The scotch pine (PInus sylvestris) is not native to Iowa. It is a European species that was brought to this country by the English. It has been planted widely in Iowa, both for farmstead windbreaks and ornamental use. It is a fast-growing tree in early life, but most strains of it soon slow down in height growth and develop a flat, wide spreading top of gnarled and crooked branches. Scotch pine grows 50 to 75 feet tall.
Hardiness: Zones 3a through 7 - not heat tolerant
Growth Rate: Moderate
Mature Shape: Irregular pyramidal. Scotch pines look like other pines when young, but as they age they can take on many different shapes.
Height: 30-60 feet
Width: 20-40 feet
Site Requirements: Sandy and well-drained soils. Poor, dry sites will support this tree. Full sun.
Flowering Dates: May - June
Seed Dispersal Dates: December - March
Seed Bearing Age: 5-15 years
Seed Bearing Frequency: Every 4 to 6 years
Seed Stratification: No stratification period is needed.
The 1-1/2 to 3 inch long, bluish needles occur in bundles of two and are twisted or spiral as they leave the twig.
The cone is small, 1 to 1-1/2 inches in length and sometimes remain on the trees for many years. The branching of the tree is quite open and the branches appear sparse.
At the base of older trunks the bark is grayish brown to brown in color, but on the upper trunk and larger branches the bark is bright orange and flaky, with the outer bark peeling off in large scales.