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The liquidambar or storax is a deciduous tree of medium-large dimensions, originating in North America, at maturity it can reach 25-30 m. It has an erect stem, densely branched, with a pyramidal crown, which becomes rounded over the years; the bark is gray-brown, deeply fissured. The leaves are large, star-shaped, with 5-7 pointed lobes, dark green in color and become purple or orange in autumn, before falling. In spring it produces feminine flowers, gathered in pendulous racemes, and male flowers in erect racemes, of greenish-white color, not very showy; in late summer the flowers give way to fruits, round, very thorny half-woody capsules, around 3-4 cm in diameter; they remain on the plant for many weeks and contain small seeds. This plant is widely used in parks and gardens, generally as a single specimen.
There are numerous cultivars with variegated leaves or with very showy autumn colors.
For optimal development it is good to place the storax tree in sunny positions, or in partial shade; It is a variety of trees that does not fear the cold. The root system of the liquidambars it tends to widen a lot and to go down very deep, it is advisable to take it into account when it is planted. In fact, it needs a rather large space in order to be able to better develop its own root system.
Despite enduring even unfavorable conditions, such as prolonged drought or very wet soils, styrax trees prefer slightly damp soils; It is therefore good to check that the soil around the plant does not dry too much, and if necessary intervene with not too abundant waterings.
It is good to supply fertilizer rich in nitrogen, at least 2-3 times a year, at the beginning of spring, at the end of spring and at the beginning of autumn; you can use mature organic fertilizer, or slow release granular fertilizer, which can supply the plant with all the necessary nourishment.
The styrax is a type of tree that adapts to any terrain, although it prefers moist, rich, loose and well-drained, very deep soils; the soil preferred by this type of plant is the one with a slightly acidic, well-drained and rich in organic substances.
The multiplication of this kind of tree, in general, occurs by seed or by cuttings; the cuttings are taken in spring or early autumn, and are rooted in a mixture of peat and sand in equal parts; the seeds are taken in autumn and stored for a few weeks in a damp and cool place, for example in the fridge in a plastic bag, before placing them on the ground, in a container.
Storace: Pests and diseases
Liquidambar trees are often affected by mining larvae and aphids. For this reason it is good to check with a certain regularity if you notice the presence of signs indicating the attack by the parasites, so that you can intervene in a timely and effective manner, with the use of specific products available on the market.