How do araucaria trees multiply

Monkey tree, araucaria, araucaria - care and pruning

The extremely unusual leaves or needles have a broad triangular shape and sting when they come into contact, and they are also arranged in a spiral on the branches. This spiral shape resembles a monkey tail or a snake, which explains the different names. The araucarias form a characteristic horizontal arrangement of branches, which in turn lead in a circle along the trunk. Due to its frost-hardy and exotic properties, the monkey tree has become a coveted rarity for gardens in the milder areas of Central Europe.

Location, plant substrate, planting

The monkey tree must have sufficient incidence of light at its location, then it will constantly grow in height and in width. However, it is not so good at handling the winter sun, a fact that must be taken into account when planting. Since the decorative fir should not be pruned at all or only rarely, it is important to ensure that there is sufficient space when planning the location so that the tree can unfold fully and without hindrances. The monkey tree is not particularly demanding in terms of soil, but the plant substrate should be well permeable so that no harmful waterlogging can form. If the soil is too dense, it can be improved by incorporating gravel, so that rainwater always flows off and does not damage the roots.

  • Prefers a very bright and mostly sunny location
  • Needs a lot of light, but suffers from the winter sun
  • A location on a protected north or west wall is ideal
  • Avoid drafts
  • Permeable, moderately nutrient-rich and slightly acidic plant substrate is ideal
  • Loosen loamy soil
  • Soils that are too dry and too warm lead to unsightly yellowing of the leaves
  • Excessive lime content is just as harmful
  • Can be grown as a container plant
  • If the root growth is too strong, repotting is unavoidable

Watering and fertilizing

The monkey tree needs an abundant and regular supply of water during the main growing season within the course of the year. The need for nutrients is not particularly high in this tree, but for better growth and in nutrient-poor soils, the addition of fertilizer is recommended.

  • The root ball should never dry out completely
  • The top layer of soil should be dried well before watering again in order to avoid waterlogging
  • Water abundantly so that the entire root ball is penetrated by the water
  • Pay attention to a continuous water supply, especially in the hot summer months
  • Standing moisture is not well tolerated at all
  • Persistently wet rhizomes quickly lead to root rot
  • Give additional nutrients in the form of fertilizer once or twice a month in a liquid dose
  • Fertilize more often when planting in pots

Cutting and wintering

It is best to let the tree grow according to its nature. If the branches are simply cut and shortened, no new shoot can sprout from the wood. After the cut, the branch looks like it has been amputated and looks extremely disfigured.

  • Cut the entire branch on the trunk directly
  • Make a cut at the base and do not leave a stubby extension
  • Unsightly stumps impair the growth habit
  • Cut back a branch that is too long at a branch to a shorter branch below
  • Make the cut in warm and dry weather

As soon as the monkey tree has grown up for a few years in peace and under ideal living conditions, it can overwinter well; an older and healthy tree is relatively frost-hardy. However, these trees are not suitable for areas with much and long-lasting cold and for exposed altitude. Trees that are still young need adequate winter protection in order to survive the cold season unscathed. In this way, even younger specimens get through the winter well, provided the frost does not stay above -15 ° C for a long time. At extremely low temperatures, older monkey trees also have their problems and frost damage can occur. Monkey trees planted in the ground cannot absorb water and dry up in long frosty winters. In cold frost periods in combination with the winter sun, the water evaporates heavily, but the tree cannot absorb any. This is very dangerous for the tree and it causes ugly leaf damage.

