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Scots PinePinus sylvestris

  • Scots Pine - Pinus sylvestris
  • Scots Pine - Pinus sylvestris

The Scots pine is a beautiful evergreen that is hardy and adaptable to nearly all climates. It can be used as either a windbreak or a single specimen. This tree is also a popular Christmas tree choice because of its form and ability to hold onto its needles for an extended period of time. Because of its reseeding capabilities, the Scots pine is often used for reclamation sites.

Hardiness Zones

The scots pine can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 3–7. View Map

Tree Type

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

Mature Size

The Scots pine grows to a height of around 60' and a spread of around 40' at maturity.

Growth Speed Slow to Medium Growth Rate

This tree grows at a slow to medium rate, with height increases of anywhere from less than 12" to 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 Scots pine grows in acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained and dry soils. It has some drought tolerance.


This tree:
  • Can be used as either a windbreak or single specimen.
  • Adapts to nearly all climates.
  • Is widely used as a Christmas tree because of its excellent form and ability to hold its needles.
  • Features blue-green needles that vary in length, ranging from 1 to 3". Color frequently changes to yellowish-green in the winter.
  • Produces oval, dry brown cones that are 1–3" in length.
  • Grows in an oval, pyramidal shape.
  • Is a good choice for reclamation sites because of its reseeding capabilities.

Wildlife Value

Owls prefer roosting and nesting in large conifers such as the Scots pine, and many mammals and birds consume pine seeds.


The Scots pine was widely planted on old farm fields at the turn of the century. Early farmers were familiar with this species from its growth throughout Europe and knew it could tolerate poor, dry soil. Eventually they found that the trees did not mature into the fine timber stands they envisioned, but often stagnated or had twisted trunks. It was the beginning of the realization that seed sources vary widely and must be matched to the planting site. Today, seed sources are selected with care and varieties of Scots Pine are favored to provide the species' best qualities, especially when planting for the Christmas tree market. In the country of Scotland, the name Scots pine is preferred over the use of the term Scotch pine.