How much and when to water

The liquidambar, especially in summer and in particular if there is a prolonged period of drought, needs regular irrigation; it is important that the soil is always slightly damp, so the operation must be repeated every time it dries out completely. The opposite extreme must also be avoided, that is a soil impregnated with water: this condition, in the long run, causes rotting of the roots and annoying fungal diseases that lead to the deterioration of the entire plant. Consequently, during the winter season, and especially if the rainfall is constant, the rain will be sufficient to meet the water needs of the tree. It should be borne in mind, however, that young specimens need more water than adult ones, as they are less resistant.

Growing tips

This plant prefers deep, slightly acidic and well-drained soils, so as to avoid stagnant water; the soil, before planting, must be worked with a spade, aerated and softened, and weeds must be eliminated as they are harmful to the development of the tree. Multiplication occurs by cuttings or by sowing: it is recommended not to plant directly in the garden, but in containers filled with soil mixed with peat, and to transplant the plant in the ground after about a year. An initial mulching operation may be convenient, to make the soil more fertile and improve its physical and chemical condition. As for pruning, excessively heavy and long branches should be cut in early winter.

How to fertilize

It is important to carry out two fertilizations a year, in spring and in autumn; it is recommended to use an organic fertilizer, such as mature manure, or a slow-release granular product that can provide the plant with all the nutrients it needs. The three macro-elements that the tree must never lack are potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen: in particular, the latter is essential for the growth of tissues and to regulate the presence of chlorophyll in the foliage. Potassium is equally essential as it increases the plant’s resistance to cold and the production of ATP; phosphorus is essential for a correct metabolism and for strengthening the roots. The fertilizer should also include so-called microelements, such as iron,

Liquidambar: Exposure, pests and diseases

The liquidambar requires a bright exposure and directly hit by the sun’s rays; in any case, it grows correctly even in partial shade and does not fear the cold, as long as it is not excessive. Among the parasites that can attack the plant, the most frequent are aphids and miner larvae: the former feed on the sap by piercing leaves and shoots and cause the progressive deterioration of the tree, the latter insinuate themselves into the green parts by digging tunnels and determining widespread desiccation. A recommended remedy against aphids is nettle macerate, which is simple to prepare; on the other hand, chemical insecticides are more suitable to fight the miner larvae. Excess humidity, in addition, can cause fungal diseases such as molds and rot, which can be treated with fungicides.

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