- How to Trim Pine Trees
- Pine Trees of Rome
- How to Neutralize Soil Under Pine Trees
- How to Trim Pine Shrubs
- How to Do Shade Gardening Under Pine Trees
- What Type of Pine Trees Grow in Georgia?
- What Fertilizer Is Best for Pine Trees?
- How to Plant Near Pine Trees
- How to Use Pine Needles
- What Are Baby Pine Trees Called?
- How to Prune Japanese Pine Trees
- Do Pine Trees Have a Taproot?
- How to Prune Pine Trees
- How to Grow Bosnian Pines
- Field Guide for Pine Tree Identification
- How to Compost Pine Needles
- How to Prune Longleaf Pine
- Where Did Pine Trees Originate?
- How to Prune Red Pine
- Pine Tree Trimming Tips
- The Best Mulch Around Pine Trees
- Allelopathy in Pine Trees
- How to Pick Princess Pine
- How to Grow Pine Trees for Timber
- How to Grow Lodgepole Pine Trees
- Things to Do With Pine Needles
- Why Do Pine Trees Not Lose Their Leaves?
Pine trees thrive throughout the United States. Some species of pine trees grow exclusively in the northern parts of the United States, while others need the warmer temperatures of the southern United States. Neglect or improper treatment of pine trees causes them to become unsightly and sickly. While pine trees normally do not need pruning, trim pine trees occasionally as part of a regular tree maintenance program.
Prune off all dead, diseased and damaged limbs with your pruning saw. These limbs are of no benefit to the tree any longer and can cause damage to the tree and nearby structures.
Prune the new central leader, or "candle" of the pine tree with your pruning shears. The central leader is the vertical branch that grows straight up off the top of the pine tree. Cut it back to a 8- to 14-inch long stub.
Prune the side branches around the central leader. These should be pruned 4 to 6 inches shorter than the central leader.
Prune down the rest of the pine tree. Each branch should be pruned longer than the one above it to form a uniform pyramid shape in the pine tree.
Italian Stone Pine
The Italian stone pine, or umbrella pine, with its broad, domed crown and tall, bare trunk has become part of the Mediterranean landscape, according to “Trees,” by Colin Ridsdale, John White and Carol Usher. The tree can reach a height of 80 feet, and its bark is pale brown, which cracks into long, flat plates that run vertically down the trunk. The needles are attached to the branches in pairs and the pine cone is round with a flat base and contains edible pine nuts.
The maritime pine thrives in acidic and sandy soils, according to “Trees & Bushes of Europe,” by Oleg Polunin. The pine can reach a height of 130 feet, and its bark is purple-brown and smooth when young, becoming grooved in maturity. The needles are attached in pairs and the cones are oblong. The tree is harvested periodically for its resin by cuts made into the trunk.
The Aleppo pine is planted to help stabilize sandy soils in arid areas, according to “The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trees of the World,” by Tony Russell, Catherine Cutler and Martin Walters. The tree grows to a height of 65 feet and, on young trees, its bark is purple brown with orange grooves, and on older trees, the bark is red-brown with deeper orange grooves. The needles are clustered in pairs and the cones range in color from orange to red-brown.
Rake all needles, bark and any wood chips from around your tree, using the rake. Needles and wood add acid to the soil under the tree.
Run an aerator under the tree. The aerator should be set to a depth of 1 to 1 1/2 inches. Use care not to damage roots close to the surface. Use the aerator from the tree's drip line in; the drip line is where the tree's longest branches extend to.
Spread lime in the aerated area, using a lime spreader. Use 25 lbs. of lime per 1,000 square feet. A circle with a radius of 10 feet encloses an area of approximately 315 square feet.
Rake fallen pine needles so they do not add new acid to the soil.
Add approximately 25 lbs. of lime per 1,000 square feet each spring, using the lime spreader.
Look at the overall shape of the pine shrub and identify the areas you want to trim. You must keep pine shrubs small through annual pruning, beginning when the plant is a sapling. Left to themselves, pine shrubs will quickly become full-size trees.
Identify the new growth of candle-shaped greenery on the end of each branch. Using your fingers, pinch off half the new growth. This will force the new growth to remain close to the center of the shrub.
Cut off unwanted limbs close to the trunk of the shrub. Use a sharp, clean pruning saw for large branches; clip smaller branches with sturdy, sterile pruning shears.
Trim any branches on your pine tree that are low to the ground. Even shade and acid-loving plants require some headroom, unless you will only be growing ground covers.
Dig compost into the soil around the base of the pine tree. This will benefit both your new plants and your pine.
