Astra: disposition and preferences
Astra for many is a favorite autumn flower. But some gardeners complain: seedlings should be sown since mid-March, and then there are a lot of problems when growing. In fact, this culture is not so difficult, you just need to know its whims. Asters are light-loving plants, bloom profusely only in the sun. They develop better on sufficiently moist soils, but they tolerate both drought and waterlogging equally poorly. They can grow on any soil, but the most favorable for them are light loam and sandy loam.
The aster has a powerful root system, the bulk of the roots is located in the soil at a depth of 15-20 cm. Damaged roots during planting or loosening can be easily restored, so asters can be planted at any age and successfully transplanted even with buds and flowers. In late summer and autumn, asters replace other fading summers when decorating flower beds, balconies, they are transplanted into pots to decorate the premises.
In the fall, the asters' plot is filled with organic (humus, peat composts - 4-6 kg / m each2non-acid peat -10 kg / m2) and mineral (phosphorite flour, superphosphate - 80-100 g / m2) fertilizers. If the soil is acidic, add ground limestone, chalk or fluffy lime (80-100 g / m2) Nitrogen and potassium fertilizers are applied in the spring after snow melts.
Usually asters are grown through seedlings. The optimal sowing period in central Russia is from March 15 to April 15. The land for sowing is calcined in the oven or a few days before it is shed with a solution of foundationazole (1 g per 1 liter of water). This will help protect yourself from the black legs. If there are many varieties, it is better to sow in the grooves and put labels with names. Then the seeds are covered with light sifted earth or sand with a layer of 0.5-1 cm, moistened from a watering can with a small strainer or from a spray bottle. After that, drawers or cups are covered with paper. At a temperature of 18-20 ° C, seedlings appear after three to seven days, then the shelter is removed.
Plants with shoots are placed as close to the light as possible. If the seedlings stretch out and lie down, you can pour a little calcined sand.
Plants are fed 7-10 days after the pick (urea, crystallin - 1-1.5 g per 1 liter of water). Two to three weeks before planting in the soil, seedlings begin to harden, gradually accustoming to fresh air. Hardened seedlings withstand short-term freezing up to minus 5 ° C.
Seedlings are planted in flower beds in the second half of May. After planting, the plants are abundantly watered and mulched with peat. Such mulch retains moisture well in the soil, regulates its temperature and inhibits the growth of weeds.
Planting is advisable after three weeks to feed complex mineral fertilizer (40-50 g / m2) And after two weeks, top dressing is repeated. During the period of budding and the beginning of flowering, only potash and phosphorus fertilizers are applied (25-30 g / m2), and nitrogen is excluded. Top dressing is usually combined with watering.
The soil around is often loosened, but not deep, weeds are regularly removed. Asters are watered only in drought.
The biggest problem for asters is Fusarium wilt, or Fusarium. The disease manifests itself primarily on the lower leaves and lower part of the stem, gradually spreading to the entire plant. Affected leaves turn yellow first, and then turn brown, curl and hang. At the root neck and above, longitudinal dark stripes appear. Heavily affected plants bend and then fade. The affected plants are dug up and destroyed, and ash or fluffy lime is poured into the wells, mixed with the ground and equalized.
Young plants are very rarely affected by Fusarium, usually the disease manifests itself during budding or flowering of asters. Unfortunately, the means to combat this disease are unknown and there are no varieties that are completely resistant to it. However, amateur gardeners should be aware of some preventive measures that will help alleviate the epidemic.
First of all, asters return to their original place only after four to five years, since the pathogen fungus remains in the soil for a rather long time. If the plot is small and there is no possibility to observe crop rotation, then at the place where asters are planned to be planted next year, this year they plant sowing marigold, nasturtium or plant seedlings of petunias or marigolds that heal the soil with volatile production.
Before planting asters, add humus or compost to the soil, but not fresh manure, which will only provoke the disease.
Soaking seeds before sowing in a 0.03% solution of trace elements for 14-18 hours and foliar feeding them during budding will also help protect plants from fusarium infection. In addition, microelements make flowers brighter.
Plants grown by sowing seeds into the soil (early May) immediately to a permanent place are more resistant to the disease. In this case, only early flowering varieties are used.
There is a little trick that allows you to admire the blooming asters from October to December. Seeds are sown in mid-June and plants are grown, as usual, until mid-September. Then the asters are carefully transplanted into pots with a diameter of 10-15 cm and placed on the most lighted window in the room. Low-growing varieties are best suited for this.
- E. Sytov, candidate of agricultural sciences, VNIISSOK, Moscow region
- V.Kozhevnikov, Director of the Stavropol Botanical Garden