  • Winter protection in the form of fleece, jute, spruce branches or mats made of reed
  • Design around the trunk and in the area of ​​the roots
  • Place trees growing in pots in a winter garden
  • Light and frost-free winter quarters, with cool rooms
  • Temperatures around 5 ° C are ideal for wintering
  • In the winter quarters continue to water, but less
  • no suitable accommodation, place buckets outside on styrofoam plates
  • Wrap the tubs with fleece or jute and water on frost-free days
  • Plant or place the tree on the north side of a house
  • Prefer a bright location with sufficient protection from the winter sun
  • If the tree is in full winter sun, protect the branches with a shading net
  • Also spread a thick layer of mulch (dry leaves and straw) around the trunk
  • Mulch layer prevents the soil from freezing through and ensures continuous water absorption

Growth and flowering

The monkey tree grows only slowly and usually reaches a height and width of several meters in the local latitudes. You should consider this fact in advance when planting so that the tree does not get in the way later. The decorative fir does not tolerate a receding cut and looks very unsightly even in retrospect if the cut is incorrect. In their homeland there are specimens that are estimated to be over 1000 years old and up to thirty meters tall, normal is a stature height of up to 10-20 meters.

Very old trees are free of knots up to the top crown. The flowers are usually only developed after decades and form cones. Due to its unusual growth shape, the monkey tree is particularly valued as an ornamental tree for representative areas in the garden, including in the front yard and next to inhabited terrace sections. During the growth process, a new floor is created in a horizontal position, this fact can be seen particularly in younger tree specimens.

  • In this country, the tree becomes about 5 meters high and about 3-4 meters wide
  • Annual height is about 10-30 cm
  • Male monkey trees are smaller than female ones
  • Flowers appear after about 30 years
  • Flowering time is in summer, from July to August
  • Flowers are dioecious, there are males and females, just like the ginkgo tree
  • Female flowers are in conspicuous, spherical cones that are about 15 cm tall and stand upright
  • After 1-3 years, the cones disintegrate and the ripe seeds fall out
  • Seeds are up to 4 cm long and edible
  • Indians appreciate the oil and protein-rich properties of the seeds as a dietary supplement
  • Cylindrical cones hang from male monkey trees

Propagation and implantation

The monkey trees propagate through the seeds, which can either be obtained from the seed dealer or harvested from a tree with ripe cones. You can also buy mature trees from specialist dealers, but due to its exotic status, a young conifer has a relatively high purchase price. Raising them is fairly easy, but not all varieties are suitable for the local climate. Non-winter-hardy varieties must be planted in a tub and placed in a suitable area to overwinter when winter sets in.

  • Very high germination rate of the seeds
  • The seeds germinate after about 4 months
  • Cultivate in smaller pots in winter
  • Then place the young plants in the selected bed or in a tub in spring
  • Prefer seeds from local monkey trees, as they are generally better winter hardiness
  • Sow directly into the soil in early autumn
  • When sowing, make sure that the seed has not yet dried out
  • It is best to sow seeds immediately after they ripen
  • Seeds can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks in the damp sand, wrapped in plastic wrap
  • Seedlings can overwinter in a bright and not too cool place, at around 15 degrees

Diseases and pests

Since the monkey tree is a conifer, it is actually very robust and insensitive to diseases and pests, unless it is permanently exposed to extremely strong and long-lasting frosts. Brown colored needles usually indicate that the tree is permanently too wet. In winter, when the temperature is frosty, the roots cannot absorb enough water, which can also lead to signs of drying out. The monkey tree is also prone to fungal diseases and should therefore be checked regularly. Fungal infestation is very dangerous as it cannot be satisfactorily controlled once an outbreak has occurred.

Fungal disease

  • Is expressed by brown and sloping leaves
  • Is caused by too much water and waterlogging
  • Fungi lead to root rot and thus cause the tree to die
  • To avoid this, make sure that the soil or plant substrate is well drained

Conclusion
The monkey tree is becoming more and more popular in the local latitudes and is very noticeable due to its different growth. However, it requires extensive care so that there is no damage to the roots and foliage. Particularly when choosing a location, the extensive growth must be taken into account, the monkey tree becomes very large over time and needs its space. The tree is relatively frost hardy, but with restrictions, so it needs additional protection from the cold in winter. With a healthy growth process, the monkey tree is fascinating at first glance and brings a touch of exoticism to the garden.