It's that time of year when people decorate pine trees. Many opt for a cut tree, but having a live one can be a great option for someone who wants a tree that keeps living and can be brought in year after year.
California has both native pine trees and ones that have come from similar climates like Australia and Asia. All together, there are over a 115 varieties of pine trees!
They are part of the conifer, cone-bearer, family, and are also evergreens, retaining their needles year round. Height wise they can range from a 4ft dwarf Mugo to an over 100 ft white pine. Besides height, pine trees can vary in their shape, needles, texture, and cones. They are easy to care for and can even live indoors.
Pine trees need lots of sunlight and rich, moist soil. If you have one in a pot, rotate it regularly and have it in a sunny spot. Pine trees in pots require more water to make sure it does not dry out. Good drainage is important whether it's in a pot or in the ground.
Can you grow a pine tree from a pine cone seed?
One has to have patience to grow a pine tree from a seed. Growing seeds from pine cones harvested from local pine trees will mean your tree will most likely do well in your climate. Seeds can be gathered from pine cones that are still closed, and if properly stratified, the process of natural or recreated natural conditions to insure germination will occur, a tree can grow!
Take pine cones that have not opened from pine tree in early fall and place in paper bag in warm spot. Shake the bag every few days. When the cone opens, the seeds will drop into the bag.
Place seeds in freezer for 2-3 months to mimic winter.
Thaw out to room temperature and then put in glass bowl with lukewarm water for 1 to 2 days.
Drain and put still moist seeds in ziplock baggie in fridge for 2-3 months
Now they are ready to plant in mixture of 3 parts potting soil, 1 part peat moss, 1 part sand (without salt), and 1 part pine bark. Plant one seed per 4" pot 1/4" deep and make sure there is good drainage.
Do not let soil get dry or be too wet. Replant when seedlings are 8 to 12" tall.
Sometimes a pine cone can sprout seedlings (pictured above) from seeds that did not fully release. If you happen to find one, plant in half dirt (do not cover pine cone fully), it might make it into a tree!
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah from all of us at Pacific Vista Landscape Services!