Columnar Scotch Pine - Added - April 2023

There comes a time in the Spring when the allure of the big box nursery becomes too strong.  Normally...I can rely on my 'plan' and walk away without buying things that don't have a home.  But, when I came face-to-face with this pallet of (what I'll call) unique evergreen trees ( the *very least*...these are unique for big box stores), I was smitten.  There were like five different conifers - each with some unique characteristic.  Upright, golden, columnar, weeping.  Just...*chef's kiss*.

They were all priced the same, but the one that I was most drawn-to was this one below:

A closer look at the tag reveals what it is (photo below):  Pinus sylvestris - Scotch Pine Columnar.


You have my attention.

A little look around the Web reveals the true name for this tree:  Pinus sylvestris 'Fastigiata'.  Utah State has one in their arboretum.  They describe it like this:  "This Scotch Pine is a tall and narrow pine. Like other Scotch Pines, its needles are twisted and are a blue-green color with a well-defined stomatal line."

A wonderfully distinctive evergreen tree, featuring showy orange bark when mature. A strong central leader and a narrowly upright and columnar growth habit. excellent as a tall screen, a vertical accent, or as a feature tree in smaller home landscapes.

Wonderfully distinctive.  Showy orange bark.  Strong central leader.  Narrowly upright.  Columnar growth habit.  Tall Screen.  Vertical accent.  Feature tree.  In smaller home landscapes. was meant to be.  The tree was ours - thanks to a gift. 

Now...let's talk about a few things here. 2023 to-do list starts with adding evergreens.  This is an evergreen, so...check.  And #21 is to keep planting trees.  Check number two.  

But....if we're looking back through the garden diary, I don't have the best track record with conifers.  I've fallen in love with unique evergreen trees before.  And have been burned.

I tried a Japanese White Pine.  It didn't make it

I planted a Fraser Fir.  It died very quickly.

I planted a number of tiny Canadian Hemlocks.  A bunch of them died

I tried a weeping Cedar.  It, too, didn't make it

I planted a Weeping White Spruce.  It hasn't died, but it suffered.  

I tried a Dwaft Alberta Spruce.  It didn't make it.

This past Winter, I appear to have lost a couple of Green Giant Thujas.  (more on these soon)

So, you might be wondering...what is going to make this tree - a columnar Scotch Pine - different?  I'm actually not sure.  But, that doesn't mean I'm not going to try.

I dug it a nice hole and put it in along the south fence line.  This area gets morning sun - in between the houses - and I placed it close to the fence to serve as a background to some flowering shrubs.  There are a number of things around it - like Yews and Grasses.  I figured...I'm NOT going to disturb those right now - lets see if this tree makes it first. 

This is the first tree planted in 2023.  And 2023 marks my seventh tree-planting season.

The Columnar Scotch Pine is the 78th tree planted - the most recent was the Triumph Elm last Fall.  

There are some dead trees that I need to round up, but for now...I'm not counting anything dead this season.  That means, since 2017, we (now) have 57 of 78 trees that we've planted.

78 trees planted/7 growing seasons = 11.14 trees on average planted each season
57 trees alive/7 growing seasons = 8.14 trees on average survive each season.

All of those numbers above will drop when I include the losses from this past Winter.

Here's the full accounting:

2017 (9 planted. 4 Dead. 5 of the original annual total alive now):
1. Flowering Pear in backyard on north side.
2. Flowering Pear in front yard by garage. (LOST and replaced)
3. Japanese flowering cherry
4 and 5: 2 Lindens that I espalier'd and placed by the south fence line near our kitchen windows.
6. A Dawn Redwood from Earth Day 2017 (LOST and replaced)
7. Nat's Saucer Magnolia in our front yard
8. A Corkscrew Willow all the way in the back (LOST)
9. A Crimson King Norway Maple near the trampoline

2018 (17 planted. 6 Dead):
10. Another flowering pear from Earth Day 2018
11. Red Maple Sun Valley tree from Earth Day 2018.
12. Weeping Cedar tree - our first evergreen.  (LOST)
13. The weeping flowering cherry tree that the Babe planted for Earth Day 2018.
14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21. These Frans Fontaine Hornbeams
22. A replacement Chanticleer Pear tree (3" caliper) out front by our garage
23. Our second evergreen - a short Fraser Fir Christmas Tree out by the trampoline. (LOST)
24. This Canadian Hemlock that is the first of nine that our landscape plan calls for in the backyard. (LOST)
25. Our replanted/replacement Dawn Redwood. Same spot as the first.
26. This teeny-tiny Bald Cypress that I planted in the front yard, in between our driveway and our neighbor to the north.

2019 (9 planted.  5 Dead):
27, 28, 29.  A set of three small Canadian Hemlock Trees in our far backyard. (Two Lost)
30, 31, 32.  This second set of three small Canadian Hemlocks along the north fence line. (One Lost)
33.  My new Weeping White Spruce that will only grow about 4' wide placed near the fence line alongside the espalier'd Lindens.
34.  A NEW Dwarf Alberta Spruce planted near the south fence line.  Our first "dwarf" tree.
35.  This new Hakuro Nishiki Willow (Dappled Willow) tree planted close to the flowering cherry on the southside.  LOST - October 2020.

37.  A very thin Lombardy Poplar tree - columnar form - in the way back wood chip area.  LOST - July 2020.
38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45.  These apple trees in a Belgian Fence espalier.
46.  A small Northern Red Oak tree - our first Oak tree planted.
47.  A 'decapitated' Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud that I planted on a whim.
48.  A replacement (from the nursery) Lavender Twist Redbud planted close to the brother.
49.  A tall(ish) London Plane tree that suffered some transplant and frost shock, but seemed to recover. 
50.  Our second contorted tree - this one inspired by Disneyland Paris: a Harry Lauder's Walking Stick tree.
51.  Our third contorted tree - but one that checks A LOT of boxes.  Deciduous conifer.  Weeping.  Contorted.  Japanese.  Planted behind the front Maple - the Horstmann's Recursive Weeping Contorted Larch.  LOST - Aug 2020.
52.  Via the Morton Arboretum Plant Sale - a columnar tree from Japan - the Red Fox Katsura Tree that I planted as an understory tree to the dying Chanticleer Pear Tree next to our driveway. 

2021 (16 planted and 16 alive):
53.  A tiny bareroot Shagbark Hickory from the Benet Academy Environmental Club planted in the backyard.   
55.  A large Weeping Nootka Falsecypress from Wannemaker's planted in the new bed on the northside. 
56.  A long-sought-after Emperor I Japanese Maple - our second Japanese Maple - that is now planted on the border near our new-to-be-created fire pit area in the backyard. 
59.  A dwarf Japanese White Pine - Pinus Parviflora Nana (or perhaps something else)
64.  A second, tiny Ginko tree - this was a replacement for #62 - planted 'ib2dw'.
65.  A small - and ALL Green - Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) planted in front of the back Yews.
66. 67. 68.  A trio of London Planetree 'Bloodgood' trees that are planted along the fence that I'm going to attempt to pleach.

2022 (9 planted and 9 alive):
69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. Six Green Giant Thujas trees planted as an upright evergreen layer in the backyard. Thuja standishii plicata.
75. A small Saratoga Ginko tree planted in our front yard by the front walk.
76.  A London Planetree Exclamation planted in our parkway.  A bandit tree of sorts.

2023 (1 planted and 1 alive):
78.  Small, Columnar Scotch Pine from Home Depot in early Spring 2023. 


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