Characteristics of stone pines and how to plant pine nuts

Pinus pinea originates from the Mediterranean.

Today we are going to talk to you about a type of crop that is not a crop itself. It’s about the pine nuts. The pine nuts are not cultivated, but are harvested from the pine forests. They are a forest product rather than agricultural, since they do not require tillage, soil preparation, or as much care as agricultural crops.

Next we are going to show you the main characteristics of stone pines, pine nuts, their needs and how to get them. Do you want to know more about pine nuts?

Stone pine (Pinus Pinea)

stone pine is very resistant

stone pine is very resistant

The tree from which the pine nuts come out is the stone pine. It is a tree exclusively from the Mediterranean and Spanish that does not have a specific origin. Its scientific name is Pinus pinea L. and it is practically throughout the Mediterranean coast to China. Its origin, although it is not well known, is Mediterranean and, despite its wide range, Spain is the country with the most stone pines in the world. In addition, we are the first pine nut producers in the world, highlighting areas such as Andalusia or Castilla y León.

The value of pines and pine nuts

fruit of the pine tree

fruit of the pinus pinea

When we talk about the value of crops, we usually refer to their fruit. That is, the tomato plant, without the tomato itself, has no great value or importance. However, in the case of stone pine, its economic value is innumerable. From the past, the Pinus pinea L. it has been a good food and timber resource for use in constructions such as ships.

Pine nuts are in great demand in the world of cooking, since it is part of many desserts and typical dishes of European places. In addition, they have been part of the human diet for millennia. Today, the reason why more quantity of stone pines is demanded it is for the food, but in the past, other uses such as wood, resin or bark, have been very important. For the world of renewable energy, it should be known that pinion husks are being used to the generation of biofuels.

Apart from the economic resources to which the stone pine can be destined, we also have the high ornamental value it has. There are many places that have these pines such as ornamental resource in the streets of the cities, forming part of the arboreal mass.

Needs of stone pines

These trees, although they do not require as much care and maintenance as agricultural crops, they also need some characteristics of the climate and soil.


the pinus pinea has a large area of ​​distribution in many climates

Pinus pinea has a large range across many climates.

It is a tree that does not require a lot of water, so it can withstand high temperatures well, not above 40 ° C, and droughts. It is also capable of withstanding low temperatures well, surviving at -20 ° C, although from -10 ° C it begins to suffer damage to tissues and leaves.

Thanks to this ability to withstand extreme environmental conditions, stone pines have spread to wide regions with very different climates (both continental and coastal) and to altitudes. between 0 and 1200 meters above sea level.


stone pine supports poor soils

stone pine tolerates poor soils

As for the soil, this pine has a preference for acidic and sandy soils. But also is able to tolerate more limestone and clay soils, since it is used to surviving in almost any environment.

As we have mentioned before, thanks to the ability to adapt to any environment and any soil, we can find stone pines in a multitude of landscapes.

Food needs

Regarding the nutrition of pines, we can say that do not need a large amount of organic matter to grow faster or give more pine nuts. This makes the stone pine, an ideal tree to repopulate poor soils, due to its low food demand. The only thing that it does not tolerate well are soils that are easily puddled.

Aspects to consider for pine nuts

stone pine cone

stone pine cone

If you want to get your own pine nuts, there are a few things to consider first:

  • The production of pine nuts from a Pinus pinea L. it is one of the latestthat is, if you plant a stone pine from scratch, it will take between 20 and 30 years to give the pine nuts.
  • Flowering occurs in late spring and early summer. The pine nut will be mature 3 years after flowering.
  • Pine nuts are very rich in oils, the main ones being mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids such as linoleic.
  • It is also known for its high protein value.

How to sow pine nuts

growing pine tree sowing pine nuts in a pot

pine growing planting pine nuts in a pot

In order to sow the pine nuts, we need some materials previously:

  • The main thing is a pot of about 15 cm deep and about 10 cm in diameter. In this way, as the pine nuts begin to germinate, they can be in the pot for a while.
  • A substrate composed of organic matter and mixed with perlite.
  • If it is spring we have to take into account that, to use a fungicide, thus avoiding its risk of disease, It has to be made of copper or sulfur and if it is in summer, we will use a synthetic spray.
  • Water for watering.

Once we have everything ready, it will be time to follow this step by step:

  1. The first thing to do is buy pine nuts in spring or summer.
  2. Then, they are placed in water for 24 hours.
  3. The pots are then filled with the substrate.
  4. Then a maximum of a pinion or two is placed in each.
  5. Finally, they are covered with a thin layer of substrate and watered.

When they are sown, they are placed in an area where the sunlight gives them direct sunlight, and the substrate is kept moist. In a matter of fifteen days we will see the first germinate.

Harvesting pine nuts

pine nuts pinus pinea

pine nuts pinus pinea

The harvesting of pineapples takes place from December. A delay in the collection can result in the loss of seeds by natural dissemination or the theft of the pineapple

Harvesting is done manually on unopened ripe pineapples. For this it is necessary to climb the trees using climbing techniques. Once the pineapples have been harvested They must be extended in the sun or in artificial drying rooms. These are opened by heat and low humidity and then, turning them over and hitting them, the pinion is extracted.

It is important to do this process carefully because any damage to the pine nut covers affects the viability and longevity of the seeds. With the appropriate sieves and with a winnowing, the wings and the empty pinions are separated from the full pinions. Then you have to dry the pine nuts until they reach a moisture content between 6 and 8% and keep them at a temperature of 4-5 ° C in airtight container.

With this information you can now plant your own pine nuts, although to have them as a fruit, you will have to wait about 20 years

Characteristics of stone pines and how to plant pine nuts

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