The paulownia, or imperial Adam's tree, is part of the paulownia family. This genus is represented by several species, and it includes semi-evergreen and deciduous trees. This heat-loving plant is most commonly found in subtropical climates. It is extremely fast growing and can reach about 300 cm in height. Most species are highly ornamental and are cultivated as park and garden crops.
The wood of such a tree is very valuable. It is very light and hard-wearing and is used for turning and construction work.
Peculiarities of Paulownia
The Paulownia tree (Paulownia) gets its name from Philipp Franz von Siebold, the famous German naturalist. It was he who first discovered this plant in Japan and brought its seeds to Europe. It was named after the patronymic of the Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna Romanova, Queen of the Netherlands.
This plant has not only a spectacular appearance, but also unique properties.
The tree has a straight, straight trunk, the surface of which is covered with lamellar grayish bark. The trunk is about 0.3 to 0.5 m across.
The plant can grow to a height of 18-20 meters. When paulownia is grown, its lateral shoots form a spreading crown of an ovate or globular shape. When growing in mid-latitudes the young plants often get frosty, which causes the trunk to branch. This causes the plant to take the form of a tall, lush shrub.
The root system includes a central stem that goes deep into the soil for 4-6 meters.
Side branches also develop.
Very large, long-petioled leaf plates, they are arranged suproposed and have a deltoid shape. Leaves may be deeply toothed or lobed. Fibrous, dense, deep green leaves have a downy front surface, but the underside feels like felt. A single leaf blade varies in length from 0.
6 to 0.7 meters. One leaf is able to cover a baby completely. Already in seedlings 8-10 months old, the foliage becomes very large, while their trunk reaches only 20 mm in diameter. The tree is adorned with large leaf plates of rich color, as a result, the plant looks exotic.
With the coming of the autumn months the foliage turns green and only on the soil surface it turns brown.
The fragrant, showy flowers open in mid-March before the leaves appear. Flowering lasts for 6-7 weeks. The calyxes reach about 50-60 mm across and are funnel-shaped. Five petals are bent outward and are lilac, cream or mauve.
There are elongated stamens. Vertically arranged paniculate inflorescences contain 7-15 flowers each.
After flowering, egg-shaped fruits with a brownish-greenish color are formed. They are bivalve-shaped bolls, about 1 cm across. Inside are many small winged seeds.
This plant is very fast growing. It grows almost six times faster than the oak. If paulownia grows under favorable conditions, with an average annual temperature of 10 to 14 degrees and adequate soil moisture, it can grow 2.5 to 4.5 meters in a year.
Seedlings during the first two years of growth become slender compact small trees with luxuriant foliage.
The plant's resistance to frost directly depends on the species. So, for some species a decrease in air temperature to 0 degrees is already considered fatal, while others can easily withstand frosts up to minus 30 degrees.
Life span of paulownia is from 80 to 100 years. Among trees characterized by rapid growth, this is practically a record.
Most species of such a tree come from Japan and China. And in Japan such a plant is one of the national symbols. It is used as a decoration for banknotes, orders of distinction, Imperial coat of arms, medals and the government seal, for example. Its leaves and flowers are depicted on paulownia.
This plant can be found in the South China province and also in some South-East Asian regions (Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Taiwan).
It prefers to grow in flat areas with very moist soil below 800 m above sea level.
Paulownia species that are heat-loving can be found in regions with mild climates such as the Mediterranean, southern Ukraine, southern North America, the Caucasus and the Crimean coast. Some species are capable of quickly adapting to various conditions so they can be cultivated in temperate latitudes.
Paulownia planting in the open field
A site suitable for planting paulownia must be lit and level, as well as well protected from strong wind gusts and located away from fruit trees. The soil can range from acidic to slightly alkaline; loamy sandy soil, chernozem, and also loose loam are excellent.
It is highly discouraged to plant the plant in clayey heavy soil.
Saplings one year old are best suited for planting in the open ground, since they are highly resistant to weather changes. Pavlovnia can be planted between April and October. The depth of the planting hole should be about 100 cm, and its diameter - from 60 to 70 centimeters. At the bottom, a layer of drainage with a thickness of 20 centimeters is laid out, fine gravel will do.
In the soil remaining during the preparation of the hole, pour the decomposed manure, leaf humus and 40 grams of mineral complex. At the time of planting the seedling, a long peg is fixed near it, which is necessary for tying the weak trunk. After planting, the tree is watered abundantly by pouring 2 buckets of water under it.
Growing from seeds
If you want to grow such a plant from seed, then first conduct their germination test. Soak them in water for a while.
Take out the seeds that will sink to the bottom of the water and spread them on a pre-moistened cloth. Cover them with a film on top. Every day they should be slightly moistened, and placed in heat (22-25 degrees). The first sprouts should appear after 15 days.
After that, the napkin with seeds is placed in a container filled with fertile substrate consisting of turf and leaf soil, and also peat.
Sprinkle the seeds on top of a thin layer of substrate (0.2-0.3 cm). Before powerful sprouts appear, provide the seeds with greenhouse conditions, and they need daily extra light. After 12 months, the seedlings are mature enough to be planted outdoors.
Grooming for Paulownia
Paulownia is fairly undemanding in its care. It is capable of adapting to various conditions, being tolerant of heat and prolonged drought. But the tree must be protected from frost as well as systematically watered.
For the entire vegetation period, young trees are watered once a week, with 1 bucket of water poured into the root circle at a time. After the paulownia is 3 years old, the root system grows strongly.
From this time, it can not be watered. Moisten the soil only during prolonged drought.
Do not forget to remove weeds in a timely manner in the root circle, and also regularly gently loosen the soil surface to a depth of 50-70 mm.
