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Horse chestnut

Irrigation

The horse chestnut should be irrigated when the soil is completely dry; it does not need a high quantity of water resources, especially during the winter season and in particular if the precipitations are constant. During the summer, however, watering must be regular, especially if the tree is young and therefore requires more attention; however, a couple of buckets of water will suffice. It is recommended to avoid annoying water stagnation, caused by an overabundant humidity. Sprinkling irrigation is ideal, as it allows water to be supplied to the plant in a controlled manner and with a significant saving of resources, and allows the soil to be wet on the surface or in depth; this method is also called drip and involves the use of drippers.

How to cultivate


This imposing and majestic tree multiplies through sowing; the seeds must be placed in special containers and covered with soil, and must be transplanted in the garden the following year, preferably in the autumn season. The plant does not need a particular soil, being resistant and capable of growing spontaneously; the soil, however, must be well drained, in order to avoid water stagnation. It is important to prune to remove dry or diseased branches, and it is essential to eliminate all the remains, burning them, without ever leaving them at the foot of the tree: they could, in fact, offer shelter to insects or any fungi. To prevent fungal diseases, an annual treatment with Bordeaux mixture is suggested.

Fertilization


Horse chestnut must be fertilized for the first time at the time of planting, with an organic fertilizer that is able to prepare the soil in the best possible way and guarantee the plant the necessary nutrients; then up to two years can pass without repeating the operation. Subsequently, the tree must be fertilized annually, if possible in autumn, with a product that balances potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus, the three essential macroelements. These are essential so that the plant does not weaken and does not undergo leaf chlorosis; potassium improves metabolism, nitrogen supports the growth of the vegetative parts and phosphorus strengthens the root system. To help the chlorophyll synthesis processes, other elements are needed, such as manganese and iron.

Horse Chestnut: Exposure, Diseases and Pests


As far as exposure is concerned, this tree prefers sunny environments but develops without problems even in partial shade; it is weatherproof, but it would be preferable to avoid strong winds. The plant, in conditions of high humidity, can also undergo fungal diseases such as anthracnose: it causes the formation of reddish spots on the leaves, which then dry up and fall prematurely. As remedies, copper-based treatments are suggested, to be carried out starting from the initial stages of the disease. In addition, the attacks of a parasite called Cameraria ohridella are frequent, whose larvae dig tunnels in the leaves causing their deterioration; this insect can be fought with specific insecticides authorized by the Ministry of Health.

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