Pinon pine trees

mazer415January 6, 2011

I am looking for information on Pinyon Pines. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and would like to have some trees. Does anyone have information on how they do in pots? Any specifics I should know? Any recommendations on where to purchase them and at what stage they do best for transplanting...thanks

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I live in NM, where pinon-juniper woodland is probably the most common vegetational cover type, and where the colorado pinon (Pinus edulis) is the official state tree.

Here, nearly full size native pinon are commonly dug up and sold bagged-in-burlap at the roadside. They have a good survival rate even this way, and are relatively inexpensive. I've seen them grown in pots too, which they apparently seem to tolerate for years. However, even under ideal conditions they grow very very slowly, and take many years to mature. They also cannot tolerate poor drainage or excessive moisture, which might be an issue in the Bay Area?

In terms of other species of pinon, there are many, two of which are native to California (P. monophylla and P. x quadrifolia). I doubt their growth and cultural requirements differ too much from P. edulis. I would guess that a California native plants nursey would be the best place to look for these trees.

Is your interest in growing pinon for the crop of nuts (seeds)? If so, you should probably do some research into a number of other pines. You would want to choose something that:
1. does well in your conditions
2. matures relatively quickly
3. can be pollinated effectively
4. produces regular crops (P. edulis usually only produces good crops twice per decade)

Here is a list of some nut pine species from the highly recommended book "The Pinon Pine: A Natural and Cultural History" by R. M. Lanner, plus a few more I've added...
Good luck in your search!

Colorado Pinon (P. edulis)
Singleleaf Pinon (P. monophylla)
Mexican Pinon (P. cembroides)
Parry Pinon (P. x quadrifolia)
Digger Pine (P. sabiniana)
Southwestern White Pine (P. strobiformis)
Italian Stone Pine (P. pinea)
Siberian Stone Pine (P. sibirica)
Chilgoza Pine (P. gerardiana)
Sugar Pine (P. lambertiana)
Torrey Pine (P. torreyana)

    Bookmark   January 7, 2011 at 1:40PM
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nmgirl(8 S.NM)

There are many species of pine grown for their edible nuts:
Stone Pine (Pinus pinea), Swiss Pine (Pinus cembra), Korean Pine (Pinus koraiensis) in northeast Asia (the most important species in international trade), Chilgoza Pine (Pinus gerardiana), Siberian Pine (Pinus sibirica), Siberian Dwarf Pine (Pinus pumila), Chinese White Pine (Pinus armandii),Lacebark Pine (Pinus bungeana), Colorado Pinyon (Pinus edulis), Single-leaf Pinyon (Pinus monophylla), Mexican Pinyon (Pinus cembroides), Gray Pine (Pinus sabineana), Torrey Pine (Pinus torreyana), Sugar Pine (Pinus lambertiana) and Parry Pinyon (Pinus quadrifolia).
As stated in the previous post, P. edulis doesn't like wet/damp conditions, esp. "mediterranean" climates or excessive humidity. It needs summer heat w/a monsoon plus a good amount of winter chilling. It's requirements are met erratically in it's native habitat which is why it doesn't produce a nut crop on a regular basis.
In my part of NM, "ball and burlap" wild dug trees are dying a slow death. It is also illegal to wild dig pinon pines or sell them without a permit.
Perhaps a pine adapted to the Mediterranean or Asia would do best in the Bay area?

    Bookmark   January 7, 2011 at 8:49PM
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I would vote for the Torrey Pine or the Italian Stone Pine. Both are adapted to Mediterranean climates, the former being one of California's rarest trees, and the pine with one of the most limited natural distributions in the world.

The look of these is totally different, the former having an open, spreading shape and very long needles, longer than a ponderosa pine's, and the latter having very very short needles and a compact growth habit. I don't know about growth rate and how quickly they mature, but I'm sure you can find that info online. I have even seen a nursery online that specializes in "nut" pines.


    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 12:07PM
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nmgirl(8 S.NM)

Interesting. Italian Stone Pines here in the southern part of the state get very tall. They rival the Pinus eldarica (Mondale/Afghan) in height and are more waterwise.
It's amazing how plants respond to different climates.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 8:12PM
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I am most interested
in attempting to grow P. edulis.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 11:37PM
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Pinus remota is the most easterly pinyon and might be better in that climate.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 8:46PM
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I have a Pinus remota in Texas. I think pinyons are fascinating and should be preserved!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 12:49PM
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I have 2 Pinus Remota growing near Waco. Seem to have established - been there 5 yrs now. Growth rate is about 5" per year in a good year.
IF growing in a pot, would recommend paying special attention to drainage and to root heat exposure from direct sunlight(either shade pot or insulate). Note that the tree foliage will require full sun exposure.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 12:07PM
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paxetamor(7b Abilene TX)

I would like to attempt growing Pinus remota and am looking for seeds or seedlings.

Thanks in advance, Mick

PS: A great Forestry Department listing at:

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 9:44AM
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