How Monterey Pine is grown
The Monterey pine (Pinus radiata D. Don) is a tree of the Pinaceae family, native to the coasts of California, south of San Francisco (Monterey Bay). This plant was introduced in Europe in the mid-nineteenth century and is grown in the parks and gardens of mild areas. It is used in reforestation of the warm areas of Western Europe.
The reproductive structures of this plant are oblong male cones at the base of the young shoots; the female ones are globose, then ovoid, asymmetrical. The pine cones have a short peduncle, 8-15 cm long, in groups of 1-3, ovate-conical and pointed; resinous, glossy brown in color and remain closed on the tree for a few years.
The Monterey Pine is a plant that can be grown in Italy only for ornamental purposes, between 0 and 1200 meters above sea level.
This plant prefers light or medium-textured soils, well drained, siliceous and deep, in warm, temperate climates; moreover, it does not tolerate intense frost or excessive dryness when it is young; for this reason it is best to cultivate it in hilly environments sheltered from strong winds, in humid sites and in full sun. On the other hand, it tolerates marine exposures and brackish winds well.
This plant propagates by seed which must be sown immediately after harvesting or in late winter, in individual pots in order not to risk damaging the young plants with repotting.
To help germination, it is recommended to carry out a cold stratification at 4 ° C for six weeks, after which one or two seasons are waited before proceeding with the planting in the final position.
The plant tolerates transplants badly, especially when it exceeds 90-100 cm in height. You can also proceed by cutting but in this case, given the slow growth of Pinus radiata, the results are not satisfactory.
Pinus radiata is a plant that can be inserted in vile or medium-large gardens, where fast tree growth is important and is very ornamental in winter gardens, against the background of heather carpets, next to broad-leaved branches or with interesting barks, such as Cornus and birch trees.
Pinus radiata, as mentioned, can also be used in reforestation in coastal areas, but in this sense, with the increasing need to respect the natural formations of habitats, its use is not recommended.
It should also be remembered that, as for other pines, even in the case of Pinus radiata the rain washes away substances that inhibit the germination of seeds from the needles, so growing other plants, especially a lawn, under its foliage is not immediate. For this reason, acidophilic and shadowy plants such as hydrangeas, azaleas, hostas, etc. should be placed under these plants.
Pinus radiata, thanks to its rapid growth, has been used in reforestation along the coasts (often inappropriately), without obtaining great results, apart from the Sardinian coasts. For this reason its use is to be limited to parks and gardens where it plays a more ornamental role.