Scotch Pine Growing Profile

The Proper Latin Name is Pinus sylvestris

Scots pine in flowering common gorse
James Warwick/The Image Bank/Getty Images

The Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris) can be found in many places throughout the world. In fact, it holds the title for the most widely distributed pine tree. The Scotch pine is also the most popular choice for a Christmas tree. Learn the facts on growing this pine in your landscape.

Latin Name

This tree has been named Pinus sylvestris and can be found in the Pinaceae family.

Common Names

This is known as Scotch pine or Scots pine.

USDA Hardiness Zones

Pinus sylvestris can be grown in USDA Zones 2-8.

Size and Shape

The Scotch pine will grow 30 to 70' tall and 25 to 30' wide, with an irregular shape.


Plant in a location that receives full sun. The tree will languish in shady areas.


The needles come in sets of 2 per fascicle. Each needle can be anywhere from 1.5" to 4" long.

The Scotch pine is monoecious. As with other conifers, this tree has special reproductive parts called strobili. The female strobili becomes the cone. The brown cones are 1 to 3" long and feature diamond-shaped scales.

Design Tips

The bark is a lovely shade of cinnamon throughout much of the tree, which can add interest year-round. The bottom bark is gray or red.

The Scotch pine is a good choice for a location with clay soil. It also offers drought and salt tolerance.

Growing Tips

This tree is versatile and can live in many different kinds of soils and climates.

It prefers acidic soils but can tolerate soil that is slightly alkaline. The Scotch pine is propagated by seeds.

Maintenance and Pruning

Scotch pine will not need much pruning if any. You can take out any branches that are dead, diseased or damaged.

Pests and Diseases

Unfortunately, there are a number of pests that attack the Scotch pine.

They include:

  • Pine spittlebug (Aphrophora parallela)
  • European pine sawfly (Neodiprion sertifer)
  • Pine root collar weevil (Hylobius radicis)
  • Giant conifer aphid (Cinara spp.)
  • Pine needle scale (Chionaspis pinifoliae)
  • White pine weevil (Pissodes strobi)
  • Pine root tip weevil (Hylobius rhizophagus)
  • Zimmerman pine moth (Dioryctria zimmermani)

Pine grosbeaks (Pinicola enucleator) and porcupines may also cause damage.

Other problems include scleroderris canker, Lophodermium needlecast, severe injuries to foliage in winter, Western gall rust and brown spot needle disease.