Pine trees

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Pines (Pinus) are true survivors: they grow on dunes, acid peat soils and rock crevices. Even at the Arctic Circle or in the Alps at 2,500 meters altitude, they can cope. They would also thrive on a nutritious, good soil, but here pines have too much competition from other trees that dispute their light. Therefore, they are found in nature in rather inhospitable locations.

Of the more than one hundred species of pines that exist in the world, the forest pine (Pinus sylvestris), the pine tree (Pinus cembra) and the pine tree (Pinus mugo) are native to Germany. The forest pine develops in old age to a picturesque tree with umbrella-shaped crown. Because of its height of 40 meters, however, it is only suitable for parks and large gardens. In addition, it is one of the most important trees in this country for forestry. Even the pine tree pine grows very big at 20 meters. The mountain pine remains considerably more compact with a height of about six meters. From her there are also some compact varieties with flat, pillow-like or spherical growth. High garden value is also found in Asian pine species, such as the maiden pine (Pinus parviflora) and the tear pine (Pinus wallichiana).

Mountain pine Pinus mugo

Because of its low stature height, the mountain pine (Pinus mugo) is one of the best shrubs for front gardens and small plots

Appearance and growth

Pines, as already mentioned, may have very different growth forms depending on the species or variety. The bark of the branches is often yellow to red-brown, the gray-brown trunk bark separates into scales. The bark is also used as a by-product of forestry as a so-called bark mulch in horticulture. Since pine bark contains a lot of tannic acid, it suppresses weed growth very well.
An unerring distinguishing feature, however, are the needles, which can be long depending on the type of 4 to over 20 centimeters and whirling arranged on the branches. The shortest needles bear the mountain pine, the longest the North American yellow pine (Pinus ponderosa). Depending on the type of pine, the needles are mostly in pairs, with three or five on short, strongly compressed shoots. After about two years they are thrown off and replaced by new ones.
Pines are monoecious - that is, male and female flowers sit on a plant. The pollen is not transmitted by insects, but by the wind. On some spring days, usually in April or May, so much is released in the pinewood environment that it becomes visible as a pale yellow coating on car roofs and in puddles. Only in the year after the pollination mature the usually quite large, broad conic pine cones and fall from the tree. In the more or less heavily wooded shed are hundreds of winged seeds that can be transported by the wind for several kilometers.

pine cones

Typical of all pine species are their broad-conical cones in which the seeds are found

Location and ground

Most pines are extremely hardy, windproof and heat tolerant, but need a full sun. As far as the soil is concerned, however, the demands are not particularly high: Pines still grow well even on poor, moderately dry sandy soils. They are also very tolerant, as far as the pH is concerned, but tolerated with a few exceptions, no high salt concentrations in the soil.


Pines are usually offered in the garden center in the pot, larger specimens sometimes with earth bales. As far as planting is concerned, both variants are completely unproblematic. However, when using bales, the planting time is limited to the vegetation break from about September to early April, while you can plant potted plants throughout the year - even in midsummer, if you supply the new pine well with water in the first few weeks.
A special soil preparation is also not necessary - only very heavy, compacted soil to loosen deep and mix with sand or humus. Always secure larger pine trees with a tree pole that has been turned diagonally opposite the main wind direction, so that they can not be blown over during the growth phase.

care Tips

All the pines are extremely easy to care for after rooting and frugal. They manage without fertilizer and additional irrigation. However, composting in spring can speed up the growth of younger plants. If you live close to the forest, you should protect the trunks of some species such as the Weymouth pine with narrow wire mesh or plastic wild cuffs, as they are bite-endangered.

To cut

Pines can not stand a strong pruning, because older, unadorned branches do not drive out again after shortening.Problem-free and at any time, however, is the so-called Aufasten, so removing the lower branches directly on the trunk.

Ball pine 'Pierrick Brégeon' (Pinus nigra)

Dwarf varieties such as the ball pine 'Pierrick Brégeon' (Pinus nigra) are also ideal for the tub culture

Dwarf shapes remain compact when the new shoots are broken out regularly. Especially with garden bonsai, this care measure is important. In Asia, the shape-cutting of pine trees has been a tradition for centuries. The idea of ​​bonsai is to imitate the picturesque growth of giant old trees in miniature format. With a lot of manual work you can form small species by bending their branches and cutting the green like a pillow. In order to maintain the shape, the new shoots of the garden bonsai must be removed regularly. In May, when the so-called candles are still soft, they can easily be broken out by hand.

