Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Grow Scotch Pine Trees

By Jennifer Loucks ; Updated September 21, 2017

The Scotch pine, also called Scots pine, is a hardy variety planted as a Christmas tree. Scotch pine trees are native to Europe and hardy to plant in USDA growing zones 3 through 8A. The tree has blue-green foliage, strong needle retention and grows to a height of 50 feet with a spread of 30 feet. Scotch pine trees are simple to grow and require little maintenance.

Plant the tree in well-draining soil and full sunlight. Test the soil pH to verify it is 4.5 to 6.0. Work ground rock sulfur into the soil two weeks before planting to lower the pH number if needed.

Dig a planting hole two to three times as wide and the same depth as the tree root ball, using a shovel. Roughen the inside edge of the hole to make it easier for the roots to penetrate the surrounding soil.

Water the root ball well to make sure the roots are plump. Remove the tree from the container and loosen roots that appear wrapped around the ball. Set the tree in the hole and fill it half-full with soil.

Add water to the hole and let it absorb into the surrounding soil. Fill the remaining hole area with soil and gently tamp with your feet. Water the tree well to compact the soil and eliminate air pockets around the roots.

Form a 3-inch-high water ring 1 foot away from the trunk. The will hold water over the root ball as it absorbs into the soil. The water ring will gradually absorb into the ground as the tree becomes established.

Water the Scotch pine weekly during the first year after planting. Fill the water ring to keep the water over the root ball of the tree. Provide supplemental water to established the tree during periods of drought in the summer growing months.

Apply a 3- to 4-inch layer of bark mulch around the tree once the water ring has absorbed into the soil. Pull weeds that grow over the root ball to prevent competition for soil moisture.


Things You Will Need

  • Soil pH test
  • Ground rock sulfur
  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Bark mulch

About the Author


Jennifer Loucks has been writing since 1998. She previously worked as a technical writer for a software development company, creating software documentation, help documents and training curriculum. She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running. Loucks also trains for full marathons, half-marathons and shorter distance running. She holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science and business from University of Wisconsin-River Falls.