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Austrian PinePinus nigra

  • Austrian Pine - Pinus nigra
  • Austrian Pine - Pinus nigra
  • Austrian Pine - Pinus nigra
  • Austrian Pine - Pinus nigra
  • Austrian Pine - Pinus nigra

It has been called the toughest of all European pines and, we would add, the hardest working. Well-known horticulturalist, Dr. Carl Whitcomb, said the tree "rivals all pines in durability under adverse conditions." Nowhere has this been put more to the test than in the windbreaks of America.

The Austrian pine has passed the test, just as it has for centuries in Europe. Since it was introduced to the U.S. in 1759, this pine has been put to work as both a beautiful landscape tree—with its dense, dark green crown—and a working tree that restores strip mines and scarred land, stabilizes soil and tames the wind.


Hardiness Zones

The austrian pine can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 4–7. View Map

Tree Type

This is an evergreen tree, keeping its foliage year-round.

Mature Size

The Austrian pine grows to a height of 50–60' and a spread of 20–40' at maturity.

Growth Speed Medium Growth Rate

This tree grows at a medium rate, with height increases of 13–24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least 6 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The Austrian pine grows in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained and clay soils. While it prefers normal moisture, the tree has some drought tolerance.

Attributes

This tree:
  • Is very hardy.
  • Works well for windbreaks.
  • Tolerates adverse soil conditions and air pollution.
  • Features dark green needles grown in bundles of two that sometimes curve or twist slightly. They are 3–6" long and persist for 4–8 years, giving the tree its dense crown.
  • Produces somewhat oval, light brown cones that are 2–4" in length. Each scale is tipped with a small prickle.
  • Is also known as the European black pine.
  • Grows in an oval shape.

Wildlife Value

Birds and squirrels enjoy Austrian pine seeds. The large evergreens also provide shelter and nesting sites, particularly for birds such as owls.

History/Lore

The Austrian pine is a native of Austria, northern Italy and the former Yugoslavia. It was introduced to the United States in 1759. Its forebears were likely worshipped by the Romans over 2000 years ago. Over 217 million Austrian pines were planted during the nation's great dust bowl shelterbelt project. The species has thrived for over 200 years in some of the worst soil and climate conditions America has to offer.