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Plant type

Tree

Size

30 - 112 ft Tall
40 ft Wide

Form

Upright

Growth rate

Fast

Dormancy

Evergreen

Fragrance

Pleasant

Color

Yellow

Flowering season

Summer

Common uses

Bank stabilization, Containers, Hedge

Pinus contorta is a common tree in western North America with the bulk of its population to the north and east of California. Within California it is found primarily in the Sierras, with scattered populations in other mountains. There are three recognized subspecies which can vary greatly in appearance. In the Sierras ssp. Murrayana can be very tall with a straight trunk, consistent with the common name Lodgepole Pine. It is found at elevations from 1,500 ft. to 12,000 ft. Near the coast ssp. contorta can be shrub height with twisted trunk and branches and known as Beach Pine. It is found from sea level to about 2,000 ft. Ssp. bolanderi is a rare species from the coast of Mendocino County northward to Oregon.

Pinus contorta is a moderately important timber wood but not often used in landscaping. The needles are held in bundles of two. The cones of may be of either the closed or open type and remain on the tree for many years. The bark is relatively thin and susceptible to fire.

Sun

Full Sun, Partial Shade

Water

Moderate

Summer irrigation

Max 3x / month once established

Ease of care

Easy

Cold tolerance

Tolerates cold to -20° F

Soil drainage

Fast,Medium,Slow

Soil description

Tolerates a wide variety of soils.
Soil PH: 5.0 - 7.0

Maintenance

Prune in winter when wood boring insects are less active.

Propagation

For propagating by seed: Fresh seeds need no treatment; stored seeds 1 mo. stratification ( USDA Forest Service 1974 ).

In the wild Pinus contorta is found with Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.), Manzanita (Arctostaphylos Klamathensis or nevadensis), Ceanothus cordulatus or velutinus, Bush Chinquapin (Chrysolepis sempervirens), Ocean Spray (Holodiscus discolor), Juniperus spp., Honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.), Currant/Gooseberry (Ribes spp.), and Huckleberry (Vaccinum spp.)

Bush Chinquapin

Chrysolepis sempervirens

Ocean Spray

Holodiscus discolor

Caterpillars
Pollinators

Butterflies and moths supported

38 confirmed and 66 likely

Confirmed Likely

Acleris bowmanana

Common Gray|Cranberry Spanworm

Anavitrinella pampinaria

Argyrotaenia dorsalana

Orange Tortrix Moth

Argyrotaenia franciscana

Site type

Settings range from the low elevation, wind-swept north coast to the high elevation forests of the Sierras.

Plant communities

Closed-cone Pine Forest, Coastal Strand, Wetland-Riparian,