Austrian Pine

Although not native to Iowa, the Austrian pine (Pinus nigra), also called European black pine, has been planted quite widely in the state and especially in the western one-third where it has been planted both in farmstead windbreaks and as an ornamental. Due to many disease problems this species is no longer recommended in Iowa.

Hardiness: Zones 3b through 7 - Survives in zone 8, though rarely seen. Grows best in colder climates.

Austrian pine tree
Austrian Pine Tree

Growth Rate: Medium (grows 35 to 50 feet after 20-30 years)

Mature Shape: Densely pyramidal when young. Becomes a large, flat-topped tree with a rough, short trunk and low, stout, spreading branches.

Height: 50 to 60 feet tall (some have been seen at 
100 feet tall)

Width: 20 to 40 foot spread

Site Requirements: A very hardy tree that can survive city conditions better than most pines, but also enjoys the seaside environment and tolerates sandy soils well, too. Very tolerant of soils, if moist, but can stand some dryness and exposure. Resists heat and drought. Can succeed in fairly heavy clay.

LeavesStiff, sharp needles that occur in bundles of two

Flowering Dates: May - June

Seed Dispersal Dates: October - November

Seed Bearing Age: 15-40 Years

Seed Bearing Frequency: Every 2-5 years

The tree grows moderately fast, 75 to 100 feet tall when mature, and is hardy and is quite drought resistant. When grown in the open, it holds its branches quite close to the ground. The needlelike leaves occur in bundles of two, are 4 to 6 inches long, are stiff and sharp pointed, and of a light green color. The egg-shaped cones are 2 to 3 inches long and 1 to 1-1/4 inches wide. The cones open during the late fall and early winter.

Side by side view of young Austrian pine fruit and mature cone
Austrian Pine Fruit - Photos by Paul Wray, Iowa State University

Diseases that Can Affect Austrian Pine

Insects that Can Affect Austrian Pine


Austrian pine flower cluster
Austrian Pine Flowers - Photo by Paul Wray, Iowa State University

Austrian pine twigs
Austrian Pine Twigs - Photo by Paul Wray, Iowa State University

Austrian pine needles
Austrian Pine Leaves, Photo by Paul Wray, Iowa State University