Austrian pines were introduced to America in 1759. They are such good windbreaks that during the years of the great dust bowl “Shelterbelt” project, more than 217 million Austrian pines were planted across the Great Plains. Austrian pines grow to 60 feet tall and are adaptable to even the worst soil conditions. It’s not hard to maintain Austrian Pines, though they are susceptible to a few common pests, and deer love to eat them. Growing Austrian pines is a task whose rewards far outstrip the effort involved.
Things You'll Need
- PH soil test kit
- Lime or manure
- Pruning shears
Plant young Austrian pines in full sun. Space them at least 8 to 12 feet apart, and set rows 12 to 18 feet apart.
Test the pH of the soil in which your Austrian pine tree is planted in winter, mid-spring, late summer and fall. Austrian pines prefer a soil pH of between 4.5 and 8.0, an unusually wide range. If your soil pH falls below 4.5, it is too acidic and you must add lime. If it is above 8.0, it is too alkaline and requires manure.
Fertilize your tree in mid-spring. The type of fertilizer depends on your pH levels, weather conditions, drainage and soil type, so read the labels on the fertilizer bags until you find the appropriate one.
Prune your Austrian pine in winter, to remove dead branches and to thin out foliage.
Treat tip blight, tip moth and needlecast regularly in mid-spring, late spring and early summer, if your Austrian pines are shown to have any symptoms of these problems. Tip blight is a fungus that attacks trees older than 30 years and under stress. Needlecasts are another group of fungi that attacks older needles growing at the bottom of the tree. Tip moth damage and tip blight damage look a lot alike, so you may have to consult a specialist for a clear diagnosis.
Apply a turpentine beetle preventive spray in early spring, if these bugs are a problem in your area. Spray the trunk directly to discourage the pests.
Mulch the area inside your tree's drip line to help retain moisture and warmth. Renew the mulch in late summer so that the soil beneath the tree will be well-protected in the cooler months.
Tips & Warnings
- Protect your Austrian pine from deer by wrapping any branches within feeding reach in burlap in the fall.
- Never try to treat problems with Austrian pines without knowing for certain what the problem is. Your local nursery can help you find specialists to help.
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