Garden Inventory is a series where I begin an inventory of all the plants and trees in my garden. Along with some of my own pictures, I will link to various sources of information about each plant and tree so we can learn a little more together.

I would also like to highlight your special plants and tress. Pass along your favorite plants in the comments and I will use them for future Garden Inventory posts. — Douglas

Garden Inventory: Black Pine (Pinus nigra)

“Pinus nigra is a tree of the Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biome. The majority of the range is in Turkey. It is found in the higher elevations of the South Apennine mixed montane forests ecoregion in southern Italy and the Tyrrhenian-Adriatic sclerophyllous and mixed forests ecoregion in Sicily. There are remnant populations in the Mediterranean conifer and mixed forests ecoregion, and in the higher Atlas Mountains in Morocco and Algeria.” —

My Black Pines are tiny little things, compared to their wild brothers. They have been kept heavily pruned over the years, first by the previous owners of this property and now by me. I describe it almost as a “bonsai” method applied to mature trees. I prune them specifically for a gnarled and weathered look and this keeps them fairly small. They do get a bit bushy at times, so about every 2 years I prune them back again. I have about 7 of these pines in the garden and I do like the way they look when pruned like this.

I think the previous owners were going for Japanese theme in the garden, but the Japanese Black Pine, traditionally found in Japanese Gardens are a different species, Pinus thunbergii, I believe. From my browsing through photos online, they seem to have a different needle and growing habit. They are also used as the pine for traditional bonsai pruning style.

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Photos of Black Pine (Pinus nigra) with closeups of needles, branches, trunk and bark

Here is a video I did back in August 2012 on how I prune these trees in the garden

More information on Black Pine (Pinus nigra):


Previously on Garden Inventory: