Scots pine – Tips for my orchard



Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) is an evergreen conifer belonging to the Pinaceae family that can reach a height of 20 to 40 m and a trunk diameter of one meter. The initially pyramidal crown becomes oval or flattens over time depending on the space available around the plant. The ramification is generally very regular, whorled as far as the main branches are concerned. The trunk has a deep, longitudinal groove in the lower part, in the upper part it flakes in scales with a characteristic color between ocher and orange and in wooded conditions it remains free of branches and foliage in the lower two-thirds. The stiff needles are 3-10 cm long, twisted in course, with different stomatal bands, both continuous and discontinuous, and persist on the plant for 3-7 years. Flowering occurs between May and June with pinkish yellow male microsporophylls about 6 mm long and female macrosporophylls about 1 cm long. Fertilized cones are first green, then gray-brown, sometimes curved, up to 8 cm long, conical, mature in two years, dispersing the seeds between the end of the following winter and the beginning of spring. Very dark seeds, about half a centimeter long, have a long wing. The root system is always taprooted at first, then it can become shallower with sturdy shallow roots or continue to deepen over the years, it all depends on the type of soil you live in. Quite hardy, it grows quickly in optimal conditions (up to one meter per year in the first years, then when it reaches about 18 meters it starts to slow down).

scots pine 2″>Climate and terrain

Scots pine is naturalized in the north of our peninsula, in Piedmont, Valle d’Aosta, Lombardy, Veneto, Friuli, Trentino, Liguria and Emilia-Romagna, between 100 and 1800 meters above sea level. altitude. Heliophile, it settles on the southern slopes in an open environment, even degraded, behaving like a pioneer species. It forms pure woods or is associated with larches, red pines and black pines, or with junipers, downy oaks or can be present in broom and citiso bushes. It grows best in light, sandy soils that are very well drained and have a weakly acidic pH (not too much, otherwise it becomes chlorotic) in full sun or maximum light shade. Too heavy soils can considerably shorten its lifespan, and wet soils considerably slow down its otherwise fairly rapid growth. after all, it adapts quite well to sub-optimal substrate conditions. Tolerates marine exposure, high winds, air pollution and even drought when well established.

Scots pine propagates by seed immediately after harvest or at the end of winter, in individual jars to avoid transplanting. Containers should be exposed to light as light is essential for germination. Sowing can be done in a few years, taking care to provide a mulch to avoid competition between young Pinus sylvestris and weeds and to protect the plant from the cold for at least the first two winters. Transplanting should be avoided as much as possible, especially for plants taller than 90 cm, under penalty of stunted growth and less resistance to winds. The best results are obtained with plantings of seedlings 5 ​​to 10 cm high. It is possible to attempt vegetative propagation although normally growth from cuttings tends to be quite slow. As in many other pines, the needles of Scots pine also produce substances that inhibit the germination of seeds which, washed away by rain, fall to the ground, making it difficult for plants to take root under their foliage. This fact, combined with the shedding of needles which acidifies the surrounding soil, often makes it advisable to grow shady, acid-loving plants (such as azaleas, hydrangeas, hostas, small Japanese maples), rather than working hard to grow. root in the lawn. (not impossible though). Scots pine is suitable as a single specimen, in groups, with other conifers or hardwoods. Can be pruned into topiary and flanked by boxwood or cypress in formal gardens. Less drastic pruning, but however judiciously they are executed to arrange their foliage, they may make it fit to form part of Oriental gardens. Or it can be left to grow freely as it pleases, in natural gardens where it will attract wildlife. It is also possible to grow it in pots or reduce it to bonsai (the last two uses from well-selected varieties). In all these cases, Scots pine will prove itself.

pests and diseases

We highlight Thaumetopoea pityocampa, Cryptocephalus pini, Rhyacionia buoliana, aphids of the genus Cinara, and also rust and not bark, and redness caused by Lophodermium.

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