How to grow Scots Pine


Scots pine generally only produce cones high up in the canopy, so collecting can be difficult. To avoid climbing (which we don’t recommended!) it may be necessary to collect seed from the ground, but they are often carried far away on the wind.

Good quality Scottish seed can be bought from seed merchants in the UK. You may be lucky and find cones below the tree still with seeds inside.

Open pine cones
Open pine cones – seeds may have dispersed already!
Scots pine seeds
Scots pine seeds

Extraction and storage

The cones can be laid out somewhere warm to slowly open and release their seeds. Place them in a biscuit tin in the airing cupboard or above a radiator to speed up the process.


Quite often, Scots pine seed does not benefit from pretreatment although four weeks in a fridge, mixed with moist sand loosely sealed in a plastic bag, sometimes improves germination. This should be started four weeks before the planned sowing date (in March for an April sowing).


Sow the seeds thinly onto prepared seedbeds or trays, cover with a thin (5mm) layer of horticultural grit or sand, firm and keep moist.

Scots pine seedlings
Scots pine seedlings


Keep moist at all times.

A young Scots pine sapling
A young Scots pine sapling


Leave the young plants until the autumn and repot them if they are in containers. If they are in seedbeds, leave them for two years, until they are big enough to move to final positions.


Prepare the site well by clearing away any weeds or grass and make a hole big enough to accommodate the root ball. Plant carefully in the hole, to the same depth as it was previously growing, and firm back the soil.

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