Poplars, poplars ...
Exciting labor arborist. He will grow up, nurture tender plants from a tiny, barely noticeable seed, carefully transplant them into well-cultivated soil and take care of them for many years. Soon, young pets will become mighty, leafy oaks, slender pines, majestic firs or ash trees.
Near the farmer, a farmer, it seems, he just sowed his field, looked for growing sprouts for no day, and now the real summer has not yet been established, but he is walking among the golden waves of wheat, weighing juicy, full-weighted grain on his palm.
In five, at most ten years, the first gardener takes the first harvest of fruits or berries.
But those who grow forests, fate has never spoiled. Only in old age was it given to them to walk under the canopy of the forest cherished by them, and harvesting the forest is the business of sons, and even grandchildren. Therefore, from ancient times, foresters also concealed the cherished dream: to grow not one, but many generations of forests in their life, not just one, but several times to rejoice in the crops of trees grown by them.
It seemed like a futile dream. But then Great October struck, and what was previously considered unrealizable began to be carried out before our eyes. The national economy released huge funds to foresters, equipped it with the most modern and advanced technology, provided almost unlimited areas, obliging former dreamers to take up the real task of growing forests faster. This was especially important for the long-lived and pretty deforested in the past European part of our country.
Forests are growing, as they were centuries ago, and the consumption of their wealth by industry and construction has increased a hundredfold and continues to grow steadily. How to be? Some offered to take a course towards the record holders of rapid growth - eucalyptus trees, others were looking for a solution to the problem in agro-technology of forest cultivation, in growth stimulants, in fertilizers. The gold-bearing forest vein was found by those who turned their hopes to the poplar species considered to be of little value in the past.
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It turns out that trees have unusual destinies. For example, such species as oak, ash, spruce, maple have long been universally recognized. They are treated with care in natural forests, they are lovingly grown in forest nurseries or forest cultures, as young artificial forests call foresters. And poplars have always grown on their own. True, people have long noticed the unusual growth rate of poplars, their large size, beautiful appearance, willingly planted dams or shores of ponds and ponds, streets and roads with them, used for landscaping cities, not only because of rapid growth, but also because of the unpretentiousness of poplar and ability to propagate easily by cuttings. Planted a 30-centimeter stalk in the spring, and by autumn it is already a two-, or even a three-meter-tall tree, in subsequent years it will hardly slow down the growth rate, several years will pass, and you will see a large shady tree.
In early summer, when poplar fluff begins to fly, many unflattering epithets are released at the poplar address. But scolding should not be trees, but those who planted female specimens on the streets. Poplar is a dioecious plant. Male and female specimens bloom at one time, in early spring, before the leaves bloom. Reddish catkins of male poplars, dispelling pollen, fall off and do not cause much trouble to people. The yellow-green catkins of female trees after pollination form green fruit boxes, from which, within a month and a half or two months, billions of small seeds fly out equipped with parachute cannons. The ability of poplar to so actively disperse its offspring and is the cause of complaints of people in cities and villages. The Greeks in ancient times knew this property of poplar and planted squares of public gatherings and central streets with specimens of a masculine kind. By the way, from the ancient Greeks, botanists borrowed the word "populus", that is, for the name of the poplar genus.
But back to the concerns of foresters. The poplars, mentioned here with the good and unkind word, were recognized for a long time only by specialists in landscaping populated areas, while foresters treated them at least with indifference. And what self-respecting arborist could grow poplar forest in the past? Indeed, poplar has been considered a forest weed for centuries. What is the use of loose, low-quality wood of these plants? Where does it come to such, say, species as oak, walnut, beech?
However, times have changed, and the attitude towards the poplar family has changed. With the development of omnipotent chemistry, the woodworking industry has gained strength, mastering the methods of amazing transformations. They learned how to simply and cheaply convert bad poplar wood into strong, like oak or boxwood, beautiful, like glorified walnuts and birch, which is also quite resistant to decay and even fire.
