Italian Stone Pine – Juvenile Foliage and Mature Foliage

Q: What is happening to my little Christmas tree? It came from a big box gardening store. Over the summer the branches have sprouted long needles from the short needle branches. Can you suggest what has happened?

A: I’m not going to say how much time I spent chasing this one down….but the “spruce” look of your tree led me down a very blind alley.

At first I thought the situation was simple: a loblolly pine tree seedling sprouted at the base of your small tree.

Instead, after a conversation with the head conifer grower at Monrovia, I discovered that you have an Italian stone pine, Pinus pinea. It has gray spiky juvenile foliage that changes to longer green needles as it ages.

See J. C. Raulston’s slides

and Italian Stone Pine

Italian stone pine - juvenile foliage and mature foliage

Italian stone pine – juvenile foliage and mature foliage

Italian stone pine - juvenile foliage and mature foliage

Italian stone pine – juvenile foliage and mature foliage

Italian stone pine - juvenile foliage and mature foliage

Italian stone pine – juvenile foliage and mature foliage

Italian stone pine - juvenile foliage and mature foliage

Italian stone pine – juvenile foliage and mature foliage

Italian stone pine - juvenile foliage and mature foliage

Italian stone pine – juvenile foliage and mature foliage

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