The needles contain a substance called terpene, this is released when rain washes over the needles and it has a negative effect on the germination of some plants, including wheat. This tree is a source of resin but it is not exploited commercially. The flow of resin checks too quickly and labour costs are too high. Oleo-resins are present in the tissues of all species of pines, but these are often not present in sufficient quantity to make their extraction economically worthwhile. The resins are obtained by tapping the trunk, or by destructive distillation of the wood. In general, trees from warmer areas of distribution give the higher yields. Turpentine consists of an average of 20% of the oleo-resin and is separated by distillation. Turpentine has a wide range of uses including as a solvent for waxes etc, for making varnish, medicinal etc. Rosin is the substance left after turpentine is removed. This is used by violinists on their bows and also in making sealing wax, varnish etc. Pitch can also be obtained from the resin and is used for waterproofing, as a wood preservative etc.Wood - weak, brittle, coarse grained, resinous, not durable. The wood weighs 34lb per cubic foot. Used for lumber, cooperage, crates, the interior of buildings, pulp etc.
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This species comes from an area with long hot summers and mild winters. It is fast growing and is cultivated as a timber tree on a small scale in Europe. It does not grow well in Britain, however. The trees are fully hardy in this country except when they are young. Rarely found in Britain, the few trees that have been planted are all found in southern England and are all growing well. It is proving to be a fairly vigorous tree here, averaging 30cm annual increase in height for at least the first 50 years. Trees can produce cones when only 10 years old, though 30 - 40 years is more usual. Good crops are produced most years in the wild. The cones are 5- 15cm long, they open and shed their seed whilst still attached to the tree and usually persist on the tree for a further year. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus. Leaf secretions inhibit the germination of seeds, thereby reducing the amount of plants that can grow under the trees.Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.
Problems, pests & diseases
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