Pinus nigra 'Hornibrookiana'
Common Name: Austrian pine 
Type: Needled evergreen
Family: Pinaceae
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer, Air Pollution

Culture

Grow in deep, moist, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates some drought once established. Also tolerates clay soils. Generally tolerant of urban conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Pinus nigra, commonly called Austrian pine or European black pine, is a medium to large conifer that is native from central and southeastern Europe to western Asia. It grows 40-60’ tall over time (less frequently to 100’). Trees exhibit a dense pyramidal habit in youth. Crown rounds with age forming a spreading flat top or dome. From an ornamental standpoint, older trees can be quite attractive, featuring dense spreading branching, stiff dark green needles (3-6” long) in bundles of two and plate-like, furrowed, dark brown to black bark. Oval, stalkless cones (to 3” long) mature to brown.

Genus name comes from the Latin name for pines.

Specific epithet means black.

‘Hornibrookiana’ is a dwarf selection that grows in a compact spreading mound to 2’ tall and 4-6’ wide over the first 30 years. It features generally horizontal branching with upright branchlets and stiff dark green needles (to 2-3” long) in bundles of two. It was discovered in 1932 as a witches broom on an Austrian pine in Seneca Park in Rochester, New York.

Problems

Notwithstanding the attributes of Austrian pine, its susceptibility to Sphaeropsis (Diplodia) tip blight, particularly in the Midwest, is of such significance that planting it in the St. Louis area is not now recommended. Also susceptible to Dothistroma needle blight. Pine moth and pine wilt nematode may appear.

Garden Uses

Landscape specimen. Foundations. Mass in shrub border. Susceptibility to diseases and insects limits its use in some parts of the U.S. including the St. Louis area.