Trees

Pine (Pinus)

The pine is one of the most conifers that can be found in the northern hemisphere. Normally, it grows as a tree and can exceed ten meters, although there are some species that remain as shrubs.

Although today its roots are known to be quite invasive, it is still a much loved plant in gardens. So if you are thinking of planting one, do not hesitate to continue reading .

Origin

Pinus radiata – Image – Flickr/ minicooper93402

The pine is an evergreen conifer (it loses its needles -leaves- little by little as the days go by) native to the Northern Hemisphere, with the exception of Pinus merkusii or Sumatran pine which, as its name suggests, lives in the Sumatra island.

The genus, Pinus, is made up of 110 species distributed throughout North America including Mexico, Eurasia including the Canary Islands, eastern Russia, eastern Siberia, the Philippines, Norway, and Southeast Asia. Many have been introduced in the temperate and subtropical regions of the Southern Hemisphere, such as Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Australia or Ecuador.

Evolutionary history

It is one of the most primitive types of plants that exist, since it appeared during the Carboniferous period, about 300 million years ago, and it is one of the few plants that are included in the division of gymnosperms, that is, they produce “naked” seeds, without protection. It is considered that about 65 million years ago, during the Tertiary era, many current species already existed.

In the past, it was the Tree (like that, capitalized ) par excellence. Flowering plants, angiosperms, did not appear until 140 million years ago, so if we take into account the pine was very successful for 260 million years. In fact, it was able to colonize the forests of the temperate regions of what is now Europe and Asia, between 50 to 70 degrees north latitude, with ease.

But that popularity would not last forever, and when flowering plants began their evolution, the territory that had been occupied by conifers, and therefore pines, began to shrink.

And it is that although the pine is a very resistant plant, its germination rate and its growth rate cannot be compared to those of angiosperms: while the seeds of the former can take up to 1 year to germinate, that of trees with flower they can germinate in 2-3 weeks (with a few exceptions). Also, conifers are generally slow, while flowering trees… well, they’re not that slow .

characteristics

Pinus canariensis – Image – Wikimedia/ Victor R. Ruiz from Arinaga, Canary Islands, Spain

The pine is a conifer with a crown that can be pyramidal or rounded, especially when young, and wide when adult. The leaves, called needles, are linear, green in color. The cones are generally elongated, scaly, and contain winged seeds. It can reach a height between 3 and 60 meters.

Main species

  • Pinus canariensis: it is the Canary Island pine. As its name indicates, it is endemic to the Canary Islands, and is considered by the Government of the region as a natural symbol of the island of La Palma. It can reach 60 meters in height, with a trunk diameter of 3m. It has a parasol shape when it is adult, and pyramidal when it is young.
    It is used for its wood, but also as an ornamental for its beauty and its resistance to fire.
  • Pinus halepensis: it is the Aleppo pine. It is native to the Mediterranean region, and reaches a height of up to 25m. Its trunk does not usually grow straight, which gives it a somewhat wild appearance.
    It is one of those that best resists aridity and high temperatures, hence it is used for the conservation of soils vulnerable to erosion. Its wood is also used to make boxes.
  • Pinus sylvestris: it is the Scots pine or Scots pine. It is native to Eurasia and can reach 30 meters in height. Its most notable feature is the red or russet color of its bark, which gives it a very unique appearance. Its trunk is straight, and its adult crown is irregular and wide.
    It is used for paper, for construction in general and as a medicinal product due to its antiseptic, diuretic, antiviral, antipyretic, immunostimulating and expectorant properties.
  • Pinus nigra: it is the black pine, also known as black pine or black pine. It grows from southern Europe, from Spain to the Crimea, also in Asia Minor, Cyprus and locally in the Atlas Mountains (Africa). It grows to a height between 20 and 55 meters, with a more or less straight trunk with brownish-gray or dark gray bark.
    It is used as an ornamental, as it resists drought well.

What are their cares?

Pinus contorta – Image -Wikimedia/ Walter Siegmund

If you want to have a copy, we recommend you provide the following care:

Location

Being a plant that is normally large and also has invasive roots, it must be planted outdoors, at a distance of about ten meters from pipes, floors, walls, etc. It is important that it is in full sun, otherwise it will not grow well.

Earth

It will depend on the species, but in principle if the land is fertile and has good drainage there will be no problems.

Irrigation

Moderated. About 2 times a week in summer, and every 6-7 days the rest of the year.

Subscriber

It is not necessary, although if you want you can add it from time to time – every 15 days, for example – worm castings or cow manure.

Pruning

It is not recommended. Pine is a plant that takes its final shape as it grows. It does not need pruning, unless it has branches that obstruct the passage, in which case you can remove them in late winter.

Multiplication

It multiplies by seeds in spring. The way to proceed is as follows:

  1. First, a forest seedling tray is filled with universal growing medium.
  2. Then, it is watered thoroughly and copper or sulfur is sprinkled to prevent the appearance of fungi.
  3. Next, the seeds are sown, putting a maximum of two in each socket.
  4. Then they are covered with a thin layer of substrate and watered again, this time with a sprayer.
  5. Finally, the seedbed is placed outside, in semi-shade or in full sun.

They will germinate in 1-2 months.

Plagues and diseases

It is very resistant, both to pests and diseases. However, there are some species, such as Pinus halepensis, which is especially vulnerable to the pine processionary. Although you don’t have to worry: with Bacillus thuriengensis  (for sale No products found. ) You can fight it well.

Also, if it is watered excessively, the fungi will harm it. To avoid this, you have to control the risks and, if you are interested in maximum prevention, treat it with copper or sulfur in spring and autumn.

Rusticity

It will depend on the species, but most resist up to -18ºC without problems. If you have doubts with any specific one, contact us .

What uses does it have?

Pinus flexilis – Image – Wikimedia/ Doug

Ornamental

Pine is a very decorative plant, used as an isolated specimen or in groups. There are many species that fight and/ or prevent soil erosion, and others that also resist drought and pollution.

As if that were not enough, it can be worked as a bonsai. If you need more information about it, click here.

Medicinal

As we mentioned when we saw the main species, some have very interesting medicinal properties, such as Scots pine. But beware, before starting any treatment you have to consult a doctor.

Wood

Pine wood is highly valued for making furniture.

What did you think of the pine?

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