Pinyon Pine

Pinus edulis

The Pinyon pine (Pinus edulis) is a water-thrifty tree that will shine in your yard. This small tree rarely grows above 20 feet. With its yellow-green needles, it is the perfect choice for those smaller spaces. If you are looking for a unique addition to your landscape, make sure to choose this pine tree.

Pinyon Pine Attributes

This Pinyon pine is also known as the Piñon pine. There are several species of the Pinyon pine, including the single-leaf Pinyon (Pinus monophylla), Mexican Pinyon (Pinus cembroides), and Colorado Pinyon (Pinus cembroides edulis). This small pine tree can be found in the foothills and upland plains of the American Southwest. These trees are an essential food source for birds in the wild, such as the blue jay and Clark’s nutcracker. Mule deer are even known to nibble on the branches.

You can quickly identify the Pinyon pine with its numerous branches, thick trunk, and rounded crown. The yellow-green needles will reach 2 inches long and remain on the pine for up to nine years. The needles are slightly curved and come to a point at the tip of the branch. When these slow-growing trees are young, they usually have a compacted oval shape. As the tree matures, the crown becomes more open. You can expect this tree to reach an average height of 10 to 20 feet.

The Pinyon pine produces small cones that look like brown roses. Within the cones, there are edible pine nuts. These nuts will ripen and make a tasty treat from late September to October.

Pinyon Pine




  • Plant Type: Conifer, Shrub, Tree
  • Watering Needs: Water twice monthly; less once well established, more in extreme heat.
  • Botanical Pronunciation: PY-nus ED-yew-liss
  • Deciduous/evergreen: Evergreen
  • Growth habit: Slow
  • Average landscape size: Slow growing; reaches 10 to 20 ft. tall and wide in 10 years.
  • Special features: Bird Friendly, Easy Care, Edible, North American Native Selection, Waterwise
  • Foliage color: Green
  • Blooms: Conifer; prized for foliage, cones, and seeds.
  • Flower color: cone producing
  • Flower attributes: 
  • Garden style: Rustic
  • Design Ideas: Erosion Control, Hillside, Mass Planting, Rock Garden, Specimen, Wildlife Garden
  • Companion Plants: Maiden Grass (Miscanthus); Beardtongue (Penstemon); Bluebeard (Caryopteris); Russian Sage (Perovskia); Tickseed (Coreopsis)

Pinyon Pine Landscape Uses

These Pinyon pines are a perfect addition to those smaller landscapes. You can use them as an accent for your yard. With its small, bushy appearance, the Pinyon pine is ideal for those privacy screens. These pines are an excellent tree to plant on those berms, but the area must have well-draining soil. If you are looking for the right contrast in your yard, you can combine Pinyon pines with sagebrush, Apache plume, or rabbitbrush. Add the darker Pinyon to contrast the blue-green colors of those junipers.

These trees love those hot, dry areas throughout Colorado. However, you may want to think twice about planting these trees in regularly irrigated landscapes. Too much water can damage these trees. If you are looking for the best pine choice in the area, make sure to choose the Pinyon pine.

Pinyon Pine Care and Planting

These Pinyon trees are tolerant of infertile and poor soils. They can even establish on those rocky slopes. However, Pinyon pines require good drainage.  This pine thrives in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 8. If you are looking for the best results, plant this pine in full sunshine.

Since the Pinyon does develop a deep taproot, it is vital to choose the right location for its planting. It should not be placed in an area where it cannot fully develop. This Pinyon pine is tolerant of droughts, but you should always monitor its water levels. For those newly planted trees, they need regular irrigation. During the summer, you will want to water them at least twice a month. For those other seasons, the Pinyon pine only requires a deep soak about once a month. You will have to watch for an extended drought with the Pinyon pine. After years of severe drought, this pine is more susceptible to the Pinyon beetle.

You will want to remove the stem tips of the younger tree to help promote branching. For those who want to increase air circulation, you may have to thin out the Pinyon. By removing a few whole branches from the trunk area, you can prevent some diseases.

Get Your Pinyon Pine Today!

Pinus edulis

This Pinyon pine is not a fast grower, but it still makes a mighty addition to your landscape. These pines live long lives, with some exceeding 600 years. If you are looking for a tree that requires minimal maintenance and thrives in dry soil, you need to choose the Pinyon pine.

If you have fallen in love with the Pinyon pine, then Arbor Valley Nursery can help you. We are ready to find the right tree, shrub, or plant for your landscape. We have a large selection of nursery and landscaping items. There is one that is the perfect match for your business. For more information about these pines, please take a few minutes to fill out the contact form.

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