Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Pinus radiata
(radiata pine)

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Datasheet

Pinus radiata (radiata pine)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 20 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Pinus radiata
  • Preferred Common Name
  • radiata pine
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Gymnospermae
  •         Class: Pinopsida
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • P. radiata is a prolific seed producer, first reproduces at a young age, grows very rapidly and has seeds that may be stored in serotinous cones for many years. Due to its rapid growth and the high levels of litter that accumulate below, native speci...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Old plantation-grown trees (ca. 50 years old) that have almost reached their ultimate height, showing rounded tops and general crown habit.
TitlePlantation
CaptionOld plantation-grown trees (ca. 50 years old) that have almost reached their ultimate height, showing rounded tops and general crown habit.
CopyrightScion (New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd)
Old plantation-grown trees (ca. 50 years old) that have almost reached their ultimate height, showing rounded tops and general crown habit.
PlantationOld plantation-grown trees (ca. 50 years old) that have almost reached their ultimate height, showing rounded tops and general crown habit.Scion (New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd)
Sheep grazing under P. radiata. In this case the stocking of the trees is low, to allow continued production of pasture rather than just a yield in place of low-value thinnings.
TitleSilvopastoral agroforestry
CaptionSheep grazing under P. radiata. In this case the stocking of the trees is low, to allow continued production of pasture rather than just a yield in place of low-value thinnings.
CopyrightScion (New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd)
Sheep grazing under P. radiata. In this case the stocking of the trees is low, to allow continued production of pasture rather than just a yield in place of low-value thinnings.
Silvopastoral agroforestrySheep grazing under P. radiata. In this case the stocking of the trees is low, to allow continued production of pasture rather than just a yield in place of low-value thinnings.Scion (New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd)
Young trees that are being pruned, showing semi-adult crown habit, and foliage colour. Site fertility is lowish, leading to relatively narrow crowns.
TitlePruning
CaptionYoung trees that are being pruned, showing semi-adult crown habit, and foliage colour. Site fertility is lowish, leading to relatively narrow crowns.
CopyrightScion (New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd)
Young trees that are being pruned, showing semi-adult crown habit, and foliage colour. Site fertility is lowish, leading to relatively narrow crowns.
PruningYoung trees that are being pruned, showing semi-adult crown habit, and foliage colour. Site fertility is lowish, leading to relatively narrow crowns.Scion (New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd)
Comparison of P. radiata growth habit of seedlings (left) and cuttings from 5-year-old tree (right). The latter have better tree form but less vigour; cuttings from 2-3 year old trees can show improvement in form without loss of vigour.
TitleGrowth habits
CaptionComparison of P. radiata growth habit of seedlings (left) and cuttings from 5-year-old tree (right). The latter have better tree form but less vigour; cuttings from 2-3 year old trees can show improvement in form without loss of vigour.
CopyrightScion (New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd)
Comparison of P. radiata growth habit of seedlings (left) and cuttings from 5-year-old tree (right). The latter have better tree form but less vigour; cuttings from 2-3 year old trees can show improvement in form without loss of vigour.
Growth habitsComparison of P. radiata growth habit of seedlings (left) and cuttings from 5-year-old tree (right). The latter have better tree form but less vigour; cuttings from 2-3 year old trees can show improvement in form without loss of vigour.Scion (New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd)
Bark of old (ca. 50-year-old) tree being felled, showing deeply fissured bark. Note rich red colour exposed in the cut. The island provenances develop fissured bark much later than the mainland provenances.
TitleBark
CaptionBark of old (ca. 50-year-old) tree being felled, showing deeply fissured bark. Note rich red colour exposed in the cut. The island provenances develop fissured bark much later than the mainland provenances.
CopyrightScion (New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd)
Bark of old (ca. 50-year-old) tree being felled, showing deeply fissured bark. Note rich red colour exposed in the cut. The island provenances develop fissured bark much later than the mainland provenances.
BarkBark of old (ca. 50-year-old) tree being felled, showing deeply fissured bark. Note rich red colour exposed in the cut. The island provenances develop fissured bark much later than the mainland provenances.Scion (New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd)
Unopened cones showing range of size and shape from within New Zealand land race, which has no ancestry from the provenances with either the largest or smallest cones.
TitleCones
CaptionUnopened cones showing range of size and shape from within New Zealand land race, which has no ancestry from the provenances with either the largest or smallest cones.
CopyrightScion (New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd)
Unopened cones showing range of size and shape from within New Zealand land race, which has no ancestry from the provenances with either the largest or smallest cones.
ConesUnopened cones showing range of size and shape from within New Zealand land race, which has no ancestry from the provenances with either the largest or smallest cones. Scion (New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd)