Hibernation or winter protection

The native pine species are completely frost hardy. In southern Germany, however, one increasingly sees in the gardens the pine trees (Pinus pinea) originating from the Mediterranean. They only grow outdoors in very winter-mild regions and must also be well protected from frost damage there. As long as the trees are still small, one should wrap the crowns in winter fleece, mulching the tree disks thickly with autumn leaves and wrapping the trunks with jute.
A somewhat protected location also needs the tears pine. As a precaution, wrap young plants in fleece during the first few winters in draughty locations and mulch tree leaves with foliage.


Pine big bonsai

Big bonsai-pulled pines are not only an eye-catcher in Asian-designed gardens

While dwarf forms such as 'mini pug' or 'humpy' (both Pinus mugo) find their place in the perennial border or rock garden, a mountain pine with a height of six meters requires considerably more space. The evergreen trees can be combined well with heather herbs. The native forest pine is the ideal shade for rhododendrons. It has a very tolerant root system, provides the evergreen trees clear shade and ensures with its acidic needle bedding that the pH value in the soil remains low. Pines with an expressive growth habit such as the Blue Pine (Pinus parviflora 'Glauca') are also doing well in individual positions. As so-called big bonsai or garden bonsai different types are offered - they also need a box seat in the front yard.
Low growing pincushion and ball pines are also very suitable for the tub culture. They grow slowly and are relatively drought resistant - so you may even forget the casting for once.

Beautiful species and varieties for the garden

Growth forms of the pine

Growth forms of the pine

1) The Pine Forest Pine (Pinus sylvestris 'Fastigiata') is a slender garden form of native wild species. It grows up to 10 meters tall but rarely wider than 1.5 meters.
2) The Tear Pine (Pinus wallichiana) is somewhat delicate and only suitable for mild regions and not too dry soil. She is especially beautiful: she has bluish, drooping needles and grows only cone-shaped and umbrella-shaped in old age. It gets its name from the large resin drops hanging from the cones. The variety 'Densa Hill' grows up to 7 meters high and 3 meters wide.
3) The Japanese red pine (Pinus densiflora) also fits in small gardens, because it grows slowly and is only about 4 feet high and wide. It develops into an attractive, often multi-stemmed tree with a broad crown.
4) The dwarf creeping pine (Pinus pumila 'Nana') is a broad garden variety with a closed crown and thin, blue-green needles. It grows slowly and becomes about 1.5 meters high and wide.
5) Dwarf mountain pine 'Humpy' (Pinus mugo) is one of the smallest pines with a height of one meter only. She is very frugal, extremely hardy and has remarkably short, yellow-green needles.


The wild species of the pines can be relatively easily increased by sowing. In order to harvest the seeds, the cones of most species must be picked between September and October, just before the scales open. The fallen cones usually contain hardly any seeds. In the coming March / April you can sow the seeds directly in the field. Attention: The seeds of some species, such as the maiden pine or the dwarf pine, must be stratified before sowing.
The garden forms are mainly propagated by refinement. To do this, in late summer, peel off a flat, flat bark of canned beef and the potted seedling and place the rice sideways against the surface so that the two slices, which are as flat as possible, are approximately congruent. This method is called lateral plate attachment. The finishing is usually connected only with a rubber band and not spread with tree wax. After refining, the plants must be further cultivated in the greenhouse. When the finings have grown and the oysters vigorously drive out, the pad above the finishing station is cut off. In the first winter, the young plants must be overwintered frost-free, in spring they can be transplanted to the field.
Cuttings propagation is possible with some low-growing varieties of mountain pine. However, it is quite complex and usually succeeds only in a greenhouse with floor heating and spray mist system. In addition, the lower end of the drive must be treated with special rooting hormones that are not available to hobby gardeners.

Diseases and pests

Pines can cause a variety of fungal diseases, including tuberculosis, dying and pine rust. The different species are differently susceptible. The so-called pine dump, a sudden dropping of the needles, can have both fungal and physiological causes. In particular, at the local forest pine also occur on various pests, including leaf bugs, spider mites and various butterfly caterpillars. However, they usually do not cause major damage.

Video Board: gabriel black - pine trees.

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