Plant azaleas, hostas, astilbe or ferns underneath the pine tree. All of these plants love shade and acid, and have foliage that will provide visual interest.
Plant shade-loving ground covers, such as English ivy, lily-of-the-valley, or periwinkle. Both lily-of-the-valley and periwinkle produce striking flowers.
Dig holes that are twice as deep and wide as the root balls of the transplants as you plant them. This will give the roots room to establish themselves and grow healthy.
Pine trees are evergreen, coniferous trees that belong to the family Pinaceae and the genus Pinus. They grow from 3 to over 100 feet tall and range in color from light to dark green.
Species of Pine Trees in Georgia
Ten species of pine trees grow throughout the state of Georgia, including the eastern white, loblolly, longleaf, pitch, pond, shortleaf, slash, spruce, table mountain and Virginia pines.
Pine trees vary in shape and size, but all species of pine have a roughly conical shape. The lower branches are broad and long, and the highest branches are thin and short, creating the almost triangular appearance. The bark is usually thick and rough; the leaves are generally needlelike to reduce water loss.
Pine trees are native to the Northern Hemisphere and prefer temperate climates with full sun. The simplistic design of the pine tree gives it the ability to retain water, allowing the pine to survive drought periods. Pines can be found in various habitats, ranging from marshy, swamplike regions through high mountainous regions.
Pine trees are hardy plants that have varied uses in the wild and for domestic purposes. In the wilderness they are a source of food for animals and humans alike. Domestically they are used in landscape gardening as well as being farmed for their quick growing wood for use in varied lumber industries.
Feed newly planted pines with slow-release 10-10-10 fertilizer. Once they are established, feed pine trees with 2 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer for each inch of trunk diameter.
Rake away the needles and debris under the tree. This will expose the soil so that you can treat it before planting, and give your plants a head start before the needles start to decompose and make the soil even more acidic.
Spread a layer of lime underneath the pine tree. You can spread it with a rake. If possible, wait for a week or two after treating the soil before you plant.
Determine the shade-loving plants you will grow under the pine tree. You can use azaleas, hostas, ferns or periwinkle. Ivy is also a good ground cover underneath pine trees.
Dig a hole in the ground and pour a layer of potting soil into the bottom of the hole.
Place the plant in the hole, then fill in the sides of the hole with potting soil as well. This will give your plant a good start in the somewhat hostile soil environment and should enable it to take root in a healthy manner.
Put on a pair of garden gloves to protect your hands. Pine needles can be sharp, and they may poke you if you are not covered.
Collect your fallen pine needles and keep them in a trash can with a tight lid. You can store the pine needles in the trash can until the trash can is full, or until you have enough to start mulching.
Remove any weeds from the area you are about to mulch. It is best to get rid of any current weeds, and then use the mulch to keep new weeds from emerging.
Spread a 2-inch layer of pine needles around your trees, shrubs, or plants. Make sure the pine needles are not resting directly on the stems of any plants. The stems need to be able to get air so that they do not become moldy.
Add more pine needles as the organic mulch decomposes.
Baby pine trees are called seedlings. Foresters use seedlings to regenerate pine tree forests after mature tree removal. Baby pine trees become saplings when the plant reaches 1 to 2 feet high and about 1 inch in diameter.
Prune back the needles that are two years old on young trees, and those that are three years old on mature trees.
Cut at the rear of each cluster of buds. Avoid pruning near new buds, as this will affect growth.
Trim above the small sheath to promote new needle growth on older Japanese pine tree branches. Leave two or three buds intact on the tips of branches.
Eliminate 75 percent of the Japanese pine's green foliage over the course of three weeks in late spring. This will encourage vigorous budding of smaller needles.
Shape the tree by pruning off the ends of any unwanted branches. Remove dead, diseased or damaged branches as soon as they appear.
Some pine trees have taproots that grow until the trees reach their mature heights. Longleaf pines develop 10- to 15-foot taproots. Scotch pines, however, may not develop taproots. Their horizontal roots occasionally grow downward to function as taproots. True taproots are more likely on Scotch pines in sandy soils.
Survey the area in which you wish to plant your Bosnian pine. The trees can reach 40 feet in height and 10 feet in width, so consider the potential impact on power lines and ground pathways. Select a spot with well-draining soil and ample sunlight.
Spread peat moss, manure, compost, or a combination of the three, over several feet of your anticipated planting area to prepare the soil. Create a layer between 1 and 3 inches deep. Till the soil, mixing the peat moss, manure, or compost at least 1 foot deep.
Place the root ball into the soil at a depth of 8 to 10 inches. Fill the area surrounding the root ball with the fertilized soil.