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Pinus radiata D. Don

Preferred Common Name

  • radiata pine

Variety

  • Pinus radiata var. binata (Engelm.) Lemmon
  • Pinus radiata var. cedrosensis (J. T. Howell) Axelrod

Other Scientific Names

  • Pinus insignis Douglas ex Loudon
  • Pinus insignis var. binata Engelm.
  • Pinus muricata var. cedrosensis J. T. Howell

International Common Names

  • English: insignis pine; Monterey pine; radiata; remarkable pine
  • Spanish: pino insigne; pino insignia; pino radiata; radiata
  • French: pin de Monterey
  • Chinese: fu she song

Local Common Names

  • Canada: pig pine
  • Germany: Monterey-Kiefer
  • Italy: pino insigne
  • USA: Monterey pine

EPPO code

  • PIURA (Pinus radiata)

Trade name

  • Californian pine
  • pinus radiata
  • radiata pine

Summary of Invasiveness

Top of page P. radiata is a prolific seed producer, first reproduces at a young age, grows very rapidly and has seeds that may be stored in serotinous cones for many years. Due to its rapid growth and the high levels of litter that accumulate below, native species are outcompeted and reduced diversity has been recorded in areas where it has become invasive. The species has become naturalized in several countries, notably Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, Hawaii (USA) and South Africa, often regenerating naturally within plantations and often invading surrounding land. Kruger (1986) regards P. radiata as a major invasive in South Africa where it is able to invade winter- and all-year rainfall areas and is a declared category 2 invader under the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act (1983) and a habitat transformer species (Henderson, 2001). It is also one of the main invasive species in Zimbabwe (Buss, 2002). Binggeli (1999) regarded this as a moderately invasive plant, while Rejmánek (1995) rated it as one of the five most invasive pines.

Taxonomic Tree

Top of page
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Gymnospermae
  •                 Class: Pinopsida
  •                     Family: Pinaceae
  •                         Genus: Pinus
  •                             Species: Pinus radiata

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page P. radiata belongs in subgenus Pinus (syn. Diploxylon) ('hard pines'), section Pinus. Within that section it has been assigned to subsection Oocarpae Critchfield & Little, but more recently it, along with the closely related P. attenuata and P. muricata, has been assigned to a new subsection, Attenuatae van der Burgh (Price et al., 1998). These three species are commonly called the California closed-cone pines. For recent reviews of the various past groupings of related species see Price et al. (1998) and Millar (2000). The taxonomy and nomenclatural history of P. radiata itself have been reviewed by Lindsay (1932), Forde (1964) and Axelrod (1980). Only two of a number of botanical names remained in serious contention, P. radiata and P. insignis, which were assigned from formal collections made by Coulter and Douglas in 1829-30 and 1833 respectively, but a number of other names were assigned in the mid-19th century. In the past there has been much taxonomic confusion with regard to P. radiata: this has resulted partly from the great tree-to-tree variation in the classical taxonomic traits (e.g. cone size and shape), and partly because of some of the population differences, which include needles being in pairs versus being in threes, a contrast that is usually associated with major taxonomic differences within the subgenus.

The species occurs naturally in just five discrete populations: the three from the Californian mainland are assigned to var. radiata; the Guadalupe Island population is assigned to var. binata; and the Cedros Island population is assigned to var. cedrosensis respectively. Var. binata and var. cedrosensis have needles in pairs instead of threes. While long in some dispute, var. binata was recognized early as belonging to P. radiata. However, until recently var. cedrosensis was usually assigned to P. muricata (Axelrod, 1980). Separate varietal status has been suggested for the Cambria population on the mainland, but has not been accepted.

