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Scotch Pine
Pinus sylvestris L
Scotch or Scots pine is an introduced species which has been
widely planted for the purpose of producing Christmas trees. It is
an extremely hardy species which is adaptable to a wide variety
of soils and sites. As a Christmas tree, it is known for its dark
green foliage and stiff branches which are well suited for decorating
with both light and heavy ornaments. It has excellent needle
retention characteristics and holds up well throughout harvest,
shipping and display.

The needles of Scotch pine are produced in bundles of two. They
are variable in length, ranging from slightly over 1-inch for some
varieties to nearly 3-inches for others. Color is likewise variable
with bright green characteristic of a few varieties to dark green to
bluish tones more prominent in others. The undersides of Scotch
pine needles are characterized by several prominent rows of white
appearing stomatal openings.

The bark of upper branches on larger, more mature trees displays
a prominent reddish-orange color which is very distinctive and
attractive. Large amounts of cones are likewise produced which
often persist on the tree from one year to the next. Like most
pines two growing seasons are required to produce mature cones.
On excellent sites within its native range mature trees may reach
a trunk diameter of 30 inches or more and individual trees may
exceed 125 feet in height.

Scotch pine is reproduced from seed. For Christmas tree
production purposes seed is usually sown in the spring and the
resulting seedlings are allowed to grow for two years in the nursery
bed before they are lifted and sold to Christmas tree producers.
There has been some research by university personnel to identify
and produce genetically improved planting stock, although these
efforts have not been totally successful.

In Europe and throughout several countries in Asia, Scotch pine
is an important species of high economic value. Forest stands
containing Scotch pine are managed to produce pulpwood, poles,
and saw logs from which dimension and finish lumber is produced.
Logs from trees of large diameters are processed into veneer and
used in manufacturing plywood. The species is also valued as an
ornamental and landscape plant and has been widely planted in
parks andgardens.

As a Christmas tree Scotch pine is probably the most commonly
used species in the United States. Because of its ease of planting,
generally high planting survival and favorable response to plantation
culture it has been widely planted throughout much of the eastern
United States and Canada. For several years it was the favorite
species of large eastern wholesale growers because of its excellent
harvesting and shipping qualities. It is also a preferred species for
many choose and cut growers in much of the eastern and central
United States.

When established in plantations usually 6 to 8 years are required to
produce a 7 to 8 foot tree. The tree requires annual shearing, usually
beginning the second or third year following planting and continuing
on through the year of harvest. .

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Scotch Pine Photo

As a Christmas tree Scotch pine
is known for its excellent needle
retention and good keepability.
It resists drying and if permitted
to become dry does not drop
its needles. When displayed
in a water filled container it
will remain fresh for the normal
3 to 4 week Christmas season.
Like all natural trees it is readily
recyclable and has many
different uses following the
Christmas holidays.

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