Pinus radiata (Monterey Pine)
The Monterrey Pine. Big and bright green and fluffy and evocative of sea side holidays in Cornwall. It’s native to Point Lobos (near Monterrey) south of San Francisco where it gets quite a hammering from the wind and seems to grow in solid rock. They really seem to prefer life in Britain where – given ideal conditions – they can grow 5ft a year quite easily. Apparently there are parts of New Zealand where it’s been known to grow 10ft in a year.
Apart from being hardy and fluffy and fast growing (50ft in 25 years is not unreasonable), it’s extraordinarily salt resistant (several pines are but not all), hence all the sea side references.
They need masses of light and reasonably well drained soil and the larger specimens we grow are good for inland gardens but if you want to grow this right by the sea, you must plant them as seedlings (as small as possible) in order to get a good start to what is a difficult environment.
Grown by us from seed
N.B. When clipping several plants with the same tool, have a bucket containing a 5% bleach solution and swish your blades around for 30 seconds between plants to sterilise them. This will help avoid the chance of cross contamination of disease.
As with all woody plants, plant high, exposing as much of the taper at the base of the trunk as possible. Allowing soil to accumulate round the base of a tree can be fatal. Keep very well watered when first planted.
Hardiness level Green