Description

Top of page P. radiata is evergreen with a dense crown, foliage an unusually deep, vivid green. Crown habit in young trees pointed, usually somewhat irregular in outline reflecting a complex branching pattern, varying from narrow and spire-like on many infertile sites to broad and coarse under high fertility; in old trees rounded or even flattened at top. Persistent, usually large cones are generally a conspicuous feature. Tree height in mainland California and Guadalupe Island generally reaches 20-35 m, depending on site, rarely over 40 m (Lindsay, 1932); on Cedros Island it tends to be less. Mature dbh in native stands tend to be extremely variable depending on stocking as well as site; in dense stands typically reaching 40-75 cm, but isolated trees can be far larger, well over 100 cm, with a maximum of over 200 cm. In exotic plantings, ultimate height, while also varying widely with site, tends to be greater, generally ranging from 30 m to 50-55 m, with rare trees reaching 60 m. Ultimate stem diameters of closed stands, which are seldom actually reached, would typically be larger, probably 50-85 cm, with isolated trees ranging to over 250 cm.

The stem is usually a single, more or less straight bole, which often breaks up into large spreading limbs in the upper crowns of old, open-grown trees. Stem form can vary widely according to site, ranging from very straight, with little taper and almost no forking on sites deficient in nitrogen or phosphorus, to rather crooked, heavily tapered trees with a high percentage of forking on very fertile sites. The bole near ground level usually has appreciable taper, and usually develops slight fluting after the pole stage. Prevailing winds can lead to slight lean and appreciable butt sweep. Bark on lower boles of older trees is hard, dark brown, and generally rather thick and deeply fissured, but is much thinner further up the stem. The branching pattern is very complex and variable (Bannister, 1962), the number of branch clusters (whorls) on an annual growth stage of the leader ranging from one to six, depending very largely on the individual genotype. Spacing of successive branch clusters and size of branches can range from regular to highly irregular. Angle of exsertion of branches is very variable, with large branches tending to be steep-angled. The variability of branch habit has been of major interest in breeding programmes. Branch diameters show a large influence of site fertility as well as stocking.

The root system is naturally based on a strong tap root in young seedlings, especially in the island provenances, but preparation in the nursery for planting can modify this characteristic, as does the use of cuttings for propagation. In some soils, e.g. with multiple layers of volcanic ash or certain coastal sands, the root system can be very deep, but rooting depth is often severely restricted by soil depth or compacted layers such as often develop in fluvial gravels. Features of the root systems of young trees are the very high root regeneration capacity and ready production of fibrous roots, which help make the species so easy to transplant successfully. The growth habit in the juvenile and 'adolescent' stages tends to be unstable and relatively untidy, the adult habit typically being attained only after 6-12 years.

Needles, grouped in fascicles, in threes in var. radiata, and in pairs in var. binata and var. cedrosensis. Dimensions usually 10-18 cm long, occasionally 3-20 cm, 1.2-2 cm wide. Colour typically intense, dark green, but may be yellowish or bluish green. Generally soft and moderately pliable. The green primary foliage of the juvenile phase is produced until an unusually advanced stage of development for a pine, although this feature varies widely among natural populations.

Pollen strobili are cylindrical, 7-17 mm long. Female strobili are reddish purple at emergence, with the noteworthy features of occurring on the more vigorous shoots including the leader, and never in the cluster of branch buds at the end of an annual growth stage on the shoot. Cones can occur singly but are very often in clusters encircling the shoot. They take two years from pollination to mature and ripen. Freshly ripened cones are pale or medium brown, usually 7-17 cm long (occasionally 5-20 cm), and usually 4-7 cm wide (occasionally up to 9 cm) with a distinctive shape, if variable, ovoid-conical, usually with strong asymmetry, the proximal part of the axis being curved sharply back (20-90°, usually about 50°) from shoot tip, but the distal part is straight. Large cones tend to be more asymmetric, and with greater length:breadth ratios. Scales often very large and thick with raised umbos on the outer side. Mucros very small or absent. Cones are serotinous, capable of remaining unopened for a number of years in absence of hot, dry conditions, and can remain attached long after opening.

