scots pine

scots pine defined in 1944 year

scots pine - Scots Pine;
scots pine - (Pinus sylvestris L.) G. Föhre, Forle, Forche, or Kiefer; F. Pinasse, Sapin rouge; W. Pinwydden; E. Giumais; Gaelic Giuthais; A.-S. Fuhr; Danish, Fyr; Scots, Fir.

The name of " Scots Pine " is preferred by many botanists, foresters, and nurserymen, as being more explicit than the name of Fir. The latter, however, has an interesting history and as it is in constant daily use in Scotland, where the tree is native, and has been used by many writers, including Burns, must be regarded as an equally correct and older name for the tree under discussion.

In modern German, the equivalent name " Föhre " is only applied to trees of this genus (Pinus). An older Teutonic equivalent gave rise to the German word " Forst meaning a tract of land covered by fir trees. From this our English word " forest " is derived, via the French "forêt”. All other " firs " such as the " Silver Firs are only so named by analogy with this true fir.

The Scots Pine may be distinguished from most other 2-needled pines by its rather short needles, which in healthy trees are blue- green in colour. When the trees are not thriving, or are "in check " after transplanting, the needles may be pale green or yellow, and in such cases are even shorter. The buds are typical - red- brown, resinous, long cylinders, ending in a blunt conical point. The cones are of medium size, with small knobs or umbos, and taper gradually towards their apex. The bark is reddish, becoming thick and flaky, with deep fissures at the base of the trunk. Towards the summits of mature trees a beautiful pale red bark is developed; this feature, which shows to great advantage when the trunks are caught by the setting sun, making a strong contrast with the blue- black foliage above, is seen in no other pine.

Seedlings and leaf-sprays are best identified by the terminal buds.

As a wild tree the range of Scots Pine is very wide. It penetrates to the tree-line of the polar regions from Norway to Siberia, tanging southwards to the mountains of Persia, across Russia to the Balkans and the Alps, the mountains of Auvergne and the Pyrenees, and even farther south into Spain. It is found throughout Scotland, but appears to have been introduced into southern Britain, where it is naturalised. Over so wide an area, local races have naturally developed, the true Scottish forms being amongst the most highly valued for timber. Natural forests in Scotland are now limited to a few small areas in the remoter Highlands, over-felling and lack of protection from deer and grazing animals having been responsible for their decline.

Scots Pine attains its best development on dry and sandy oils, being often found in association with heather, heaths and bilberries. But it is extremely tolerant in its soil requirements and will grow on clays, loams, peats, and even on chalk, though on this last soil it cannot be expected to attain maturity unless a good depth of surface loam is present. It will live, but not thrive, on waterlogged soils, where it cannot grow beyond a stunted bush. Its soil tolerance is dependent on adequate drainage being present, for whilst it will thrive either in high rainfall areas or on dry peats, it cannot succeed where the peats occur under conditions of heavy rain which keep them sodden. In some parts of Scotland the peat bogs consequently encroach upon and finally engulf the pine forests.

Scots Pine is strongly resistant to damage by frost, drought, or wind, and may be regarded as the hardiest of our native trees, ranging right up to the timber-line at a height of around 2,000 feet above sea-level. At all times it demands full light.

Its natural enemies are numerous. It is attacked by many fungi, which seldom cause widespread damage except on unsuitable sites. The most important of its insect enemies is the Pine Weevil (Hylobius), which attacks young plants in its adult stage. As the larval stage is developed in the roots of dead or felled trees, it only occurs in serious numbers on areas that have recently been felled; its control is difficult, but if replanting is postponed until two years after felling, the larvae exhaust their food supply in the old roots and the number of adults present falls below the danger level, as they have many natural enemies. Attacks by another adult insect, the Pine Beede (Myelophilus) also occur near recent fellings, as its larvse develop beneath the bark of fallen logs and branches. Here again the feeding material is soon exhausted, and the attack, though intense, soon passes. The damage to the standing tree takes the form of suppression of side branches around the tip of the tree, as these are burrowed out by the beedes; a slender, spire-like crown is produced for a season or two, and the general vigour of the tree is depressed.

A more harmful insect is the Pine Snoot Moth (Retinia, syn. Evetria), which lays an egg at the base of a developing leading shoot. This shoot is either killed or deformed by the larva which develops within it, and the tree cither loses a year's growth or develops a crooked stem. The Pine Sawfly (Lophyrus) lays eggs in clusters on the foliage, and the swarms of caterpillars which develop eat up the young needles, frequently defoliating whole trees, or even plantations. A check in growth results, but the attack is seldom fatal, and this is true of most insect attacks upon the pine, though Hylobius and allied weevils are dangerous in the early stages.

The higher animals do not become serious enemies of Scots Pine unless they are protected from their own natural enemies by man, as is usually the case in Britain. The young trees are not palatable, but when they appear above the snow in winter and other feed is buried, they, are naturally eaten by sheep, deer, ponies, and cattle, not to mention hares and rabbits. Grazing animals must therefore be rigidly excluded from the pine forests, or strictly restricted in numbers. The Red Squirrel sometimes attacks the bark of the upper branches, but only when, through absence of natural enemies, the squirrels become so numerous that they exhaust their other food. Pine seed is a staple food of Red Squirrels, whose teeth are well adapted to extract 4t from the woody cone. They destroy great quantities, but enough remains to regenerate the forests.

