The Tree of the fog or Cotino is a shrub or small tree, with deciduous leaves, originating in Europe; the adult specimens can reach dimensions close to three meters in height. Its scientific name is Cotinus coggygria.
It has an erect, roundish habit with a densely branched and quite disordered foliage; the branches have greenish bark, which becomes gray with the passing of the years, quite smooth.
The leaves are oval, with a very long petiole, of a bright green color, but there are numerous cultivars with purple, brown or yellow leaves; in spring it produces large inflorescences consisting of small yellow flowers, which in summer give way to fruits, semi-woody drupes surrounded by a long pinkish down, which makes the infructescence similar to a thin and feathery cotton ball.
If you don't like the flower, very particular, but you prefer the leaves, you can prune the plant in the autumn at about 30-40 cm from the base, in this way the following year it won't bloom, but will produce numerous very colored leaves. C. obovatus is an American species of size close to 7-8 m in height, with green leaves.
The Tree of the fog or Cotino is a decorative shrub that needs positions in full sun, in well ventilated areas; it does not fear the cold, and bears without problems the torrid periods of July and August. The Cotinus coggygria is not affected by the cold climate, but when the temperatures drop considerably, it would be useful to protect the youngest plants, placing at the base of the straw or leaves, or of the mulch to make sure that the roots and the stem remain protected, given the greater sensitivity of these shrubs. For an ideal exposure it would be preferable to place the Cotino in an area where it can receive at least a few hours of sun a day, so as to guarantee the correct habitat.
The Cotinus coggygria should not be over-watered because it can be very much affected by the stagnation of water that may occur. From March to October water regularly, at least every week, letting the soil dry well between one watering and another; cotino easily withstands short periods of drought. In winter suspend watering. If the fog tree is grown in pots then it has some different needs; it will be necessary to provide for more irrigation since the land at its disposal will be smaller and it will not be able to benefit from the humidity present in the ground.
In autumn, provide a little slow release granular fertilizer, without exceeding: too rich soils and excess fertilization cause the leaves to turn off and fade.
The tree of the fog prefers deep, very well drained, not too rich soils; however it develops without any problem in any terrain. When planting it, do not forget to mix the soil with river sand to increase drainage, so as to avoid dangerous stagnation of water. At the end of the winter it is advisable to add to the soil a good organic fertilizer that will guarantee vigorous flowering. In the spring period it will then be possible to fertilize periodically.
This plant can be propagated in spring, sowing the seeds of the previous year, possibly in a container; wanting in spring and autumn you can take semi-woody cuttings, which must be rooted in a mixture of sand and peat in equal parts.
Mist tree, Cotino - Cotinus coggygria: Pests and diseases
Hardly the cotinus it is attacked by pests or diseases, although it may happen that the aphids ruin the new shoots. With the arrival of spring, before the development of the shoots it would be advisable to intervene with a broad-spectrum insecticide treatment that prevents the possible attacks of the parasites and also with an intervention with fungicidal substances that contrast the effects that can be caused by the presence of fungi that they develop when there is a lot of humidity.