Plant Type

Top of page Perennial
Seed propagated
Tree
Woody

Distribution

Top of page P. radiata occurs naturally in just five discrete populations, at Año Nuevo (or 'Swanton') (37°N), Monterey (36.5°N) and Cambria (35.5°N) on the Californian mainland, and Guadalupe Island (29°N) and Cedros Island (28°N), off the coast of the Baja California Peninsula, Mexico. The location and habitats of the mainland populations have been described by Lindsay (1932), Forde (1966) and Roy (1966), Guadalupe Island by Moran (1996) and for Guadalupe and Cedros islands by Libby et al. (1968). The total extent of natural forest, prior to colonization by Europeans was slightly under 10,000 ha, of which about 5300 ha remain (Burdon, 2000).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasivePlantedReferenceNotes

Asia

IndiaPresentIntroducedSingh and Khan, 1988
TaiwanPresentIntroducedCheTsung et al., 2001
TurkeyPresentIntroducedUgenc, 1972

Africa

KenyaPresentIntroduced Planted
South AfricaWidespreadIntroduced Planted
SudanPresentIntroducedJackson, 1960
ZimbabwePresentIntroduced Invasive Buss, 2002

North America

MexicoPresentNativeLibby et al., 1968; Moran, 1996
USAPresentNativeLindsay, 1932; Forde, 1966; Roy, 1966
-CaliforniaPresentNativeForde, Roy; Lindsay, 1932; Forde, 1966; Forde, 1966

South America

ArgentinaPresentIntroduced Invasive Planted Zalba, 1995
ChileWidespreadIntroduced Planted
ColombiaPresentIntroduced Planted
EcuadorPresentIntroduced Planted
-Galapagos IslandsPresentIntroducedWeber, 2003
PeruPresentIntroduced Planted

Europe

ItalyPresentIntroduced Planted
SpainWidespreadIntroduced Planted

Oceania

AustraliaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Pryor, 1991; Johnson et al., 1997; Weber, 2003
-New South WalesPresentIntroduced Planted Johnson et al., 1997
-South AustraliaPresentIntroduced Planted
-TasmaniaPresentIntroduced Planted
-VictoriaPresentIntroduced Planted
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroduced Planted
New ZealandWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Burdon and Miller, 1992; Weber, 2003

History of Introduction and Spread

Top of page The main countries with exotic plantations are Chile and New Zealand, followed by Australia, then Spain and then South Africa. P. radiata has been planted on a massive scale in New Zealand and south-central Chile (ca. 1.5 million ha each), southern Australia (>700,000 ha) and northern Spain (ca. 220,000 ha) (Lewis and Ferguson, 1993; Lavery and Mead, 1998; Burdon, 2000). Significant areas of plantation exist in western Cape Province of South Africa (ca. 55,000 ha) and Argentina, Italy (Sardinia), Ecuador, Kenya, Colombia and Peru, with lesser plantings in various Mediterranean countries, France and the British Isles, and some African and South American countries. It has also been tried in many other counties where it has often grown well initially, but then failed; the early growth has tended to be reported enthusiastically, but subsequent failure has usually gone undocumented.

Risk of Introduction

Top of page Cronk and Fuller (1995) report that this species constitutes a threat to Mediterranean ecosystems and the extensive global planting of this species means that other countries, besides those where invasions are already reported, are likely to be at risk of invasion.

