With a natural distribution spanning the whole of Europe and the whole of northern Asia, Scots pine is one of the most naturally widespread tree species in the world. It is one of only 3 native conifers in the UK and has been used as a commercial conifer for many years. The species does well on low fertility sites and can cope with both dry sandy soils as well as shallow soils or low fertility peaty ground where other species would struggle to remain productive. It is often grown over long rotations due to its slow growth however this means that the timber is of the highest quality.
The species currently accounts for 16.5% of conifer cover in the UK and is the second most widespread species behind Sitka spruce. Planting and productivity have been hit by the prevalence of dothistroma needle blight which does infect the species however management to reduce the impacts means that the species still retains its prominent place within the forestry mix.
There are currently 4 orchards for this species owned by a Co-op member. There are also 226 plus trees which have been tested allowing for future orchards to be selected based on the best material available.
Future research is likely to focus on disease resistance and ensuring that new orchards are reaching the potential expected of them.