix and its varietal forms will look great with perennial grasses or shrubs with large leaf sizes. Reproduction is lignified cuttings. it is recommended to carry out pruning, which is easy to handle. Prefers a well-lit location, as there is a chance of death in the shade.

Pictured by Tamarix Meyer
Pictured by Tamarix Meyer

Tamarix meyri

is characterized by thermophilicity and absolutely cannot tolerate frost, it is suitable for cultivation only in regions and in warm climates and mild winters. It has a shrub shape, the crown is formed through spreading branches. The shoots are covered with a reddish bark. The height of the crown varies within 3-4 m. The scaly-shaped leaf plates grow adjacent to the branches. The color of the deciduous mass is bluish-green. In late spring, small flowers with pink petals begin to bloom. From them, elongated dense inflorescences are formed, having a racemose shape. Their length reaches 10 cm.

Mayer's Tamarix can be found under the name Mayer's Grebenshik and in nature is widespread in the Stavropol Territory and Dagestan, in the northern Caspian region and grows in Kalmykia. Also, the plant is not uncommon in the northern Iranian regions and the west of Central Asia, in the east of the Caucasus.

Related article: Care and reproduction of a callistemon or a beautiful plant

Video about growing tamarisk in a personal plot:

Photos of tamarix:

Photo Tamariks 1
Photo Tamariks 1
Photo of Tamariks 2
Photo of Tamariks 2
Photo Tamariks 3
Photo Tamariks 3
Photo Tamariks 4
Photo Tamariks 4
Photo Tamariks 5
Photo Tamariks 5