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Scotch Pine - Pinus sylvestris


This is also called the Scots pine Image by treehouse1977 via Flickr


The Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris) can be found in many places throughout the world. In fact, it holds the title for the most widely distributed pine tree. The Scotch pine is also the most popular choice for a Christmas tree. Learn the facts on growing this pine in your landscape.

Latin Name:

Pinus sylvestris

Common Names:

Scotch pine, Scots pine

USDA Hardiness Zones:

Pinus sylvestris can be grown in USDA Zones 2-8.

Size & Shape:

The Scotch pine will grow 30 - 70' tall and 25 - 30' wide, with an irregular shape.


Plant in a location that receives full sun. The tree will languish in shady areas.


The needles come in sets of 2 per fascicle. Each needle can be anywhere from 1.5" to 4" long.

The Scotch pine is monoecious. As with other conifers, this tree has special reproductive parts called strobili. The female strobili becomes the cone.

The brown cones are 1 - 3" long and feature diamond-shaped scales.

Design Tips:

The bark is a lovely shade of cinnamon throughout much of the tree, which can add interest year-round. The bottom bark is gray or red.

The Scotch pine is a good choice for a location with clay soil. It also offers drought and salt tolerance.

Growing Tips:

This tree is versatile and can live in many different kinds of soils and climates. It prefers acidic soils, but can tolerate soil that is slightly alkaline.

The Scotch pine is propagated by seeds.


Scotch pine will not need much pruning, if any. You can take out any branches that are dead, diseased or damaged.

Pests & Diseases:

Unfortunately, there are a number of pests that attack the Scotch pine. They include:

  • Pine spittlebug (Aphrophora parallela)
  • European pine sawfly (Neodiprion sertifer)
  • Pine root collar weevil (Hylobius radicis)
  • Giant conifer aphid (Cinara spp.)
  • Pine needle scale (Chionaspis pinifoliae)
  • White pine weevil (Pissodes strobi)
  • Pine root tip weevil (Hylobius rhizophagus)
  • Zimmerman pine moth (Dioryctria zimmermani)

Pine grosbeaks (Pinicola enucleator) and porcupines may also cause damage.

Other problems include scleroderris canker, Lophodermium needlecast, severe injuries to foliage in winter, Western gall rust and brown spot needle disease.

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