Italian Stone Pine Information – How To Care For Italian Stone Pines

Large Italian Stone Pine Tree
stone pine
(Image credit: scubaluna)

Italian stone pine (Pinus pinea) is an ornamental evergreen with a full, high canopy that resembles an umbrella. For this reason, it is also called the "umbrella pine". These pine trees are native to southern Europe and Turkey, and prefer warm, dry climates. However, they are also cultivated as popular landscape choices. Gardeners around the world are growing Italian stone pine trees. Read on for more Italian stone pine information.

Italian Stone Pine Information

Italian stone pine is easily recognizable, as it is one of the only pines to form a high, rounded crown. Hardy to USDA plant hardiness zone 8, this pine doesn’t tolerate lower temperatures happily. Its needles brown in colder weather or wind. If you grow Italian stone pine trees, you will notice that as they mature, they develop multiple trunks close to one another. They grow between 40 and 80 feet (12.2 - 24.4 m.) tall, but occasionally get taller. Although these trees develop lower branches, they are usually shaded out as the crown matures. The pine cones of the Italian stone pine mature in autumn. This is important Italian stone pine information if you plan on growing Italian stone pine trees from seeds. The seeds appear in cones and provide food for wildlife.

Italian Stone Pine Tree Growing

Italian stone pine grows best in the drier regions in the American west. It thrives in California as a street tree, indicating a tolerance for urban pollution. If you are growing Italian stone pine trees, plant them in well-drained soil. The trees do well in acidic soil, but also grow in soil that is slightly alkaline. Always plant your pine trees in full sun. Expect your tree to grow to about 15 feet (4.6 m.) in the first five years of its life. Once the tree is established, care for Italian stone pines is minimal. Italian stone pine tree growing requires little water or fertilizer.

Italian Stone Pine Tree Care

Italian stone pine tree care is fairly easy if the tree is planted in appropriate soil in the sun. The trees are drought and sea-salt tolerant, but susceptible to ice damage. Their horizontal branches can crack and break when they are coated with ice. Italian stone pine tree care does not include mandatory pruning. However, some gardeners like to shape the canopy of the tree. If you do decide to prune or trim the tree, this should be accomplished in the winter season, basically October through January. Pruning during the winter months rather than spring and summer helps protect the tree from pitch moths.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.