Pinus flexilis 'Vanderwolf's Pyramid'

flexwebberAugust 19, 2014

Anyone had any luck growing this Pine? I was wondering how much shade tolerance it has? Thanks.

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

your question is too specific to the cultivar ...

what you want to ask ... if i may be so bold... is whether .. simply ... pinus flexilis.. grows in z7 NJ ...

once that is established.. you can choose which cultivar you like ...

flexilis does just fine in my z5 ... even z4 last winter.. MI ...

it definitely wont be a cold issue for you ...

it has a rather loose look.. in full sun ... so it might open up more.. in more shade ...


    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 8:47PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

This cultivar was killed outright in SE WI, which had a harsh zone 5 winter. This includes my plants and the field plants of one of SE WI's largest nurseries. You'll never have that problem in your zone though.

The only feedback I've heard is that this plant struggles in humid climates. I have no proof besides here say...but that comes from some very well known conifer growers.

Pines in general want full fun. As a five needle pine it will have some part shade tolerance. I wound give it at least 5 hours of direct sun. Just my 2 cents.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 9:42PM
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flexwebber should get about 4-5 hours of sun....if it struggles I'll have to move it. We usually have pretty humid summers here so I'll have to make sure it is watered pretty good.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 12:36AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

probably a z4 WI winter.. eh will??? .. lol ...

so my two thrived.. and yours died ... hmmm....

flex... you need to wait to hear if any of the east coasters chime in ...

watering more.. due to high humidity.. is a non sequitur ...


    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 11:15AM
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True, that doesn't seem to make sense. It does make sense though that cooling the plant off could help it survive. How else would you handle it?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 12:04PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Cultivar was introduced by Vermeulen nursery in New Jersey so it would presumably have some regional adaptation. Seems like there was a prior thread on this site where someone described the original seedling(?) which was still present at the nursery.

As has also been hashed over here tree appears to be an example of one of the southwestern types ("Pinus reflexa"*) of white pine (native to Arizona, New Mexico and/or Mexico) rather than the Rocky mountain limber pine (native from Canada to Mexico, in the Rocky Mountains).

In Seattle etc. the cultivar is a common, vigorous noticeably bluish tree of more or less handsome appearance (except where not doing well) whereas limber pine is small, dark green looking and scruffy, not seen except in a few public plantings.

*Intermediate forms occur between each of these taxa. One is sometimes called Pinus reflexa, distributed from southwest Colorado to northern Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, and west Texas; it displays morphological, molecular and ecological characters intermediate between P. flexilis and P. strobiformis, and those characters show a fairly smooth transition between the two endpoints, so that there is no clear transition from one taxon to the other; as such, P. reflexa is a name of convenience for, mostly, strobiform white pines of Arizona and New Mexico

(See also P. flexilis var. reflexa on P. flexilis page of same web site)

Here is a link that might be useful: Pinus strobiformis

This post was edited by bboy on Wed, Aug 20, 14 at 18:05

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 5:38PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

I talked to the nursery a couple years back and the original parent tree is no longer.

I can't recall off hand but they either did some new construction or it outgrew its spot planted next to a building.

Ken, since zones are defined by average annual min temps we had a zone 5 winter. We (in my area NW of MKE) had 40+ days below zero so I'd call it a harsh zone 5 winter. I thought I recall your area had more than half that count which is a typical zone 5 Milwaukee winter (zone 5b). Then the low just slightly exceeded the average annual min temp of -15 for 5b.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 10:02PM
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Very interesting discussion. I've always enjoyed how these trees look and several times I've almost bought one. For some reason the ones I see in my area are typically very large b/b specimens rather than smaller trees in containers. One day I'll find a small one and plant it in the yard, but not a 9ft specimen.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 1:17PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

I think they do "just ok" here from what I have seen.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 8:14PM
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The ones I've seen here all were severely burned after the winter, managed to grow this spring and then gave up the ghost in the last few weeks. Probably not relevant to zone 7'ers but an interesting aside.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 9:19PM
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Based on these kinds of replies I'd be tempted to try a small, container version of a Pinus flexilis 'Vanderwolf's Pyramid'. I don't think I'd want to spend a lot of money on a large B&B version, put all the manual labor into hauling it and digging hole and maintaining a large transplant if there was a good chance it might not survive.

At least a small container version might stand a better chance of survival when planted than a 9ft, 300LB transplant. It would be a LOT easier on my back for sure. :)


    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 12:30PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Whenever long term outcomes are being considered I wouldn't plant one where there wasn't room for a full-sized tree anyway. Some years ago I saw one at the Yakima Area Arboretum that looked to be at least 40 ft. across, ca. 2005 examples of what are probably the same clone were being noted in Seattle more than 30 ft. tall (with the similar looking 'Glenmore Silver' having grown 66 ft. tall from a ca. 1951 planting). At the page I linked to above you can see how big the P. strobiformis gets, whatever exact botanical placement the cultivar should get within what is apparently a complex that could use some additional analysis (an existing tendency is to call the garden tree P. flexilis var. reflexa 'Vanderwolf's Pyramid') we are not talking about a dwarf conifer by any means.

Although being a plant place where they should know better this year a nearby independent garden center planted a couple of these about 6 ft. or so apart with the existing branches probably less than three feet from the edge of the parking lot. A waste of time and money as it won't be too long before they are overwhelming the space. Although another independent garden center here has managed to hang onto a similar planting in a narrow parking strip with the trees now being somewhere around 20 ft. tall. But the human-level presentation has become one of the pitchy trunks and trashy crown interiors shared with most pines having become fully exposed, the Christmas tree look now long gone. Their branches are for the time being high enough for them to fit into the space physically, but visually they do not fit anymore at all.

In both instances clearly the trees were selected and located based on their size and condition at time of planting, and not on what they were genetically programmed to become. This is how bungalows become engulfed by trees, small yards become plant ghettos (dense thickets of once attractive specimens deformed and spoiled by having grown into one another).

This post was edited by bboy on Sat, Aug 23, 14 at 16:49

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 4:34PM
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beigestonehill(z 6 /7VA)

Mine has been fine in Virginia of course I am more concerned with the plants heat tolerance than cold tolerance here. Bboy really 40 feet across!!! oh oh I am in trouble

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 12:37AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

I think bboy was talking about the species. Th owners at VN also said the market is flooded with mislabeled plant. Almost to the point a species plant was considered a Vanderwolf's Pyramid.

Their parent plant, which I thought they said was planted in the 60s was a mere 15 to 20' wide when they took it down in the early 2000s. Anyone who is interested could just call to verify the info.

My plants where about 5' wide at the age of 9 years old when they croaked.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 8:18AM
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