Care of Pine Trees in the Desert

Overview

Pine trees that flourish in desert conditions are used in xeriscaping (desert landscaping). Use of dwarf pine tree varieties can drastically cut down on the trees' need for abundant water in a desert landscape. But tall pine trees do not require as much water as many deciduous trees. The Italian stone pine (Pinus pinea), ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), single-leaf pinon (Pinus monophylla) and bristlecone pine (Pinus aristata) all grow well in desert conditions where temperatures can dramatically dip at night.

Step 1

Plant pine trees beside a pond in a desert setting to reduce the need for ongoing water for the young trees. Ponds require far less water to maintain then simply watering the young trees. Pine trees, especially dwarf pine trees grow well beside small bodies of water.

Step 2

Mulch heavily around pine trees using 5 or 6 inches of a mulch such as granite chips, bark chips or shredded wood. Spreading mulch under the pine trees will help the soil conserve water and there will be less water evaporation during the day. Mulch will also offer night time cold protection to young pine tree roots. Granite and rock mulches actually help cool the soil in extreme heat to help the trees roots maintain a cooler soil environment.

Step 3

Dispose of dry foliage at the base of large pine trees. Dry plant and shrub life under pine trees in a desert setting can easily lead to a forest fire. The dry undergrowth can quickly catch fire and the pine tree will ignite. Dry plants and shrubs should never be allowed to stay under a pine tree due to the increased risk of fire.

Step 4

Water desert trees at a depth of at least3 feet for a large pine tree. Newly planted pine trees need to be watered once per week but older established pine trees can be watered every two weeks. Newly planted pine trees should be watered at least 12 inches deep. A simple water probe can be purchased at a garden supply store to determine the amount of water the tree is receiving.

Step 5

Erect a sunscreen to protect young pine trees in a desert setting. Simply propping up plywood boards on the west side of the tree can afford afternoon shade. Planting the trees by a house or building can also offer afternoon shade.

Step 6

Protect young desert pine seedling trees from deer by wrapping the small seedlings in chicken wire to keep the deer from consuming the trees. Tiny seedlings can also be grown inside of plastic PVC tubes to keep rabbits from consuming them. Drill holes into the PVC pipe to allow light to reach the seedlings. Make sure the seedling will easily slip inside of the PVC pipe.

Things You'll Need

  • Mulch
  • Water probe
  • Plywood
  • Chicken wire
  • Large PVC pipe
  • Drill

References

  • Lovett Pinetum: Tips on Planting and Maintenance of Pine Trees
  • The Desert Garden: Italian Stone Pine
  • Southern California Public Radio: Ponderosa Pines

Who Can Help

  • Backyard Landscaping Ideas: Backyard Fish Ponds
Keywords: desert pine trees, growing trees in the desert, desert pine tree care, desert landscaping with pine trees