Habitat

Top of page In its native North American range, P. radiata occurs only within 8 km of the coast. The soils on which it occurs are highly variable and it tends to grow as monospecific forest. All natural habitats represent a special and highly localized variant of the dry to mesic Mediterranean climate (rainfall generally 700 mm or less), caused by the cold ocean current. Summer temperatures are mild, and sea fogs during the essentially rainless summer months produce a crucial amount of occult precipitation in the form of fog drip. Altitude ranges from sea level to 420 m on the mainland, and from 300-1200 m in the more southerly island populations. Geology and soils are highly variable, and within its range, P. radiata is generally the sole high-forest species. According to Weber (2003) outside its native range it invades grassland, heathland, riparian, scrub and coastal dune habitats. It is also known to invade open forest habitats in Australia and South Africa (e.g. Luken and Thieret, 1997; Henderson, 2001), fynbos and damp montane environments (Henderson, 2001). According to Cronk and Fuller (1995) the habitats colonized in New Zealand include the edges of scrub and forest habitats, shrub land, open areas, sand dunes and tussock grassland. In Australia, wet sclerophyllous vegetation is less likely to be colonized (Cronk and Fuller, 1995).

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Littoral
Coastal areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Natural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)

Biology and Ecology

Top of page Genetics

The patterns of genetic variation in P. radiata and history of its genetic improvement are outlined by Burdon (1992, 2000). Advances in genetic knowledge and developments concerning genetic improvement are covered in Burdon and Moore (1997). Intensive provenance testing has been done, albeit belatedly, in New Zealand and Australia and to a lesser extent in Chile and South Africa (Burdon, 1992; Johnson et al., 1997; Burdon et al., 1997a, 1998). Differences among the mainland provenances are subtle, but definite, involving soil and climatic tolerances and disease resistance, rather than growth potential. The two island provenances are distinctive in morphology, having higher wood density and slower growth. Guadalupe is slightly slower and Cedros substantially so, but hybrids with mainland stock tend to match the growth rates of the mainland parents. No native provenance is completely devoid of advantages. Domesticated stocks are evidently derived entirely from Monterey and Año Nuevo, mainly the latter. For most purposes this has provided a near-optimal genetic base for adaptation and intensive breeding, but further importations of native-provenance material were indicated and have been carried out. The Guadalupe provenance is of interest for hybridizing with already domesticated stocks, for straighter stems, higher wood density and some possible climatic tolerances. The Monterey provenance, which is generally under-represented in land-race stocks, has superior tolerance of poor soils. The Cambria provenance is of interest for Western Australia. Domesticated stocks differ appreciably from their progenitor stocks, although this is only in part attributable to responses to natural and silvicultural selection in adoptive environments.

Genetic variation between individual trees exists, often at notably high levels, for a wide range of traits, including: cone size and morphology, branching characteristics, stem form, phenology, soil tolerances, frost resistance, brows resistance, resistance to certain diseases, secondary metabolites, and numerous wood properties (Burdon, 1992; Matheson et al., 1997; Shelbourne, 1997). This has been demonstrated in both pure studies of the species' genetic architecture and in the course of progeny testing select material. Adverse genetic correlations, which form important breeding constraints, exist between wood density and stem volume, and between distance between clusters of branches on the one hand, and knot characteristics, general stem form and early growth rate on the other. Genotype x site interactions, involving changes of genotypic rankings among sites, are sometimes important for stem diameter growth but tend to be less important for other traits (Burdon et al., 1997b). The major breeding programmes generally involve large, elaborately structured breeding populations that are designed to give cumulative gains over successive generations. Native-population material is being kept ex situ as back-up gene resources, but its perpetuation requires increased commitment (Eldridge, 1997). CalEPPC (1999) record a threat to the native form from invasive P. radiata cultivars which can spread pine pitch canker disease to the native trees.

Physiology and Phenology

The phenology of P. radiata has been reviewed by Lavery (1986) and Burdon (1994). The role of temperature appears to lie essentially in short-term control of the rate at which growth can occur, with no actual meristematic extension appearing to occur with prevailing above-ground temperatures below about 5°C. Indeed, low temperatures do not appear to impose any true dormancy, although they can cause hardening against frost. The photoperiodic control appears to be at least in part through daylength shift, rather than absolute daylength, with increasing daylength promoting a more active phenological state, although experimentally applied long days can have the same effect. High nitrogen status appears to reduce the seasonal fluctuations in vegetative phenological state.

