Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris)

BBC Radio Ulster Gardeners Corner visited us in CS Lewis Square this week and commented on the large pine trees being used as the backbone of the new planting there. We used a number of different Pines to create a bit of Narnia but the versatile and native Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine) was one of the first on our planting plan.

Scots pine is an extremely adaptable tree and can be found from the Arctic Circle to Southern Spain. Mature trees can grow up to 35m tall and have been recorded living for over 700 years. Unlike many other pines they grow in many different forms including tall clear stems, bushy feathered specimens and irregular multi-stems.

Photo Credit: Aaron Matchett

The bark is a scaly orange-brown, which becomes more fissured as it gets older and sometimes flakes. The needle-like leaves are blue-green and grow in pairs on short stubs from the sides of the branches. They range in length depending on the age of the tree but are usually around 5cm long.

Photo Credit: Aaron Matchett

Scots pine is grown commercially for timber as it is one of the strongest of the ‘softwoods’. It is widely used in the construction industry and in joinery and have no doubt seen it around the country being used as telegraph poles and fencing posts as well as growing in some of our most beautiful forest parks. This use in construction is partly due to the high resin content of the sap which acts as a natural preservative for the wood.

Where to find it??

Despite these practical applications our Scots pine trees in C.S. Lewis Square are just for show! You will see that they are used as the background to many of the sculptures providing consistent colour all year long. They are also providing screening for some of the more tender and ornamental neighbouring trees.

Photo Credit: Paul Hunter 

Be Part of it…

Do you know your Black pine from your Scots pine? Get down to C.S. Lewis Square and take a look at the different pine needles and bark to see how many different pines trees you can find.