This small, very long-lived and slow-growing pine is perfectly adapted to dry, high altitude mountain communities throughout the western United States where soils are thin and moisture scant. A native of the high country of western Colorado, northern New Mexico, and northern Arizona, it is best known for its very long lifespan and the twisted, gnarled form of older specimens. Some specimens are more than 2000 years old. The most ancient bristlecone trees (approaching 5000 years old) belong to Pinus longaeva, a former subspecies of P. aristata.
Bristlecone pine's short, sharp needles are borne in groups of five and flecked with white resin. They can be held for many years leading to a dense canopy. This tree is conical and quite bushy in youth, but drought and excessive snowfall causes mature specimens to gnarled and weathered over time. It bears its seed in small oblong dark purple-brown cones, which are bristled.
Slow growth makes this a popular pine for containers and bonsai. It’s a good choice for planting in ski resort communities. Bristlecone thrives in cool climates at any elevation, but is best adapted to the Intermountain West. (info source: Learn2grow.com)
Genus - Pinus
Species - Aristata
Common name - Bristlecone Pine
Pre-Treatment - Required
Hardiness zones - 5 - 7
Height - 20'-40' / 6m - 12m
Spread - 10'-20' / 3m - 6m
Plant type - Tree
Vegetation type - Evergreen
Exposure - Full Sun, Partial Sun
Growth rate - Slow
Soil PH - Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil type - Clay, Loam, Sand, Well Drained
Water requirements - Drought Tolerant, Average Water
Landscape uses - Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier
Germination rate - 70%
Leaf / Flower color - Dark Green / --
|Germination||1. Place the seeds in a container with tepid water and soak them for 24 hours. Change the water and wait another 24 hours.|
2. Put the seeds in a small plastic bag and cover with damp sand. Place the bag holding the seeds in the refrigerator for one to two months to stratify the seeds, which is preserving seeds in layers of moisture-laden peat, soil or sand. Check the sand and water as needed to maintain moisture. Don't allow the seeds to get soaked.
3. Fill small pots with compost. Place one or two pine seeds on top of the compost in each pot, then cover the seeds with a thin layer of sand.
4. Water the sand and compost to add moisture, then place the pots in a warm, sunny location. As the seedlings emerge and grow, the soil needs to remain moist, not wet.
5. Repot the pine trees into medium-sized pots in the fall. Grow them in the pots for the following season until they are large and strong enough for transplanting into the landscape.