Scotch Pine, an evergreen conifer, is native to northern Europe and northern Asia, from Scotland to Siberia. It has been widely planted and naturalized throughout northeastern and midwestern North America for centuries. It is commonly found in Ohio, where it is grown in urban areas as an ornamental evergreen tree, in rural areas of poor soil as a tree for erosion control or for primary establishment, or on Christmas tree plantations. It is logged at maturity in Europe as an important timber tree, and cut in youth in America as one of the most popular Christmas trees.
Also known as Scots Pine in reference to Scotland of Great Britain, this pine has a crooked or twisted trunk that may split into several widely divergent branches at maturity, thus forming a picturesque crown of gnarled branches. Frequently leaning with age, it may grow to 50 feet tall by 30 feet wide when found in the open, with a medium growth rate in youth and slow growth rate with age. Its shape is more or less upright pyramidal when young, but quickly becomes irregular and contorted, as if twisted by the wind. As a member of the Pine Family, it is related to other Pines as well as the Firs, Larches, Spruces, and Hemlocks.
Planting Requirements - Scotch Pine does best in well-drained soils of acidic pH, but is known for its tolerance of poor soils that may be sandy, rocky, or of heavy clay, and of acidic, neutral, or alkaline pH. It thrives on neglect in full sun, and tolerates prolonged drought. It grows in zones 3 to 7.
Potential Problems - Scotch Pine is less susceptible than Austrian Pine to Diplodia tip blight, but still contracts this disease with fatal results. In addition, it also is vulnerable to pine wilt fungus and the pests known as nematodes. However, this pine is very tough in its adaptation to environmental stresses, including heat, drought, severe cold, and sterile soils.