Pine trees are among the hardiest species of trees—and there are roughly 35 species that are native to North America. It’s a favorite tree for many (think of Christmas trees), but they also have practical uses beyond aesthetics—they make great windbreaks. Or they can simply be a great addition to a residential yard or business property. Whether there are already pre-existing Oregon pines on the property or your goal is to plant pine trees, there are a handful of things to take into consideration when taking care of or planting Oregon pines.
A View From the Top
Pine trees are an amazing species of tree: they grow around the world and can survive in some of the coldest places on earth. They can be found on every continent in the higher altitudes and colder climates. Due to the fact that they are evergreens, they stay sturdy and strong, even in the winter. It can be during some of these extremely cold months when they are most appreciated. As deciduous trees lose their leaves and only bare branches are left in the winter, it’s always nice to see the height, width, and fullness of a pine.
If there is plenty of space on the property, then there is no real need for pines to be trimmed or pruned, as they will naturally grow tall, and they will retain their natural shape. There are, however, some instances where branches should be pruned and trimmed back. Keep in mind, it’s best to prune a pine in the dry winter months. Also, remember that it can be lethal to top a tree. Topping a tree is when the whole top part of the pine is cut off, and this can expose the tree to diseases and pests. This is not something that should be done to a pine. For more tips on the best pine tree care, continue reading.
Oregon Pine Tree Care
Naturally, if there is a pine tree growing on a smaller property, there will be a need to trim and prune the tree so it doesn’t grow too close to your house or your neighbors’. There are also other circumstances when you should prune a pine.
Although they are generally more hearty trees, they can still fall victim to thrashing winds and wild storms. Should branches be broken or other parts of the tree be damaged, it’s imperative that these parts get trimmed quickly. If that part of the tree falls, there is the potential for someone to get badly hurt or property to be damaged.
It’s best to quickly get the damaged parts of the tree trimmed. Proper pruning techniques for a pine dictate that the wounded part be pruned at the collar of the branch, where it attaches to the trunk. The reason for trimming the branch there, as opposed to just where the damaged part is, has to do with the shape of the tree over time. After some time, trimming only the broken portion will leave the tree looking misshapen and stunted.
A common issue with pines is that their branches can grow quite close together. When this happens, the branches might rub together, scraping away the bark and making the tree more susceptible to pests and disease. In an instance like this, it’s important to trim damaged branches at the collar and remove them completely.
Other Pine Tree Care Issues
If you’re looking to bulk up the look of the pine tree, then there is a technique called candling. Pinching the tips of the new growth in the springtime can help make a pine tree look denser over time. It’s best to not use shears, as the shears will cut some of the needles in the process, turning them brown. This technique is best done by hand.
Pine Tree Diseases and Diagnoses
In addition to pine needles turning brown from being cut, there is an annual shedding period in the fall. It’s normal for the needles to brown and then shed. However, if there wasn’t any damage to the tree or its needles, and it’s not autumn, but the needles are still browning (especially on the lower half of the tree), it’s important to find out what is afflicting the tree.
Common Reasons for Pine Needle Browning Include:
- Disease: Browning on the lower branches can signify a fungal infection. There are fungal infections that start at the tip of the tree and move inward along the branches (such as a Diplodia sapinea infection). The diseased parts should be cut out, and a fungicide can be used until the new needles have come in fully. This should be done in spring.
- Insufficient water: If the tree isn’t getting enough water, then it might be in survival mode, keeping the overall tree alive instead of the lower branches. A good solution for this problem is to install a deep root system for watering the roots so that the tree is fully hydrated.
- Insufficient sunlight: Pay attention to other nearby trees and make sure they aren’t crowding the pine tree and preventing the lower branches from getting sunlight. If this is the case, trim back the other trees accordingly.
- Contamination: In the winter when de-icer is being used on the driveway or walkways, it’s important that the salt mixture doesn’t get on the tree, as it can kill the tree. If this is what seems to be happening, avoid using salt on the driveway next to the tree.
Pine trees are quintessential to myriad people around the world. Oregon pines are particularly treasured in our region, and it’s important to care for them as best as possible so they can continue to stand tall, lush, and dense. If you have any questions or concerns about the pine trees in your life, then Mr. Tree is just a phone call away. Reach out to us and let us help you make sure your pines are in their healthiest condition.