Pinus lambertiana, also called sugar pine, is the tallest and tallest pine of all, native to the west coast of the United States where it reaches heights of 40 to 60 meters or exceptionally even 85, with a diameter of trunk from 1.5 to 2.5 meters. It has a conical crown that rounds or flattens over time, given by horizontal main branches and ascending secondary branches. The bark is cinnamon in color. The needles are grouped in bundles of five elements, 6-11 cm long, which persist on the plant for 2-4 years. They are sharp, stiff, slightly twisted needles of blue-green color with tight edges and a pointed apex. Flowering occurs from May to June with yellow, cylindrical male cones 15 mm long and female cones which, after fertilization, take two years to mature (process completion in October) and become resinous, yellow-brown, cylindrical pendent and symmetrical, up to 50 cm. long. Once released, the winged seeds fall from the plant. The root system, especially on windy sites, is of the taproot type, and the growth is quite vigorous at first (one meter per year).
Climate and terrain
In its natural environment, Pinus lambertiana lives at variable altitudes depending on the latitude, between 300 and 3,200 meters above sea level, generally in mixed coniferous forests in mountainous environments. It requires soil with a medium fine texture, not very heavy, well drained, even poor from a nutritional point of view but with a neutral or acid pH. It cannot grow in shade or maritime exposures, it tolerates drought when well established and developed.
Pinus lambertiana: planting and cultivation techniques
Pinus Lambertiana is propagated by seed either directly in the fall when the seeds are harvested, or at the end of winter, in individual containers to avoid the stress of transplanting the seedlings. If necessary, cold stratification at 4°C for 6 weeks can be carried out to increase the percentage of seed germination. The plant should be planted as soon as possible, taking care only to protect the plant during its first two winters outdoors and to maintain a mulch that inhibits the proliferation of weeds in the immediate vicinity. It does not tolerate transplants very well, as they disrupt the root system and compromise the stability of the tree in the face of strong winds. You can possibly try propagating the plant by cuttings using a single set of needles taken from plants less than ten years old, but growth is very slow. As in other pines, the secretion which inhibits the germination of seeds which, dragged by their needles, fall to the ground, hinders the proliferation of grass under their foliage.