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.