Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Aleppo Pine

A giant.  A monster that dots our skyline next to the mighty Eucalyptus.  A large evergreen tree.  A shedder of needles and pine cones. A tree that makes a bold statement.  The Aleppo pine. This tree can be seen all over Tucson especially at our city parks.  I worked with this tree and around this large desert pine at group homes while I was working on their landscaping.  It physically can take over a backyard and dominate the space.  It's a messy tree that sheds needles and kills any chance of a garden. But you can grow vinca underneath:) However, I do love this pine.  It is one of the very few that do extremely well here in Tucson.  For gardeners, I wouldn't recommend this tree in their immediate landscape.  The East side to Central parts of town went crazy with this pine in the 50's and 60's and today they outweigh our desert natives.  The height on these giants can get up to 50 feet tall or at least 4-5 stories high!!!  These trees make an attractive statement in the Winterhaven neighborhood during our Christmas/Winter celebration.  Lights are hung off of them and they need to have special lifts to get those lights up on the trees.  They are really nice trees, but they need space. If you have a lot of land, I would plant these trees on the outskirts of the property.  I'd make a grove of them as a backdrop, but I'd definitely keep them away from your house....especially if you have a flat roof.  Messy!!  These behemoths can also be dangerous.  I have a post coming up on this in about a week.......fire.  Lightening in the desert is quick and lethal and these trees are often hit along with the tall palms.  If the needles are dry, this pine can light up fast, plus the fire department usually needs a special lift to shoot water into the tree.

I'm not saying the Aleppo Pine is a bad thing.  It really is a lovely tree if placed the right spot.  Our parks look great with them, but I think a little background on these pines will help you make a sound decision.  Do I wish I had lots of land to create more magical gardens?  Absolutely. Yes.  Will you put one in at the El Presidio Garden?  No.  There is no room or space for such a tree.  Here are my Aleppo observations....
-These trees look healthier in Tucson than in Phoenix. They do grow in Phoenix but look a bit shabby during the hot summer months.
-There seems to be a slight decline on some of these trees around town due to a blight or just older
  age.  Here is a quick link for you to read on the APB(Aleppo Pine Blight).
-It's fast growing.
-It also tends to lean due to our strong winds.  Limbs can get extremely heavy.
-Very drought tolerant once established.  Loves sun.
One last note.  I like the word "Aleppo".  It is a city from ancient times and today is located in the country of Syria.  Known in history as the place of the Silk Road, this city today is home to 2.5 million inhabitants. Until tomorrow....

1 comment:

  1. In '96, a small tornado came through my brother's neighborhood in Phoenix, and it ripped his neighbor's Aleppo Pine out of the ground, while he was holding up his fence from it being ripped into his pool. He still ended up cleaning up his fence, and he was lucky it fell away from him!

    Very right - this tree, like all other large trees, is way out of scale unless on an equally large acreage or park! And it grows best in a milder Mediterranean climate, like its homeland.


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