Water the sapling until the soil surrounding it is moist to the touch. If the sapling has received less than 1 inch of natural rainfall in one week, soak the ground thoroughly.
Fertilize the tree in late winter or early spring. Bosnian pines need to be fertilized before new growth begins. Prune the tree in late spring, after new growth slows down. Continue fertilizing and pruning for the duration of the tree's life.
The leaves of pine trees are typically needles, with their lengths, numbers and arrangement among the facets you can use for their identification. For example, the needles of the foxtail pine grow to lengths between 1 and 2 inches arranged on the branches in bundles of fives so that they crowd together, making each branch resemble an animal’s tail.
Pine trees can grow to be as tall as 200 feet, such as in the case of the sugar pine of the West Coast. Other pines, including the pinyon pine, are often no larger than big shrubs, straining to reach heights of 20 feet.
Consider using the appearance of the pine cones that develop on pine trees to further focus in on what type of pine you encountered. The jack pine, for instance, has cones that grow to be as long as 2 inches, with the cones curving as they arch toward the tip of the limbs upon which they grow.
Spread pine needles on the ground.
Chop pine needles by running over them with a lawn mower.
Spread a 2-inch layer of grass clippings, vegetable scraps and peat moss over the ground to form a base for your compost pile.
Spread a 12-inch layer of pine needles over the grass-clipping layer. Continue to layer grass clippings, scraps and peat moss and pine needles until the pile is the desired size.
Wet the compost pile with a garden hose until it is damp (the consistency of a wrung-out sponge).
Stir your compost pile every two weeks until the pile has completely broken down and resembles a thick, dark soil.
Wear proper pruning gear. When pruning spiny trees like the longleaf pine, take precautions to prevent injury. This includes wearing gardening gloves, a long-sleeved shirt and long pants to protect your skin from sharp branches and pine needles.
Prune once when the longleaf pine is between 15 and 20 feet tall, preferably in the winter or fall. Only prune the first 10 feet of the tree.
Prune the longleaf pine again when the tree is between 35 and 40 feet. Only prune the first 17 feet of the tree. You will most likely need a ladder to accomplish this task. Have a partner hold the base of the ladder to prevent it from wobbling.
Avoid pruning too much or too often. Longleaf pines do not need to be pruned every year, and while pruning, you should not remove any more than half of the tree's branches and foliage.
Cut each branch with pruning shears or a pruning saw, leaving a 1/4-inch nub on the branch. Avoid cutting into the trunk of the tree, or you risk growth problems or scarring.
Pine trees are gymnosperms, the oldest of the seed bearing plants. They evolved during the Paleozoic Era, approximately 416 million years ago. During that era, the continents were still fastened together as one continent, called Pangaea. It was not until the Triassic Period, 250 million years ago, that the continents began to break up and drift apart.
Prune back the largest branches on the tree using the pruning saw. Red pines tend to have a lot of dead branches near the trunk, so start there first. Cut off any dead, broken or diseased branches with the saw, starting underneath the branch at the base where it meets the trunk, and cutting upward. When removing large branches, leave the branching collar--the wrinkled bark near the trunk--to help the cut heal more quickly.
Prune branches that drape toward the ground using the lopping shears. This type of pruning helps promote new growth and increase air circulation in the lower areas of the tree, but you can leave theses branches if you like the appearance.
Use the pruning shears or scissors to cut off half of the new growths, which are called "candles" and grow rapidly in the summer. Cut these small shoots back to the point where they connect to the trunk.
Use a pole pruner to reach the higher branches. The pole pruner has a saw and a hook blade to make pruning in the upper reaches of a tree easy.
Pine trees go into dormancy in the late fall and early winter. During this time, sap flow is reduced. Shape and train pine trees by trimming them during the dormancy period. This will encourage new growth when the tree leaves dormancy in the early spring.
Long-handled gardening shears or small hacksaws are ideal for trimming pine trees. Sharpen blades prior to trimming to make cleaner cuts. Cutting at 45-degree angles with fresh blades reduces accidental wounds to the trees during the trimming process.
Sanitizing equipment between trimming cuts prevents the spread of insects, insect eggs and disease from one tree to the next. Infected equipment spreads problems to other areas of the tree. Spraying the equipment with a mild disinfectant spray and wiping the blades is the easiest and quickest method of sanitation.
Where to Trim
Many pine trees look fine from a distance because often diseased or dead limbs are on the inside of the trees. Begin trimming from the inside of the tree and work outwards. This method prevents over-trimming. Always remove damaged, infected or dead branches on first appearance to prevent future problems.
