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A nursery in my area happens to sell a rare kind of pine: Pinus pinea (also known as umbrella pine, parasol pine, or stone pine). I a kind of fell in love with this plant: it is a gorgeous kind of pine, well known as a symbol of city of Rome, and also known as a tree that produces "pignoli" - an exotic extremely nutritious seed used as human food, and often served in upscale restaurants. No need to mention its uncanny magnificent look.

So, naturally, I would like to grow it in my climate zone 8a, but I found very conflicting information on the net and elsewhere about its hardiness. Do you have by any chance additional info/experience on that subject?

Just for illustration, a photo with a group of Pinus pineas in the background: (photo credit: Wikiwand)

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Also, here is the natural distribution map of Pinus pinea:

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    I went to try to find the USDA zone equivalent to the Mediterranean. I would think 8a would be fine...for this tree. This isn't a rare tree in the Mediterranean as I read it has become 'invasive'?? Over planted? Beautiful none the less! Where do you live and what is your micro climate like? Where is my Western Sunset book? – stormy Nov 13 '17 at 21:56
  • @stormy Maybe it is overplanted in Rome and in Spain, where the climate is right, but it is very rare in Romania, where I live, near city of Craiova. I never happened to see the tree here and I just heard there ara several healthy ones in other cities, but they are all much (more than twice) smaller than ones in Mediteranian region. My microclimate is windy, – VividD Nov 13 '17 at 22:37
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    Shoot, I think wind is lovely for these trees, that is why they have the form they have; windswept? I read that this pine does well in the Pacific Northwest. That is zone 5 and 6. Very wet. I didn't mean to be mean saying it was over planted in Rome and Spain...grins! This is one hardy tree! Trees in cultivation are always smaller than trees in their natural habitat. That nursery should know more if they want to sell you a tree! Is it in a pot? How long has it been in a pot? Is it B&B? Balled and burlapped? Is it just a seedling? What warranty do they offer? How big are their trees? – stormy Nov 13 '17 at 22:49
  • @stormy All I know is that they say they sell 4 Ft specimen. I don't doubt they will tell me that they Can be grown Here, but should I believe it? Windswept look would be gorgeous. I am conteplating planting it at the place where it can be seen against horizon, looking from the patio – VividD Nov 13 '17 at 23:00
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    That is what I would do, I can see it clearly. Where is it that you live? 4' will be triple that in 5 years...maybe. How different are you from the Mediterranean, soil pH? If you are in zone 8 I would love to tell you to DO IT. How much do they cost? $50 or $500 each? If $50, I'd get 3 or 4 and do a grouping. If one dies you won't notice so much. Are you near salt water or fresh water or no water bodies? Gotta know where you live... – stormy Nov 14 '17 at 1:36
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I think it is possible. You should just find a good place.

Near my home (on the other side of the valley) there is two trees (more than 40 years old). Windy situation and not the best place, but in Zone 8b (European standard, so not very continental climate). It seems just that it is not growing fast, but many conifers are so.

It seems that Kew gardens (London, UK) have various large P. pinea trees.

Pinus genre is usually a very strong: it can lives on most extreme situations (it is one of the most adaptable tree). Just it is slow and so not very competitive, so it growth naturally just were other trees give up.

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  • I am very encouraged by the fact that there are several successful ones in London! After reading your answer, I found a lot of interesting data on the net about Key Gardens umbrella pines, and in general about this kind of pine. Thanks! – VividD Nov 14 '17 at 12:45
  • I found out three specimen in a private yard 60km away. They are 20, 30 and 30 years old, and 5m, 7m and 7.5m high. Two of them have friut! – VividD Dec 13 '17 at 17:56
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Yes, Pinus pinea will grow in zone 8 (minimum temperature from -6.7°C to -12.1°C or 19.9°F to 10.2°F), as stated in Conifer Cold Hardiness, section 1, chapter 'Frost Resistance and the Distribution of Conifers' by Bannister and Neuner, page 16, because it stands a minimum temperature of -16°C or 3.2°F.

Unfortunately, this tree will not survive in Craiova, zone 6 (not 8a), where you plan to grow it (look for Bucharest), because temperature in January often goes below -16°C or 3.2°F, or at least it did in the last three winters. Even if this temperature won't be reached for a few years in a row, taking in consideration the life span of Pinus pinea we can expect at least one more winter with this low temperature. For reference I provide a link to Climat report where hovering above an acronym will show details to measurements made.

In case you still want to grow Pinus pinea in that location, I recommend that you plant it from seed so that it acclimatises as much as possible, plant it in a sheltered spot near a fence, wall, etc. and protect it during days with exterem temperatures with Christmas lights and textile cover, horticultural fleece or whatever you find convenient.

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Inspired by @Giacomo Catenazzi's answer, I searched for specimens of Pinus pinea outside its natural geographic range. Here is a couple of interesting trees that I found: (they are more than 100 years old)


Santa Barbara, California, United States

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Bodysgallen Hall Hotel in Llandudno Junction, Wales, United Kingdom

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  • Yeah, but Santa Barb sounds like the right hardiness zone, something like 10? Wales is also higher than your 8a zone, isn't it? – benn Nov 15 '17 at 15:06
  • Yes, it is, but still outside the native climate. @b.nota – VividD Nov 15 '17 at 15:07
  • You can try it indeed, like Giacomo points out nicely, probably without natural competition it will work! – benn Nov 15 '17 at 15:09

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