Now poplar has taken its rightful place among previous competitors and has attracted the main attention of foresters, especially in areas poor in forests. Now you can’t find a forester who somewhere in the Kuban, Ukraine, and even in the middle zone of Russia would not grow poplar with all care.
The Soviet breeders-breeders made a great contribution to the science and practice of cultivating this tree. Among the pets of Academician A.S. Yablokov there are slender poplars bred by him, a pioneer, Michurinets, Russian, and not inferior to them in growth rate, but with original leaves, near Moscow, Ivanteyevsky, Soviet pyramidal and named after the great Russian writer Maxim Gorky.
Promising hybrids of poplars were obtained by A.V. Albensky, corresponding member of the All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences named after V.I. Lenin. Particularly noteworthy is the seedling, selected among the legacy of the English breeder Professor O. Henry, bequeathed to the Soviet Union. This fast-growing poplar hybrid is called red-hearted in our country. Incidentally, it is represented only by male specimens, so necessary for landscaping populated areas.
Also interesting are the hybrids of breeding of the corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR F. L. Schepotiev, for example, the fun-sided poplar poplar, Professor P. Bogdanov, the Leningrad poplar and others.
Thousands of crosses had to be carried out, tens of thousands of hybrid seedlings were grown and rejected before valuable, promising forms were selected. Many years of creative work have been spent on these several dozen new varieties by our scientists. But what a future they will have! New, valuable varieties of poplar overlook a vast forest field.
Do not remain indebted to scientists and nature. She tirelessly creates, using the comparatively easy crossbreeding of poplars, all new varieties. To date, botanists have studied more than 110 species of poplar in the temperate zone of the globe, and it is not easy to take into account varieties and hybrid forms: a lot of them are found in almost every forestry. Now the fastest growing and persistent natural hybrids are selected annually. Many of them have already been bred in different regions of the Soviet Union, in particular, in light forests, in the south of the country.
For example, Canadian poplar. This is a descendant of the poplar resettled to us from Canada. Crossing many times with our poplars, it has become a complex natural hybrid. Like the best hybrids created by science, in the first year of planting in forest belts, he is able to protect the field from dry winds and droughts. At the age of 7–8 years, Canadian poplar can already produce the first ornamental wood, and by the age of 15–20, its best plantations accumulate as much wood as oak or pine forests only by a hundred years old. This is where the reserves of rapid wood growing are. That's when the opportunity presented itself to meet the one hundred times increased demand for valuable raw materials and at the same time fulfill the cherished dream of foresters. Not several crops throughout life, but annually now they are harvested with the light hand of the Kharkov scientist F. A. Pavlenko. His proposed method of using annual poplar whips for paper production is a new page in the creative search for foresters and in the fate of poplar.
If the eucalyptus forests make noise on our lands in the future, say the forest owners, then the present in sparsely and non-forest areas of the country belongs entirely to poplars. On hundreds of thousands of hectares, forests of fast-growing poplars are planted in our country every year.
Together with them, honorable watch is also carried on poplar monuments. In the early spring of 1924, on a steep bank of the Oka River, in the village of Konstantinov, a young poplar tree was planted near the paternal home by Sergei Yesenin. Many trees on a modest Yesenin manor died from the severe frosts of the Ryazanshchina or simply outlived their age, but the poplar matured, raised its curly crown high in heavenly blue, and firmly established itself with its deep-rooted roots. A living monument to the poet, he stands at the hut, now turned into a museum.
Landing poplars decided to celebrate the birthday of V. Lenin workers locomotive depot Moscow-Sorting. On a fine spring day, April 22, 1960, they came to their club and planted 90 trees. It was immediately decided that every year on this significant day, one more poplar should be planted. A good tradition has been respected until the memorable 100th anniversary. Every year, the best of the best workers of the oldest enterprise received the right to plant a tree.
Links to materials:
- S. Ivchenko - Book about trees