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Thread: Italian Stone Pine Care!

  1. #1
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    Italian Stone Pine Care!

    I just liberated a droopy Italian Stone Pine from a post Christmas sale at Sam's Club.
    I have found that it cannot handle the cold that we experience here in New Jersey in winter
    and would like to get some feedback as to how to care for it over the remainder of winter either
    indoor in a cool room (50-60 degrees F) or in an unheated garage with a window.
    I tend to think the garage is too cold for it as well as outside as it gets into the 20's there as well.
    Does anyone have any experience with this tree indoors? I will continue to find out how to deal
    with it over time but need some immediate feedback on care at this time.
    It was a bit dry and I flushed it twice with water and it drained well. I also soaked the foliage. I
    don't think it's in too bad condition now.......just need some after care for now.
    Regards,
    Len

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    I can't comment on winter care of this pine, but I do know that it is not a favorite for bonsai. I've seen one or two good examples, but it has leggy branches and is a challenge. Good luck!
    Central Coast of California

  3. #3
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    Well I'll deal with those issues if and when I get it through the winter and into a pot.
    I've decided on an unheated garage with insulation around it's pot. I will put the pot it's in
    in a larger pot and pack turface around the smaller pot to insulate it. Hope it works.
    Regards,
    Len

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    I've got an Italian Stone Pine from a christmas sale as well, a few years ago.
    After working with it for over 4 years, it seems like an easy material to work with (in spite of the opposite that I am hearing from others). So far, it back-budded easily when I pruned it back hard, and responded to everything I did with it.

    The more serious challenge will start when it looses the juvenile needles and starts sending out the long mature ones. Right now it's a mixed bag, most needles are the short, juvenile variety, but the long ones started coming out.

    But this is California, and they love it here. I can't give advice on how to grow them in Jersey.

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    Stone Pine is a poor choice for bonsai on the East Coast. Overwintering is the biggest obstacle.

    Stone pine is a Mediterranean species like Pomegranate. It can't take the deep, prolonged cold here--unless you live near the ocean--in which case it might work as a landscape plant.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stone_Pine

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    The problem with growing these on the East Coast is that just keeping them alive is not nearly enough.

    When creating any kind of bonsai, a tree has to respond to bonsai techniques. In order to do that, the tree has to be in top condition: very healthy and vigorous.

    The cold environment is stressful to the Stone Pine. In addition, the bonsai techniques add another level of stress. This can slowly weaken the tree, and the decline can take years.

    So, before you do anything, you need to make sure that the plant is very healthy and growing, not just surviving.

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    Unfortunately, the garage will probably kill the tree too. I doubt the species has developed any need for dormancy which means it's probably growing. The lack of light in the garage will prevent that...

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockm View Post
    Unfortunately, the garage will probably kill the tree too. I doubt the species has developed any need for dormancy which means it's probably growing. The lack of light in the garage will prevent that...
    Yes, my stone pine grows year-round. In winter it only slows down, but still growing.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockm View Post
    Unfortunately, the garage will probably kill the tree too. I doubt the species has developed any need for dormancy which means it's probably growing. The lack of light in the garage will prevent that...
    Well, I've re-hydrated it. It looks very nice now. I've acclimated it in a cool room and insulated it and it's now in the garage for better or worse. Victrinia Ridgeway has guided me through the process and I'm hoping for the best. Many of the articles read say it's OK down into the 20's if given protection so we'll see. It's in a south facing window in the garage.
    One thing for sure. If I'd left it in Sam's it would be dead for sure and for the cost of a couple of bucks I might save it and have a nice tree to work with in the fall.
    I'll let you know.
    Regards,
    Len

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