The Pencil pines is a name given to a number of tall narrow growing or ‘upright’ conifers. And the list includes not only the well known Cupressus semervirens ‘Glauca’ or Italian pencil pine but also Athrotaxis cupressoides, a native Australian species from Tasmania.
The name applies to a group of tall narrow growing conifers and the pencil pines are valued in landscaping to this upright habit that adds strong architectural line to landscaping projects as well as providing a natural solution for screening or hedging in narrow confines.
Varieties differ in foliage colour final diameter and estimated height. Height will differ according to climate, soil conditions and individual cultivar.
Growth rate and final height will differ with species and from cultivar to cultivar as will other aspects such as final width and root systems.
In general these upright conifers, or pencil pines require little care and pruning, removing top growth to limit height can create multiple leaders and destroy the natural symmetry of the tree.
Pencil Pines – Basic Care
Although these are a very hardy tree once established, with a little care when planting they will perform much better.
They do like a position in full sun, and like most conifer trees prefer a slightly acidic soil. They need good drainage and a little care when first planting and over the first few summers.
- Position – Full Sun.
- Soil – Humus rich well drained.
- Stake young trees to ensure strong upright growth.
- Before planting dig in some well rotted compost and aged cow manure, dig the hole twice as big as the container so that the roots have good soil to grow into.
- Backfill with good quality soil.
- Water in well with a liquid seaweed fertiliser.
- Mulch around new plants.
- Water through the first few summers.
- Fertilise with a general purpose fertiliser in spring.
Pencil Pine Varieties.
- Cupressus semervirens ‘Glauca’ or Italian pencil pine
- Cupressus sempervirens ‘Stricta’
- Cupressus sempervirens ‘Swanes Golden’
- Cupressus sempervirens ‘Nitschke’s needle’
- Juniperus scopulorum ‘Blue Arrow’
- Juniperus virginiana ‘Spartan’
- Juniperus virginiana ‘Skyrocket’
- Athrotaxis cupressoides