Scots Pine seed for sowing should preferably be obtained from Scottish plantations, or from other British-grown trees of Scottish origin; the Strathspey strain is one of the best; 50,000 seeds go to the lb., and the trees are readily raised in nurseries, especially if the soil is somewhat sandy. In the forest, young trees should not be set closer than 4 feet apart, as they are quick-growing and need plenty of light and air.

After brashing some twelve to fifteen years after planting, thinnings should commence. The early thinnings of Scots and other pines are seldom readily saleable, consisting mainly of perishable sapwood. In some districts they are bought as bean-rods, temporary or rustic fence material, or firewood, but in other areas demand is so poor that it does not pay to extract them. Scots Pine is a standard pitwood, and quite small poles may be utilised near coalfields in which narrow coal seems necessitate many, small, short props. Larger poles find a wide variety of uses, mainly as telegraph poles and scaffold poles; only the straightest of them are acceptable for such purposes, and bent poles must be cut into shorter pit-prop lengths of less value. Profitable rotations for Scots Pine vary from 70 to 120 years. On some sites, rotations are limited by the occurrence of butt-rot, and some soils are too poor for the trees to make satisfactory growth after attaining a certain age and size. Although many good stands attain an average height of 100 feet, Scots Pine seldom grows much taller, and 130 feet is probably the maximum; girths of 15 feet at breast height are sometimes reached. Stem-form is variable, but the best closed-grown trees carry a small crown and may be utilised to within a few feet of the summit. Open grown trees with spreading crowns contain much waste material, useful only as firewood or pulpwood.

The timber of Scots Pine is known in commerce as Red or Yellow Deal, and is also imported as Riga Fir, Archangel Fir, Dantzig, Norway or Swedish Fir, according to port of shipment, and as Baltic Redwood. It is resinous, hard, and strong, with a red heart and brown sapwood, but it is not durable in contact with the ground unless treated with a preservative substance, such as creosote. It is a standard timber for constructional work in all sizes, great quantities being used in engineering and house-building. Its coarse grain restricts its use for furniture, as the soft spring wood wears quickly whilst the hard summer wood is resistant, and a broken surface speedily results; but when varnished its colour contrasts produce a broad and not unattractive figured effect, sometimes displayed in indoor panelling.

Pine wood is an important raw material for wood-fibre industries, and as a source of paper pulp, pine oil, resin, turpentine, Stockholm tar, and charcoal. These derivatives can only be satisfactorily manufactured where a constant supply of the raw material - pine waste - is assured, and hence these industries are well developed in North America and Northern Europe, but almost unknown in Britain. For the same reason, the timber exporters of those countries have been able to grade pine timber closely and carefully by qualities, each with its distinctive trade mark, to guarantee steady supplies months ahead, to make economical arrangements for transport from and to their mills, and to install expensive and efficient sawmill machinery.

The Scottish timber merchants, having to buy the trees for felling when and where they can, can seldom plan far ahead, so that supplies of home-grown Scots Pine wood are variable in quantity and quality, and regular grades of consistent composition are unknown. In such circumstances British consumers have naturally preferred the imported material, on which they could depend. But home-grown pinewood is as good as, or better than, imported timber, and only the marketing has been at fault, a natural consequence of the limited supplies available for many years past.

Throughout historical times the great Caledonian pine forests covered a huge, but irregular, area in and around the Central Highlands of Scotland. Though unbroken stretches of even growth must have been rare, the forest as a whole was a most important factor in mediaeval Highland life, and it is not easy to reconstruct the scenery of those days from the present treeless deer forests Its decline was caused by over-felling, lack of protection from fire and grazing animals, and intensive protection of game, in particular the Red Deer. Forestry in the continental sense, involving conservation of existing natural resources, was unknown in Britain until very recent times, so that whilst plantations were established artificially over wide areas, the natural pine forest, unappreciated and unprotected, dwindled to a few scattered remnants in the remoter glens. The important industry of timber conversion died with it, and its passing contributed to the de-population of the countryside.

The Scots Pine is a tree of wide application in British forestry, producing poles, timber, and by-products of great industrial importance. Imported conifers may grow faster, but none is so adaptable to such a wide range of soils and climate, or to such varied uses in forest practice. Scots Pine has therefore an assured place in future plantings.

In their younger stages the serried ranks of young pines are somewhat monotonous, but the trees advance in beauty as they age, becoming rose-red shafts crowned by purple clouds of foliage as they form the pinewood, a realm rich in wild life, although its flora and fauna are distinct and different from those of the broad-leaved woods.

The illustrations show this representative conifer at every stage of its life history. Details of flowers, cones, and seeds appear in Fig. 3, and the grown tree in its native habitat is shown in Figs. 6 and 8. Naturally sown seedlings are to be seen in the background of Fir. 103. Seedlings raided by the forester are shown being transplanted in the nursery in Figs. 1; whilst plantations of this and of allied pines appear in Figs. 10 and 11, at various stages of their growth. It makes a striking contrast with the stunted wind-blown pine of the timberline, seen in Fig. 5, which may be its equal in years, or even older.

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