Pine trees have a special magic; of all the evergreen trees, the pine has the most character – not just a ball or column of foliage, but a beautiful trunk, stretching branches, graceful needles and even interesting new shoots that look like the tree is decorated with candles. So while we might use other evergreens just as background, for hedges and screens, pines give us lots of opportunities to use them as exciting specimens, bringing interest and character to our gardens.
Of all the pine trees, there are few that are as attractive and worthwhile as the Oregon Green Austrian Pine. It ticks all the boxes for a specimen pine; it stays relatively small, so it will fit even a small garden; it has an open branching structure that means even a young tree has a lot of character; its fresh green needles are attractive at all seasons; and when the new growth emerges in spring your tree will be adorned with silvery-white ‘candles’ that are as fresh and beautiful as any flowers. As it matures it will also produce large, very attractive pine cones to give interest during the winter months.
Of course choosing plants for your garden is about more than beauty, you also want plants that are easy to grow. Again, the Oregon Green Austrian Pine comes out on top – easy to grow and adaptable to lots of different conditions. In fact this is one of the toughest plants around, able to handle harsh conditions, such as salt spray, with ease, as well as drought. Our growers supply is with the best-quality Oregon Green Austrian Pine trees, so the demand for this wonderful tree is high.
Growing Oregon Green Austrian Pine Trees
The Oregon Green Austrian Pine is a small tree that will grow steadily to around 10 feet tall in about as many years, and ultimately reach perhaps 20 feet. It has a broad, spreading habit, with open branches, so it does not throw a lot of shade, and it has an interesting form with plenty of character. The needles are rich green in color, lighter than the heavy, dark green of the common Austrian pine, and about 3 inches long, slightly twisted in the same direction as the stem, creating a denser effect. The bark is light-brown to grey, depending on its age, and as the tree matures the bark quickly takes on a weathered appearance, splitting into attractive plates and ridges. It is the bark that gives a lot of character and an air of maturity to this tree, even at an young age. The branches leave the trunk more or less horizontally, but then turn upwards and outwards, making an open crown.
In spring the new shoots emerge as thick, waxy ‘candles’, growing vertically and covered in a silvery-white coating, so they really stand out and make a great show on the tree – a seasonal highlight. You may also so see miniature cones in spring, shedding pollen, and full-size rounded cones in fall up to 4 inches long, and these may be seen even on young trees.
Plant your Oregon Green Austrian Pine in a sunny location – it should be kept out of the shade. It will grow in most kinds of soil, from sand to clay, but it does not like wet soil – this tree is very drought-resistant once it is established, and it is a great choice for a dry garden. It also tolerates road-salt, both in the air and even in the soil, so if you are looking for trees to plant near a busy road, this is a great choice.
History and Origins of the Oregon Green Austrian Pine Tree
The Austrian pine (Pinus nigra) grows naturally all across southern Europe, from Spain to Turkey, and also in North Africa. Wild trees can grow from 50 to 100 feet tall in time, and trees over 500 years old are often found. It was probably bought to America before 1900, and proved to be an excellent tree, especially for growing in hot, dry areas, such as Texas.
As the name suggests, the Oregon Green variety was found in the state of Oregon, by Morris Van Meter at his nursery, and introduced in the late 1990’s. He was attracted to the lighter needle color and rugged beauty of an unusual seedling, and he then took stem pieces and attached them to the roots of other seedling pines, to preserve its character. This is the only way this tree can be grown, so avoid cheaper seedling trees that will not have all its special features.
Caring For Your Oregon Green Austrian Pines
Your Oregon Green Austrian Pine takes no special care, but if you want to keep it more compact, break the candles in half with your fingers when they are young. This will encourage more branching, and shorter shoots, and is a great way to control the growth. Never cut branches back below the area that has needles, they will not re-sprout, so snapping the tips from the candles is a much better way of stopping your tree getting too tall, and creating a denser plant.