1. Home

Discuss in my forum

Growing the Aleppo Pine - Pinus halepensis

By

Pino d'Aleppo 2 (Pinus halepensis) Lino M/Creative Commons/Flickr

Overview of the Aleppo Pine:

If you live in warm dry locations, the Aleppo pine may work well if you have a large garden space. This Mediterranean native is an evergreen conifer that has adapted to growing in these conditions.

A Greek wine named retsina includes resin from this tree. The resin was also said to be used as part of the mummification process in ancient Egypt.

Latin Name:

This Pinaceae family tree is classified as Pinus halepensis. In addition to other pine trees, it is related to fir trees, spruce trees, cedars, hemlocks and the larches, which are deciduous conifers.

Common Names:

Whenever I see this at the nursery, it is called Aleppo pine. The name comes from the city of the same name in Syria. Another name you may hear is Jerusalem pine.

Preferred USDA Hardiness Zones:

This pine tree should be grown in Zones 8-10. It originally comes from the Mediterranean region.

Size & Shape of the Aleppo Pine:

Once the tree reaches full size it will be anywhere from 30-80' tall with a similar spread, with the ultimate size depending on the growing conditions. It grows into an irregular shape.

Exposure:

Choose a planting site where it will receive full sun during the day. Since it can grow into a tall tree, it will shade the areas below it. Choose plants for the surrounding area that will be able to tolerate some shade.

Foliage/Flowers/Fruit of the Aleppo Pine:

Each fascicle (bundle) usually has two needles, though sometimes they can contain three. Each thin needle is 2-4" long.

As with other pine trees, the Aleppo pine is monoecious and you will find both male and female flowers on each tree.

The cones are 2-5" long and oblong, round or egg-shaped. When they are first formed they are green. Eventually they turn brown as they age. The seeds are spread to new areas by wind once the cones mature and open.

Design Tips For the Aleppo Pine:

This pine is able to resist drought, though the needles sometimes turn yellow and/or drop off. It does best if it receives a few waterings a month, especially in the first year to help the roots grow properly and create a strong structure that can find water in times of need.

Unless you have a spacious yard, this tree may potentially become too large and overpower the area. It does serve well in parks and commercial plantings.

I have started seeing these offered around Christmas for use as a living Christmas tree. Choose the location and dig the hole ahead of time so it is ready once the season is over. Make sure you bring it in and out of the house over a period of time to harden it off and prevent shock. You could also arrange ahead of time to donate it to a local park if you do not have enough room in your yard.

It has become invasive once introduced in warmer countries like South Africa and Argentina.

Growing Tips For the Aleppo Pine:

This tree can handle a wide range of soil pHs from acidic to alkaline. It can also grow in a wide variety of soils that are clay, loam or soil as long as it drains well.

There may be some work involved in cleaning up fallen needles or cones.

Maintenance/Pruning:

Your pine tree should not need much pruning unless you are taking out a wayward branch or removing parts that are dead, diseased or damaged. You can control growth and shape to some degree by removing the conifer candles (new growth) when they first appear.

Propagation is usually carried out through seed germination. You can take cuttings from the tree in its early years, though they can be slow to take root and grow.

Pests & Diseases of the Aleppo Pine:

Diseases That You May See:

  • Aleppo pine blight
  • Dieback (Gremmeniella abietina)
  • Phytophthora
  • Pine pitch canker ( Fusarium circinatum)
  • Root rot

Pests That May Attack:

  • Aphids (Aphidoidea Superfamily)
  • Bark beetles
  • Pine wilt nematode (Bursaphelenchus xylophilus)
  • Spider mites (Tetranychidae Family)

 

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.