Appropriate Trimming Time
Avoid trimming pine trees on hot days to prevent the tree from drying out or becoming weak. September and October are the worst months to prune pine trees. New growth will appear just prior to the tree going into dormancy. These sections are vulnerable and can spread damage to the entire tree.
Natural pine needles and tree bark promote balanced water irrigation around trees, reduce soil erosion, and prevent weeds when used as a mulching agent. Pine bark nuggets in varying sizes and pine straw packaged in bales or in loose form are available at gardening centers, suppliers and nurseries.
Pine trees use allelopathy when they shed their pine needles. When these needles fall to the ground, they prevent other plants and trees from growing underneath, stopping them from robbing space and nutrients from the pine tree.
These pine needles all contain an acid that leaches into the ground as the needles begin to decompose. These acids do not hurt the pine tree or its roots but act as a deterrent to other plants looking to move into the area.
Scientists study allelopathy in pine trees and other plants such as sunflowers and black walnut trees and use the results to develop natural herbicides and pesticides. Some scientists consider allelopathy an ecological conversation between pine trees and other plant life.
Choose a mature aerial stem that is attached to the ground. The aerial stem may appear like a whole plant, but it is only the above-ground part of the plant. This mature stem should be four to six years old and have cones.
With one hand, hold the mature aerial stem at the base, near where it meets the ground.
With a pair of sharp garden shears, clip the stem where the base meets the ground. Leave the underground portion of the plant alone so it will survive.
Choose the type of pine tree best suited for your land. White pines are best suited for coarse, sandy soils while Valley pines grow well in loamy, somewhat poor-draining soils. Consult your local nursery for information on pine trees in your area.
Prepare the planting site by removing competition for light and nutrients. You may use an herbicide, lawnmower or a controlled burning method to weed out competitive plants. Grass, in particular, competes with pine seedling roots for moisture.
Plant 2- or 3-year-old seedlings with 10-by-10-foot spacing. This will yield approximately 435 trees per acre and provide adequate room for growth and harvest. Follow your local nursery’s planting directions for your specific type of pine.
Prune off dead branches up to 17 feet in height on trees no larger than 7 inches in diameter. This will remove unsightly stubs and ensure cuts are covered by new wood before harvest.
Fertilize seedlings in early spring to encourage rapid growth. Use a balanced formula specially formulated for pine trees and follow label directions for application.
Select a planting site for your lodgepole pine trees that’s in full to partial sunlight. Choose a location where there’s plenty of room for your lodgepole pines to grow to mature heights of 70 to 80 feet and branching widths of 20 feet.
Dig a planting hole that’s the same depth as and 1 ½ times the width of the lodgepole pine tree’s root ball. Remove the burlap from the root ball and set the root ball into the planting hole with the tree standing straight up.
Backfill the planting hole with the displaced soil. Water the lodgepole pine tree thoroughly to saturate the soil down around the root ball.
Water your lodgepole pine tree deeply and evenly once per week during the spring, summer and early autumn, to supplement rainfall during times of drought or prolonged dry spells.
Prune away all dead, diseased or damaged branches from your lodgepole pine tree in late fall or winter. Lodgepole pines don’t require regular pruning to shape the tree.
Pine needles create acidic conditions as they decompose. Place them as mulch around plants like azaleas, rhododendrons and blueberries that thrive in acidic soil. The mulch will last for several seasons, as pine needles decompose slowly.
For thousands of years, Native Americans used pine needles medicinally to treat colds and congestion. The tea, which can ease respiratory problems, also can be used in the bath to help gout pain, strains and arthritis. Use young needles from white pines. For drinking, boil 3 tbsp. of needles in 1 qt. of water for 2 minutes. Let the tea steep for 30 minutes. If you are pregnant or nursing, do not drink the tea. For the bath, place needles in a muslin bag and boil in a quart of water. Simmer for 30 minutes, then place both the bag and the liquid into your bath water.
Make a Basket
Native Americans also used pine needles to make baskets, starting in pre-Columbian times, according to Mother Earth News. By coiling long-leaf pine needles, you can join the generations of people who have turned this skill into an American craft. Decorate your basket with beads, sequins or colored thread.
Pine trees do not lose their needles because the tree produces a substance similar to antifreeze in its sap that allows them to keep their needles. This antifreeze protects the cells in the needles from getting frost damage.
Some of the distinctive smell of the pine tree comes from this substance that prevents freezing. It also helps the needles on the trees to continue the photosynthesis process that has ceased in the deciduous trees around them.
Pine tree needles do drop, but as a part of the tree's natural cycle. Each type of pine is different, but pine needles live on either a two or five year cycle in which they will change color and drop off at the end.