Scotch Pine (Pinus sylvestris)
The Scotch or Scot Pine is a lovely pine widely used throughout North America as a landscape pine and as a commercially grown Christmas tree. It is notable for its beautiful bluish-green or yellowish-green foliage. It is an extremely hardy species that can be successfully grown in even poor soils.
This pine has a crooked or twisted trunk that may split into several widely divergent branches at maturity, thus forming a picturesque crown of gnarled branches. Frequently leaning with age, it may grow to 50 feet tall by 30 feet wide when found in the open, with a medium growth rate in youth and slow growth rate with age. Its shape is more or less upright pyramidal when young, but quickly becomes irregular and contorted, as if twisted by the wind. . Upper trunk and the wood of the branches are an attractive coppery orange in color. The needles are variable in length, ranging from slightly over 1-inch for some varieties to nearly 3-inches for others. They range in color from bluish-green to medium green to yellow-green, and occur in bundles of two. The most distinguishing trait of these needles is their twisted shape and bluish color. Needles generally remain on the tree from two to four years. The small cones that mature in their second year do not have prickles on the backside of their scales.
As a Christmas tree Scotch Pine is one the most commonly used species in the United States. It is known for its dark green foliage and stiff branches which are well suited for decorating with both light and heavy Christmas ornaments. It has excellent needle retention characteristics and holds up well throughout harvest, shipping and display. When displayed in a water-filled container it will remain fresh for the normal 3 to 4 week Christmas season.
Scotch Pine Choices
Watereri is steel-blue in color that is slower growing and densely pyramidal to flat topped. Albyn Prostrata is a prostrate plant suitable for use as a ground cover. Aurea has foliage that is yellowish-green in summer becoming yellow in winter. Beacon Hill is a dwarf cultivar. Bennett Compact is a dwarf with thick, bluish needles. Beauvronensis has a miniature form that forms a wide, compact dome. Bonna displays fast growth and bluish needles. Compressa is a dwarf, upright cultivar. Contorta has a trunk and branches that are twisted. Doone Valley is a cone-shaped dwarf that has bluish foliage. 'Fastigiata' has a narrow, columnar form with blue green, twisted foliage. There are many more cultivars of Scotch Pine from which to choose.