In any event, P. radiata has a long, almost completely opportunistic growing season, which evidently accounts for its high growth rate. However, after the juvenile stage, extension of shoots and foliage tends to be concentrated in the spring although in milder climates it can be well underway by late winter. Shoot extension shows its main morphological discontinuity after the summer solstice; however, even in post-juvenile trees, shoot extension can proceed facultatively on the leader well ahead of the main spring flush. Diameter growth can occur throughout the year, temperatures permitting. Remarkably, it may in milder climates show an upsurge, which is evidently related to the switch from producing latewood in one growth ring to earlywood in the next, immediately after the winter solstice even though temperatures are still dropping. The pollination season is earlier than in any other pine. It can begin very soon after the winter solstice, but can be as long as four months later on cold sites, suggesting that it occurs as soon as temperatures permit after the solstice. At low latitudes, vegetative phenology tends be become more related to rainfall fluctuations, while flowering tends to be sparse with no coherent season, leading to little or no seed being produced.

Reproductive Biology

Reproductive behaviour of P. radiata is covered by Burdon and Miller (1992). Like pines in general, it is a hermaphrodite, but is incompletely self-fertile (Griffin and Lindgren, 1985) and shows inbreeding depression (Wilcox, 1983). It is wind-pollinated, with pollen production beginning on all trees at an early age, generally around 5-6 years, but depending somewhat on site and provenance. Onset of female flowering can begin at about the same age, but can vary very widely among individuals leading to a long straggle in onset of seed production. Amount of flowering and seed production show limited fluctuations from year to year. Sensitivity of seed production to stocking is limited by the fact that even when crowded, the main stem can produce cones. Reproductive activity is generally promoted by warm, low-rainfall sites, especially near the sea. Cones are serotinous, capable of remaining unopened for a number of years in absence of hot, dry conditions, and can remain attached long after opening. The serotinous cones store cumulative seed crops and make long-term seed storage a natural phenomenon. A very high germination rate is possible.

Environmental requirements

For detailed descriptions and reviews see Scott (1960), Poynton (1979), Lavery (1986), Booth and McMurtrie (1988), Burdon and Miller (1992), Lewis and Ferguson (1993), Madgwick (1994) and Burdon (2000). P. radiata thrives in mild, mesic, oceanic climates in the latitudinal range 33-46°. It can tolerate annual rainfall as low as 300 mm, or even less if fogs bring occult precipitation, but generally needs 500 mm to be an economic crop. Productivity tends to increase strongly as precipitation increases towards 1000 mm. As precipitation exceeds 2000 mm, problems tend to arise with disease or leached soils, but some plantations have succeeded well with over 2500 mm. A winter rainfall pattern is generally conducive to tree health, but much of the area where the species is grown successfully, including many of the most productive sites, has a distributed rainfall. Freezing continental air masses are fatal if too cold or exposure too prolonged. Damp heat is very unfavourable, leading to disease. However, the species is unusually tolerant of 'white' frost (radiation frost, characterised by frozen dewfall) in the growing season (up to 6°C). Provenances vary in frost resistance (Hood and Libby, 1980; Burdon, 1992) and heritable tree-to-tree variation has also been shown (Menzies et al., 1987). Hail damage, which is often accompanied by damp heat, often leads to fatal infection by wound pathogens. Snowfalls, especially if wet, can be very damaging. Within this latitudinal zone, the upper altitudinal limit for successful planting generally ranges from 1250 m at 33°N to 400-500 m at 46°N. Prolonged drought, particularly with high temperatures, can be fatal. A secondary geographic 'window', in which plantations can be grown with some success, exists near the Equator (Burdon, 2000) at high altitudes, generally 2500-3500 m, and with moderate rainfall of 800-1200 mm per annum. Between the Equator and about 32°N, very few satisfactory sites exist, though isolated trees can often thrive where closed stands fail through disease.

