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PINUS


How to Grow Pines


DRAINAGE Well-drained soil is crucial to a pine’s good health. In nature, many grow on rocky slopes or sandy bar- rens, where drainage is very fast. Symptoms of poor drain- age or excessive moisture are yellowing needles (seen fi rst in older growth) and gen- erally unhealthy appearance. Most pines are quite drought- tolerant; exceptions are noted in the text.


MULCHING Pines benefi t from a thick layer of mulch to protect their shallow roots. Spread 2–3 in. of organic mulch beneath trees, but keep it 6 in. away from the trunk.


PRUNING All pines can be shaped, and often improved, by some pruning. To fatten up a rangy pine or to keep a young one chubby, cut back the spires of new growth (the candles) when they begin to emerge in spring. Cutting back partway will promote


P


P. muricata. BISHOP PINE. Zones 5, 14–17, 22–44. From northern coastal California, Santa Cruz Island, and north- western Baja California. Rapid grower to 40–75 ft. tall, 20– 40 ft. wide. Open and pyramidal form in youth, dense and rounded in middle life, and irregular in old age. Needles are dark green, 4–6 in. long, and held in groups of two. Brown, broadly oval cones are 2–3 in. long, lopsided, and held in whorls of three to fi ve. Slower growing, denser in youth, and better mannered than P. radiata, another pine native to Califor- nia. Tolerates salt air. First-rate windbreak tree. P. nigra. AUSTRIAN PINE. Zones A3; 2–10, 14–21. From Europe and western Asia. Slow to moderate growth to 40–60 ft. tall and half as wide. A dense, stout, pyramidal tree with a uni- form crown. Branches grow in regular whorls. In old age, this tree is broad and fl at topped. Stiff, very dark green needles, 3–61⁄2 in. long, are held in groups of two. Brown cones are


bushiness and allow some overall increase in size; cut- ting out candles entirely will limit size without distorting the natural shape. You can remove unwanted limbs to accent a pine’s branching pat- tern—but remember that a new one won’t sprout to take its place. In time, lower limbs of most pines will die natu- rally; when this happens, cut them off.


CHALLENGES Pines are vul- nerable to air pollution, which causes abnormal needle drop and poor growth, and may even kill trees. They are also subject to a number of dis- eases and pests, but healthy, well-grown plants will usually maintain their vigor with com- paratively little attention. Contact your Cooperative Extension Offi ce for advice concerning each species’ adaptability to your area and any local environmental or pest problems.


2–31⁄2 in. long. Tree of strong character for landscape decora- tion or as windbreak in cold regions. Tolerates urban envi- ronments and seacoast condi- tions; thrives in sandy soils. Resistant to oak root fungus. Regular water. ‘Arnold Sentinel’, to 20–30 ft. tall and just 6–8 ft. wide, makes a fi ne vertical accent. ‘Brepo’ is dense and nearly spherical at 3 ft. high, 4 ft. wide; good choice for con- tainers. ‘Oregon Green’ reaches 20 ft. tall, 15 ft. wide, with an open, sculptural form. P. parvifl ora. JAPANESE


WHITE PINE. Zones 2–9, 14–24. From Japan and Taiwan. Slow to moderate grower to 20–50 ft. tall and wide or larger. In youth, a dense pyramid; with age, wide spreading and fl at topped. Nee- dles are 11⁄2–21⁄2 in. long, bluish green, and held in groups of fi ve. Reddish brown cones are 2–3 in. long. Widely used and popular as bonsai subject, con- tainer tree. Grows well in the Seattle area and in Northern California. ‘Bergman’ has thin blue-green needles and an


upright habit; grows 6 ft. tall, 4 ft. wide, in 10 years. ‘Glauca Brevifolia’ has short blue-green needles and persistent dark cones; upright and broad, it grows to an eventual 40 ft. tall and wide. Many other blue-gray and dwarf forms are available. Regular water. P. pinea. ITALIAN STONE PINE. Zones 8, 9, 11–24; H1. From southern Europe and Tur- key. Moderate growth to 40– 80 ft. tall and 40–60 ft. wide. In youth, grows as a stout, bushy globe; in middle life, develops a thick trunk topped with an “umbrella” of many branches. In maturity, tree is broad and fl at topped. Stiff nee- dles are bright green to gray- green, 5–8 in. long, and held in groups of two. Cones are 4– 6 in. long and glossy chestnut brown. Excellent pine for beach gardens; also tolerates heat. Eventually too large for small gardens. This is the pine depicted in Renaissance paint- ings; also a source of edible seeds (pine nuts). P. ponderosa. PONDEROSA


PINE, WESTERN YELLOW PINE. Zones 1–10, 14–21; H1. Native from British Columbia to Mexico and east to Nebraska, Texas, and northeast Oklahoma. Mod- erate to fast grower, reaching 50–100 ft. tall and 25–30 ft. wide. In youth, straight trunked and well branched. Yellow-green to dark green needles are held in groups of three. Cones are oval, light brown to red-brown. Important lumber tree. Hand- some orange-brown bark. Use- ful for groves and shelter belt; also good for bonsai or contain- ers. Doesn’t take desert heat and wind. P. radiata. MONTEREY PINE. Zones 14–24; H1. From central coast of California. Very fast growth to 80–100 ft. tall, 25–35 ft. wide. Puts on 6 ft. a year when young; reaches 50 ft. in 12 years. Shapely, broad cone in youth, then drops its lower branches to develop rounded or fl attish crown. Bright green needles are held in groups of two or three. Oval, light brown cones are held in clusters that persist on the branches. Often shallow rooted, subject to blowing over in wind. Even in ideal climate, suffers many pests and diseases


(including pitch canker) that make it a poor risk. Try to keep established plants healthy with occasional deep watering and feeding. P. strobus. WHITE PINE, EASTERN WHITE PINE. Zones 1–6. Slow in seedling stage, then fast to 50–80 ft. tall (or taller), 20–40 ft. wide. Forms a symmetrical pyramid, with horizontal branches in regular whorls. Becomes broad, open, and irregular with age. Fine- textured, handsome tree. Blue- green needles are soft, 3– 51⁄2 in. long, held in groups of fi ve. Light brown cones reach 3–8 in. long. Intolerant of strong winds. Needs regular water and excellent drainage. ‘Contorta’ has twisted branches and needles. ‘Angel Falls’ and ‘Pendula’ have weeping, trailing branches. ‘Niagara Falls’ is also weeping, but with a very broad, cascading habit.


Plants in the Nana group are broad shrubs, growing slowly to 3–7 ft. tall, 6–12 ft. wide. Use- ful in rock gardens or contain- ers, though plants sold under this name have been known to grow into small trees. ‘Blue Shag’ is a blue-needled form. P. sylvestris. SCOTCH PINE. Zones A1–A3; 1–9, 14– 21. From northern Europe, west- ern Asia, northeastern Siberia. Grows fast at fi rst, then moder- ately to 30–70 ft. (possibly to 100 ft.) tall and 25–30 ft. wide. Forms a narrow, well-branched pyramid when young. With age, becomes irregular, open, and picturesque, with drooping branches. Stiff, 11⁄2–3 in. long, blue-green needles often turn yellow-green in winter. Cones to 2 in. long are gray to reddish brown. Popular as a Christmas tree and in gardens. Showy red bark, sparse foliage in maturity.


Female pinecones take 2 or 3 years to ripen, after which they release their (usually winged) seeds. Male pine- cones are smaller, yellow, and


clustered together at the shoot bases.


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