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Pinus sylvestris (Scots Pine)

With its glaucous (bluey grey) needles (leaves), it’s sculptural shape (when mature) and the orangey bark near the top, this is one of the most instantly recognisable trees in the world and we’re lucky enough to call it native. It’s widespread throughout Europe and Western Asia but it is native to parts of Scotland.

As with virtually all conifers, it starts life as an unremarkable cone shaped Christmas tree but as it matures, it loses its lower branches and can form the most outstandingly beautiful shapes and if it’s growing alone and the evening, light catches the orange bark near its summit. One could be excused for gawping in wonder, dribbling slightly and uttering incoherent whining noises as you revel in the sight of this wonder of nature. All pines do this mature/shape thing but somehow the Scots Pine does it best.

Its native habitat is vast and as in all such cases, it’s genetically variable. Various dwarf forms are available and are given to the development of Niwaki, Multi-Stemmed Blobs and other such horticultural delights.

The normal tree can take 40 years (at least) to reach 35ft when it might begin to take on some character. It’s a common timber tree and – of course – when grown as such will be in closely grown stands, straight as an arrow and will not take on the character displayed when grown as a single specimen.

They’re found growing close to the arctic circle in Siberia and therefore their frost hardiness in Britain is beyond dispute.

Propagated by 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 traffic light green

Hardiness level Green

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Hardy anywhere in Britain below approximately 1000ft (300m)

This is only meant as a guide. Please remember we're always on hand to give advice about plants and their frost hardiness.

Please remember that these coloured labels are only a rough guide.

General Point about Plant Hardiness: The commonly held belief that it's better to 'plant small' is perfectly true with herbaceous plants, but not necessarily true with woody plants. They need some 'wood' on them to survive severe cold - so plants of marginal hardiness in very cold areas should really be planted LARGER, rather than smaller, wherever possible.