Like most of the genus, P. radiata is relatively undemanding in its soil requirements, maintaining its performance well over microsite variations. However, it tends to require higher soil fertility than many pines, in accordance with its high growth potential and coastal origin. Apart from nitrogen being a frequent limiting factor, outright deficiencies have occurred in phosphorus, boron, magnesium, zinc, calcium, potassium, (contentiously) sulphur, copper, and (generally with high pH) manganese (Burdon, 2000). Fertilizers can generally be used effectively to correct these deficiencies. A wide range of soil textures is tolerated, from coarse vesicular material or gravelly or rocky soils, through sands and loams, to heavy clays, although some such tolerances are conditional upon climate. Deep, well-drained soils are preferred, particularly with abundant rainfall. Waterlogging is not tolerated. Partial waterlogging of clay soils in winter can lead to temporary instability of young trees which leads to permanent butt deformation. On fluvial gravels severe gales can cause widespread windthrow. Native provenances vary markedly in tolerance of certain infertile soils (Burdon, 1992, 2000; Burdon et al., 1997a, 1998). Such variation also exists at the individual-tree level. Physiography is seldom a limiting factor in itself, although it may be associated with outcropping rock, lack of cold air drainage on flats or in hollows, or drifting of snow. Preferences for aspect vary with climate, but are often weak.

Associations

Within its native range, P. radiata is generally the sole high-forest species. In Australia, P. radiata has invaded Eucalypt forests with a consequent reduction in species diversity (Luken and Thieret, 1997).

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
37 28 0 4000

Air Temperature

Top of page
Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -17
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 8 17
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 13 29
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) -3 10

Rainfall

Top of page
ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration06number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall3502500mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Uniform
Winter

Soil Tolerances

Top of page

Soil drainage

  • free
  • impeded

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • infertile
  • shallow

Notes on Natural Enemies

Top of page See Crop Pests and Diseases.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

Top of page The seeds are winged and are dispersed by the wind. Pryor (1991) records that dispersal is typically within 2-3 times the height of the tree but may occasionally be moved over several kilometres. Intentional introduction is the prime cause of long-distant dispersal. P. radiata is more extensively grown as an exotic than any other forest tree, occupying some 4 million ha as fast-growing plantations, of which over 90% are located in the Southern Hemisphere.

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Animal/plant collections None
Animal/plant products None
Biodiversity (generally) Negative
Crop production None
Environment (generally) Negative
Fisheries / aquaculture None
Forestry production None
Human health None
Livestock production None
Native fauna Negative
Native flora Negative
Rare/protected species Negative
Tourism None
Trade/international relations None
Transport/travel None

Environmental Impact

Top of page It can invade plant communities of considerable conservation value, and in the course of that can reduce catchment water yields, and was noted as a habitat transformer species by Henderson (2001). On the other hand, P. radiata can often act as an effective nurse crop for re-establishment of natural vegetation. Hydrological impacts have been reviewed by Lewis and Ferguson (1993), Maclaren (1996) and Burdon (2000), and plantations often cause major reductions in catchment water yields through a combination of interception and transpiration losses, although flood peaks tend to be greatly reduced.

Impact: Biodiversity

Top of page In Australia, P. radiata has invaded open Eucalypt forests with a consequent reduction in species diversity (Pryor, 1991; Luken and Thieret, 1997). Pryor considered that this invasion might be limited by fire, since eucalypts are more adapted to fires than this pine. The planting of South African fynbos with P. radiata is also associated with a loss of native plant diversity (Macdonald and Richardson, 1986). Vidler (2003) reports that it is one of three invasive plants that pose a threat to the rare Eltham copper butterfly Paralucia pyrodiscus lucida in Victoria, Australia, by outcompeting the insect's food-plants. There can be considerable impacts on fauna, some adverse, but some surprisingly favourable (Burdon, 2000).

