Imagine a garden entirely made up of rounded shrubs – boring, yes? Gardens need the excitement of vertical accents, which bring interest and variety to the arrangement of our plants, making our eye pause for a moment, to better appreciate the beauty of the garden. The best accent plants are interesting for more than their upright shape, and we need texture as well. Sadly, many of the most common upright plants lack that surface texture, and instead they are just a bland surface of mid-green. Not the Arnold Sentinel Austrian Pine, whose dense surface of long, dark-green needles covers a bold, upright form that is truly eye-catching and valuable in any garden.
The Arnold Sentinel Austrian Pine is a tough, reliable plant that grows well in many locations. It is also very attractive and novel, growing into a dense, upright mass of thrusting branches, clustered all the way up its length. The long needles are stiff and deep green, and the overall effect is very eye-catching. Even if you don’t use it as specifically a vertical accent, this plant is a fabulous addition to any garden – and so easy to grow!
It makes a great specimen on a lawn area, or among other trees and large shrubs in a border. Plant it in a bed with other interesting conifers, of other forms and colors. This is a great way to create an attractive low-maintenance garden area that is always interesting, and become better and better every year, as the plants develop into mature specimens. Because it is salt tolerant, it is also a great choice for coastal areas and beach cottages.
Growing Arnold Sentinel Austrian Pine Trees
The Arnold Sentinel Austrian Pine is hardy across a large part of the country, except for the coldest and hottest states. It grows steadily, adding 6 to 12 inches a year, so that in 10 years it will be between 5 and 10 feet tall, depending on the growing conditions. Older trees grow more slowly, but in 25 years the original plant had reached 25 feet tall, and 7 feet across. That would be a wonderful sentinel overlooking your garden, but not casting an enormous shadow.
The tree has many short, upright shoots, covered in 3-inch long stiff needles, in a dark shade of green. The buds at the end of the stems are prominent, and in spring these send out new shoots, which then expand and extend the size of the stems. This tree does no normally produce cones, but it is possible in older trees. The bark is only visible close to the ground, as the branches persist right along the tree. It is dark brown to black, with a rough texture and deep furrows as the stem matures.
Planting and Initial Care
Plant the Arnold Sentinel Austrian Pine in a sunny spot, in almost any kind of soil, from sand to clay, just so long as it is not constantly wet. Indeed, this tree, once established, is very drought resistant, making it an ideal choice for a dry, sandy site. Another virtue of the tough Austrian Pine is its ability to tolerate salt – not just in the air, but even in the soil. For a striking sea-shore plant, it has to be a top choice, and for difficult spots along a busy highway, where salt is used in winter, it is a clear winner. Pests and diseases are rare, and this tree is very tough and very easy to grow – despite its exotic and special appearance.
History and Origins of the Arnold Sentinel Austrian Pine
The Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra) can be found growing wild in southern Europe, covering higher areas from Spain to Turkey. It is also found growing in North Africa. Wild trees can be over 500 years old, and typically grow to mature heights of between 50 to 100 feet tall. The tree was probably brought to America in the late 19th century, and it has been widely planted, especially in drier areas, such as Texas. From time to time seeds collected from natural trees are brought to America and germinated, and this was what happened in the story of the Arnold Sentinel Austrian Pine.
In 1970 growers at the Arnold Arboretum – part of Harvard University, and famous for introducing many new plants – imported seed from trees growing wild in Turkey. When they grew the seed, they noticed one plant among the seedlings with a unique upright growth pattern. They christened the tree ‘Arnold Sentinel’, and freely distributed pieces to specialized growers across the country. This tree is reproduced by grafting stem pieces onto seedlings or ordinary Austrian Pines, and then carefully growing them into symmetrical young plants. This tree cannot be grown from seed. There is a huge demand for attractive evergreens of unusual form, and our limited stock of this great tree will soon be shipped out and gone. Order now while our stock lasts.