The Austrian pine (Pinus nigra) could be the perfect conifer for your city landscape. It is hardy to USDA Hardiness Zone 4 and is able to withstand many of the challenging environmental conditions, like pollution and salinity in the air, of the urban environment.
The species name for this pine tree is Pinus nigra. It is considered to be in the Pinaceae family. Pinus is the Latin name for pine; nigra derives from the Latin word niger, meaning black or dark.
The standard common names for Pinus nigra are Austrian pine and European black pine. However, it also may be called Australian pine, Crimean pine, Corsican pine, or Pyrenees pine.
Preferred USDA Hardiness Zones
The Austrian pine tree grows best in USDA Zones 4 through 7.
Size and Shape
The tree forms a pyramidal or oval shape while young and may become irregular as the tree ages. It typically grows to 40 to 60 feet tall and 20 to 40 feet wide. In rare cases, Austrian pines can grow over 100 feet tall.
Ideally, grow this tree in a location that receives full sun. It can also tolerate partial sun.
There are two needles in each fascicle. They are 2 to 6 inches long and dark green in color. The tree is monoecious and the male and female flowers are both yellow to yellow-green. The female flowers may also come in a purple color. The brown cones are shaped like an egg and measure 2 to 3 inches long.
Uses in Landscape
Pinus nigra is popular as a specimen tree and for windbreaks. As the tree ages, its crown becomes rounded and forms a flat or dome-shaped top.
Growing Tips for Austrian Pine
The Austrian pine is able to grow in many different types of soil, especially ones that can be considered difficult, like clay or sand. However, it thrives best in deep, moist soil that drains well. Water new trees regularly for the first year and during dry periods for the first three years. Once established, Austrian pines are fairly drought-tolerant.
Maintenance and Pruning
As with most trees, you can remove any dead diseased or damaged branches as needed. Otherwise, there should be little pruning involved in the upkeep of your tree unless you need to remove branches over a street or walkway.
Pests and Diseases of Austrian Pine
Some common pests of the Austrian pine include:
- Adelgids (various genera)
- Bark beetles (various genera)
- European pine sawfly (Neodiprion sertifer)
- European Pine shoot moth (Rhyacionia buoliana)
- Pine needle miner (Coleotechnites spp.)
- Pine needle scale (Chionaspis pinifoliae)
- Pine sawyer beetle (Monochamus)
- Pine spittlebug (Aphrophora)
Some diseases that affect the Austrian pine are:
- Diplodia tip blight (caused by Sphaeropsis - quite susceptible in the Eastern United States, so plan with that possibility in mind.)
- Dothistroma needlecast (caused by Dothistroma pini)
- Lophodermium needlecast (caused by Lophodermium seditiosum)
- Pine wilt (caused by Bursaphelenchus xylophilus)