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Hesperolinon congestum (Marin dwarf-flax)NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as threatened species USA ESA listing as threatened speciesCaliforniaCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
Impact outcomes
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Reduced native biodiversity
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Pest and disease transmission
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

Top of page Agroforestry with P. radiata is now based almost entirely on silvopastoral systems (Burdon and Miller, 1992; Burdon, 2000). The essence is to obtain pasture production as the intermediate yield in place of the low-value thinnings. Maintaining pasturage beyond the first half of the rotation is often beset with problems of maintaining quantity and quality of pasture, and of maintaining good tree form with the grazing-induced increases in soil fertility particularly if stocking levels of P. radiata are kept low enough to allow pasture growth. Nevertheless, such grazing has been practised over large areas in New Zealand and Australia. In soil conservation (Burdon, 2000), P. radiata crops have been used to rehabilitate very large areas of badly eroded land in the Coast Range of Chile. Large areas of sand dune stabilisation have been concluded in New Zealand with the establishment of high quality timber crops. Some spectacular land stabilisation has occurred on very erodible but fertile mudstones in New Zealand (Maclaren, 1996). Apart from checking erosion, the growing of P. radiata has effected some major soil improvement (Burdon, 2000). Growing lupins during sand dune stabilisation has enhanced soil fertility, while use of fertilizers to promote tree growth has also been associated with much-improved soil physical properties.

Publications dealing specifically with the wood properties of P. radiata are by Bamber and Burley (1983) and Kininmonth and Whitehouse (1991). The properties are reviewed briefly by Burdon and Miller (1992) and Burdon (2000). The wood of P. radiata is very versatile. It is put to a very wide range of uses, which include: light construction, finishing uses, joinery, furniture, veneers, use as poles for a variety of situations, making various reconstituted wood products, and both mechanical and chemical pulping. Most of the final crop is sawn into timber, with the residues used largely for pulping. There is considerable international trade in wood and wood products of P. radiata (Lewis and Ferguson, 1993), including unprocessed logs, sawn timber, pulp and paper, and a range of reconstituted wood products.

Use of miscellaneous non-wood products is reviewed by Burdon and Miller (1992) and Burdon (2000). Bark is widely burned as an energy source at large wood-processing plants. It is also used in horticulture, for mulches and for potting mixes. While it has quite a good tannin content, it appears not to have been used significantly for tannin extraction. Cones are popular as a domestic fuel. Edible fungi, in the form of fruiting bodies of mycorrhizal symbionts, are collected in Chile.

Uses List

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Environmental

  • Agroforestry
  • Boundary, barrier or support
  • Erosion control or dune stabilization
  • Revegetation
  • Shade and shelter
  • Windbreak

Fuels

  • Fuelwood

General

  • Ornamental

Materials

  • Carved material
  • Essential oils
  • Fibre
  • Gum/resin
  • Miscellaneous materials
  • Wood/timber

Wood Products

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Containers

  • Boxes
  • Cases
  • Crates
  • Pallets

Furniture

Pulp

  • Long-fibre pulp

Railway sleepers

Roundwood

  • Building poles
  • Piles
  • Posts
  • Stakes
  • Transmission poles

Sawn or hewn building timbers

  • Beams
  • Bridges
  • Carpentry/joinery (exterior/interior)
  • Engineering structures
  • Flooring
  • For heavy construction
  • For light construction
  • Wall panelling

Veneers

Wood extractives (including oil)

Wood gas (and other hydrocarbons

Wood hydrolysates

Wood residues

Wood wool

Wood-based materials

  • Composite boards
  • Fibreboard
  • Gypsum board
  • Hardboard
  • Improved wood
  • Laminated veneer lumber
  • Laminated wood
  • Medium density fibreboard
  • Oriented strand lumber
  • Oriented strandboard
  • Particleboard
  • Plywood
  • Wood cement

Woodware

  • Brushes
  • Cutlery
  • Industrial and domestic woodware
  • Turnery

Prevention and Control

Top of page Fire is a major hazard where there is a combination of high temperatures, low humidities and strong winds and whereas stands can carry fires readily, young trees are easily killed by ground fires, and crown fires are fatal. Pryor (1991) notes that fire is rarely specified as a potential control method for this species but could be a cheap and efficient technique. Weber (2003) suggests that mature trees are cut and then the area burned several months later to remove large numbers of seedlings. Hand pulling is effective for small numbers of seedlings and immature trees (Weber, 2003). The economic importance of P. radiata conflicts with any potential biological approach for control (Cronk and Fuller, 1995).

References

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS)http://griis.org/Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

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