Pine, Pinyon (Colorado Pinyon)

Pine, Pinyon (Colorado Pinyon)

Pinus edulisConiferous

Origin: Southwest US

Pinyon pine is native to the Four Corners area of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona where it is typically found growing with junipers on drier sites. It has been used in landscape and screen plantings in western Nebraska, especially the southern Panhandle. 

Pinyon Pine tree
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Where To Grow

Pinyon pine is a good companion to Rocky Mountain juniper and should be grown in full sun on drier sites. It does not tolerate shade and should not be planted in tight groups with other evergreens as it prefers some air movement on its foliage.
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Suitable to plant west of the 100th meridian.
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Size at Maturity

Tree Height Tree Spread
20-30' 20-25'
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Wildlife Benefits

In its native habitat, pinyon pine provides food and shelter to a wide variety of birds, and other animals, including the iconic pinyon jay, a blue-colored resident of the southwest US.  

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Additional Considerations

Although pinyon pine does not suffer abnormally from diseases or insect issues in its native habitat, it is suffering from extreme and prolonged droughts in recent years and climate change will likely exacerbate the problem. In the planted landscape, the tree can struggle when overwatered.  

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Related species

  • The single-leaf pinyon (Pinus monophyla) is very closely related species that grows further west in hotter and drier climates of Nevada and Arizona. It is not considered suitable for planting in Nebraska.
  • Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine (Pinus aristata) is a very long-lived species found growing at high elevations of the Rockies and is well adapted to cold and dry conditions. It is often used as an ornamental in western landscapes, including in western Nebraska.
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Interesting Facts

Pinyon pine has a large, edible seed (nut) and has long been an important food and agronomic crop for southwest Native Americans.