As depicted in the map above, in Europe, the Austrian pine extends from longitude 5° W. in Spain and Morocco to 40°E in Turkey as well as from latitude 35° N. in Morocco to 48° in NE Austria and 45°N latitude in Crimea. In the US, the Austrian pine grows in Hardiness Zones 4-7, which includes Nova Scotia, southern Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, southern Ontario, Michigan, northern Indiana, northern Illinois, Wisonsin, Iowa, northern Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Montana, southwestern Alberta, and central BC. Its ideal conditions include full sun (i.e. at least six hours of direct sunlight per day) as well as normal moisture in the soil. The Austrian pine prefers cool to cold temperate climates. These trees can withstand temperatures of -30°C and annual precipitation of 610 to 1020 mm. Austrian pines can withstand weight from ice and can carry on photosynthesis at -5°C and respiration at -19°C. The Austrian pine is very hardy in that it has adapted to a large variety of soil types and topographic habitats. It can grow in acidic, alkaline, loamy, sandy, clay, and even well drained soils. It does, however, require a deep soil. Moreover, it has some drought tolerance. In Europe, Austrian pine exists in elevations that range from 250 to 1800 m (820 to 5,910 ft). As mentioned above, in the US, Austrian pine has seen major introduction in the Northeastern States as well as in the Great Plains region. In the Northeast, soils of high pH have allowed the tree to see particular success. In the Great Plains, the Austrian pine has shown the best survival, height, vigor and crown development in deep, well-drained, loamy regions along river lowlands and stream valleys.
Origin, history, and uses:
The Austrian pine is native to Austria, northern Italy and (formerly known) Yugoslavia. It was introduced to the US in 1759, and has served as a landscape tree as well as a working tree that restores strip mines and other scarred land by stabilizing soil and shielding against the wind. (Arbor day foundation) More than 217 million Austrian pines were planted in the US during the great dust bowl shelterbelt project. Many trees were also planted on the treeless Great Plains in the early 1900’s to offer protection from the wind and snow. Austrian pines are also used as timber-producing trees. It has also seen increased use in urban and industrial environments as improvement plantings because of its rapid growth rate and insensitivity to various pollutants, such as salt spray, industrial dust, dry soil, and smoke. Finally, the Austrian pine is also an important wildlife habitat.
The Austrian pine is an evergreen tree. Thus, it bears leaves all year round. The Austrian pine is a monoecious species, with staminate and ovulate structures separate but on the same tree. Staminate strobili are found at the base of new shoots and are short-stalked, cylindrical and bright yellow with many scales. From terminal and lateral branches, one or two ovulate strobili grow in the form of cylindrical, small, bright red, and sessile conelets. Pollen dispersal occurs from May to June. Although conelet receptivity occurs for the same duration, individual ovulates are capable of receiving pollen for ~ 3 days. Once their pollen has been dispersed, staminate strobili dry out and fall. Following a few days after pollination, the ovulate strobili scales will close to initate a slow developmental process. Fertilization occurs about 13 months after pollination in the spring or summer of the second growing season. Seeds are dispersed from the months of October to November following fertilization in the second growing season.