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Pyracantha hedge

The genus pyracantha: origin, diffusion, uses

The genus Pyracantha, belonging to the Rosaceae family, includes 7 species of evergreen thorny shrubs, native to a vast area extending from southern Europe to south-eastern Asia. Similar in appearance to the Cotoneaster, they differ in the presence of thorns. The name comes from the Greek and means thorny flame, referring to the main characteristics of these plants, the thorns and their taking on a bright red hue when in winter they are covered with small red berries. The only species that in Italy is also found in the spontaneous state is the pyracantha coccinea, commonly called Agazzino. The pyracanthas are grown both for ornamental purposes and as hedges, given the dense foliage and the presence of thorns, they can very well replace fences and dividing walls.

The pyracantha species most suitable for forming hedges


Common characteristics of the genus pyracantha are the dense thorny foliage, the abundant spring flowering, consisting of pretty white flowers, and the large quantity of fruits, small red or yellow berries, which cover it throughout the winter. The most widespread and appreciated species, not only in Italy, is the coccinea. It has the appearance of a bushy shrub, very branched, and can reach a height of 3-4 meters. The rogersiana, from China, very thick and up to 4 meters high, is also often used to create hedges; the atalantioides, which can reach 6 meters; angustifolia, also originally from China. The other species, grown mainly as ornamental plants, are the crenulata, of Himalayan origin, the crenatoserrata, coming from China and suitable for warm climates, and the koidzumii from Taiwan.

What the pyracantha hedge needs: soil, light, maintenance


The pyracantha is a rustic shrub that adapts well to different soils, even poor or stony, and that resists both heat and cold, does not fear even frost. To get a nice hedge, the plants should be placed about 50-70 cm from each other, in a sunny or partial shade. To start from scratch you can proceed with the sowing or burying of semi-woody cuttings, certainly a more practical and effective method. The plant in the first year of life has a very slow development, and then considerably increases the rate of growth. Adult plants used as hedges must therefore be pruned, at least 2 or 3 times a year, so that they maintain the desired shape and size. The pyracantha hedge does not need frequent watering, which can indeed be harmful, usually adult plants are self-sufficient, that is, they are satisfied with the water they receive with the rain; however, watering may be required when dry soil is noticed, especially in summer.

Pyracantha hedge: Diseases that can affect the pyracantha hedge


Pyracantha is a very resistant plant, which is also why it is widely used to form hedges. In fact, it bears very well adverse climatic conditions, pollution and also the aggression of insects and parasites. Sometimes it happens that cochineal or aphids make their appearance, but usually they do not cause particular damage. However, there is a disease to which this plant is subject, which unfortunately is most often fatal, the bacterial fire blast: in certain circumstances a bacterium, which lives on the bark of the plants, manages to penetrate inside causing them to dry up quickly and the death. The only thing to do is to eliminate the plant immediately, to prevent others from being infected. Another less serious problem that can be prevented,

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