Saplings are fertilized 1 or 2 times during the season. Organics (compost, barnyard manure, humus or poultry manure) and mineral fertilizers are used together.
The nutrient solution is applied in liquid form together with watering.
Paulownia is perfectly tolerant of pruning. When most branches are removed, there is rapid recovery of the plant. Stems damaged by frost during the winter should be cut off in early spring before leaves show.
Planting and care features
Diseases and pests
While the tree is young, it is susceptible to fungal diseases. An improper watering regimen or the presence of many spores in the soil can contribute to this. Aphids or scale may settle on the leaves. Get rid of pests with products specially designed for this purpose. It is recommended to systematically spray the leaves with fungicides and insecticides.
You can also use natural remedies made from tobacco dust, soap or wood ash. Cut and burn any damaged parts of the stems.
How to grow paulownia from seed is described above. It can also be propagated by rootstocks and cuttings.
Take cuttings in summer or spring.
The middle part of the stem of a 2 or 3 year old plant is used for this purpose. The minimum length of the cuttings is 15 centimeters. Stick them in a mixture of peat and sand or in the ground, with only 20-30 mm of cuttings left on the outside. Provide the cuttings with greenhouse conditions before the young shoots appear. Once the shoots are 10 cm tall, cut out all but the most powerful one.
Paulownia / Propagation with green cuttings / Igor Bilevich
The adult tree grows root appendages. They are cut off and planted permanently in the spring. For them to grow normally, select a suitable site for the seedlings with an optimal soil composition and protected from wind gusts. They are also provided with timely watering.
Paulownia species with photo
There are several species of paulownia, with the most popular being:
Felt (Paulownia tomentosa)
The most hardy species that can withstand a drop in air temperature to minus 25 degrees.
It was the basis for a hybrid that is suitable for growing in mid-latitudes. The tree is characterized by fast growth, its annual growth is about 300 cm. The height of an adult plant can reach up to 20 meters. The branches are decorated with fibrous dense to the touch pale green leaf plates. Flowering is lush.
The color of the brush-like inflorescences may be white or light lilac. The fruits do not fall off the branches until late fall.
Sapphire tree (Paulownia kawakamii)
The plant is moderately frost-resistant. It can withstand temperatures as low as minus 17 degrees. The height of such a tree can reach 15 to 20 meters.
The delta-like leaflets vary in size from 0.35 to 0.45 m. The wide crown has an ovoid shape. The rich blue flowers have a pale yellow midrib.
Paulownia fortunei (Paulownia fortunei)
This Chinese variety is heat loving and also has lush blooms. The plant can reach a height of 10 to 12 meters. The surface of the large light green leaf plates is pubescent. Its inflorescences consist of white or cream-colored flowers, with a contrasting darker shade in the middle. It is cultivated both indoors and outdoors.
Paulownia elongata (Paulownia elongata)
Tree with dense broad crown reaches a height of 10-15m. Its brush-like inflorescences are tinged with light lavender. It is characterized by a long flowering period and moderate cold tolerance: mature trees can withstand a cold snap up to minus 17 degrees, and young trees up to minus 10 degrees.
The trunk of this large plant can reach up to 20 meters high. The crown is lush and spreading.
The heart-shaped leaflets are 30 to 35 centimeters in size. The paniculate inflorescences are composed of pale yellow or white flowers. The plant is drought tolerant, withstanding temperatures up to 48 degrees and cold temperatures down to minus 10 degrees.
Where is paulownia used
Paulownia's fibrous large leaf plates are valuable because they can release large amounts of oxygen into the air. Paulownia is also capable of cleaning the air of harmful impurities, and it does this much better than other deciduous trees.
In a year, planting a 10-hectare planting helps to retain 1 thousand tons of dust and absorb almost 300 tons of carbon dioxide. The root system penetrates deep into the soil, thus preventing weathering and erosion. And given that this plant is a highly decorative plant, it is ideal for landscaping squares, streets, garden plots and city parks.
The most frost-resistant species and varieties are cultivated in the middle latitudes. They can be an excellent substitute for other slow-growing and weaker trees.
Also paulownia is often used to create windbreak plantings, which are designed to keep vast areas of land from erosion.
This plant also has wood that is related to business species and is valued as well. It is very light, resistant to fungus and moisture. The surface of the homogeneous equal density timber is matt yellowish-gray. It has almost no swirls in the structure.
The weight of 1 cubic meter of such wood is about 250 kilograms. This plant is half the weight of pine, but it is still very superior to pine in terms of its technical characteristics. This wood is resistant to cracking and rotting, does not warp, holds fasteners and is machinable with various types of tools.
This plant is used in the production of sports equipment, in shipbuilding and in the manufacture of musical instruments. It is used for making skis, snowboards, surfboards, and lightweight parts of yachts and boats.
Low-grade blanks are used for making packing crates and pallets. It is also used as a raw material for making paper, charcoal, cellulose, and bioethanol. High quality wood is used in the production of furniture, flooring, finishing panels. This wood contains a lot of silica and tannins, these compounds have a powerful antimicrobial effect. That is why it is widely used for cladding saunas and baths.
Such wood has a pronounced heat and noise insulating property.
Leaves, bark, flowers and fruit shells are quite widely used in cosmetics and alternative medicine. The extract obtained from them is included in natural products for skin care and for stimulation of hair growth. It is also used in preparations to treat rheumatism and dermatological diseases.
The leaves contain many carbohydrates as well as valuable proteins.
Therefore, it is much more nutritious than legumes, alfalfa and other plants grown as fodder for farm animals.
Paulownia // Alum tree or oil well on the property?