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Antelope Valley TreeFarm  
Trees that we have in stock and grow

Pinus eldarica (Afgan)

Pinus Eldarica (aka Afghan Pine, Mondel Pine, Elder Pine, Goldwater Pine)

Pinus Eldarica (Afgan)

Available in 
5 gal,   15 gal,    24in box,    36 in box

5 gal

The Eldarica Pine tolerates heat, wind and dry conditions very well. Eldarica pine is a desert tree it is not adapted to high rainfall or irrigation areas.

Eldarica, also known as Mondell and Afghan pine, is a desert tree. It has no chance of living long term in an irrigated landscape.

Watering: Turn the water to a slow flow and water the Eldarica pine thoroughly. Water the pine tree every other day for the first month. As the season progresses, gradually decrease the watering to once a week for the first year.

Watering while in the ground:
Unlike container watering the ground holds the water better. You do not need to water as much in the winter months (once every 2-3 days) and when the summer heat is on , once and if real hot twice a day, but do not get the roots soggy or the tree will die from the top down. (It is recommended to place pipes or a gravel pack under the tree so the lower roots get moisture).


Use a general-purpose fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 3/1/2. Apply as instructed on the package, normally in the spring and the fall.

Lay a 2 to 3-inch layer of organic mulch over the cleared area. Keep the mulch 1.5 to 2- inches away from the trunk of the tree. Mulch placed against the tree, invites disease, and insect damage. The mulch prevents weeds from growing and helps hold in soil moisture.

Feed your Eldarica Pine with a 3-1-2 general all-purpose fertilizer. Feed them once in the spring and fall. Check the tree during the first 3 years of growing for bark aphids or mites. If you notice any pests, spray the tree with insecticide or horticultural oil according to label directions.

Planting the Eldarica Pine
Remove the Eldarica pine tree from its container. If the rootball is stuck, cut the pot away with a sharp knife. Don't cut too deep or you will sever the root section. Also, be careful not to break the soil around the rootball. Keeping the rootball intact improves its chances of survival.

Fill the hole with water and wait for the water to drain into the soil. This ensures that there is adequate moisture down deep. It should take an hour or so before the water drains away.

Amend the soil you removed from the hole with an equal amount of sandy loam soil. Fill the hole 2/3 full of the amended soil.

Insert the rootball into the hole. Don't worry if the rootball sticks above the surrounding soil, because you'll want the top to be 1/4. to 1/2 higher. checking to make sure the top of the rootball is slightly higher than the surrounding ground. The soil beneath the rootball will settle, leaving the rootball level with the ground. Add or remove the soil until it is the right height.

Check to see that the rootball is centered and the tree is standing straight. Backfill with amended soil around the rootball. Tamp the soil with your hands as you go to remove air pockets.

How to Plant Eldarica Pine Trees

The Eldarica pine tree (Pinus eldarica), also called the Afghan, Mondel, Elder or Calabrian pine, is a pyramid-shaped pine with widely spaced branches. The Eldarica pine can tolerate wind, drought and heat, growing best in USDA hardiness zones 6 through 10, where winters are milder and minimum annual temperatures don't drop below minus-5 degrees Fahrenheit. Growing 30 to 60 feet tall and 25 to 40 feet wide, the Eldarica pine tree is grown for use as Christmas trees and for windbreaks. This pine tree has dark green, stiff, long needles and 3-inch oval or oblong reddish-brown cones.

Step 1
Select a planting site for your Eldarica pine tree that's in full sun and has deep, well-draining soil. Ensure that the location has plenty of room for the Eldarica pine tree to grow to its aforementioned mature height and spread.

Step 2
Dig a planting hole that's twice the width and depth of the root ball. Loosen the soil in the bottom of the hole and mix into the displaced soil some sandy loam soil, so that you have equal parts native soil and sandy loam.

Step 3
Remove the Eldarica pine tree's root ball from the burlap or nursery container. Set the root ball into the planting hole so that the top of the root ball is level with the ground.

Step 4
Backfill the planting hole with the amended displaced soil. Water the soil deeply to soak the soil around the roots.

Step 5
Water your Eldarica pine tree deeply to thoroughly moisten the soil to the depth of the roots once every two to three days during the first month. Gradually decrease your watering frequency thereafter to once per week for the rest of the first year.

Tips and Warnings
Watch out for insects infesting your Eldarica pine trees, especially during the first few years of planting them. Eldarica pines are most susceptible to bark aphids and mites. You can spray the Eldarica pine tree with a horticultural oil or an appropriate insecticide to get rid of these pests.


























Pinus Eldarica is the scientific name of this extraordinary pine. Common names for this tree include Mondell pine, Afghan pine and Lone Star Christmas tree, but the most widely accepted is simply Eldarica pine.

The Eldarica pine was first observed some 2500 years ago in the desert regions of the Middle East. This desert-loving conifer developed its hardiness through an unusual history in a desolate corner of southern Russia near the Caspian Sea. Its tough nature is a legacy molded by relentless heat and drought. About 500 B.C., Persian nobility used the Eldarica pine to create forested gardens where few other plants could even survive. It was so prized that commoners were forbidden ownership of the tree - from which comes its name - "The Tree of Royalty." The Eldarica pine was first introduced to the Southwestern United States from Asia in the fall of 1961. The United State Department of Agriculture brought five pounds of Pinus Eldarica seed from Afghanistan and distributed it to several universities to research as to the plant's adaptability. The Eldarica now thrives in landscapes throughout California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

The Eldarica looks much like a Scotch pine. It grows in a natural Christmas tree shape without pruning. The Eldarica has symmetrical branching and needles 4 to 5 inches long both of which contribute to the fullness of the tree.

These pine trees are available as container grown trees and can be planted now. So if you have the urge for piney woods, at least give yourself a chance by planting one which is adapted--the Eldarica.

The Eldarica Pine is a very hardy pine used in the lower zones of the southwest desert. Eldarica Pines typically grow faster than other pine tree varieties and use lower amounts of water while providing larger amounts of shade. The common uses for Eldarica Pines are for parks, golf courses, school grounds, commercial properties, and front or back yards. Eldarica Pines fit into most landscape designs, especially as a wind break or as a privacy screen.

The best known feature of the Eldarica Pine is that it keeps its Christmas tree shape throughout its life. Many people will purchase Eldarica Pines as living Christmas Trees, and then plant into their landscape after the season is over giving it another use after the holidays.

Pinus Eldarica (PIE-nus ell-DAR-eh-kah)
Pineaceae (Pine Family)

Zone 6 (-10 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit)
Thrives in desert heat, drought & wind. Also good at the seashore. Tolerates poor soils, difficult arid climates.

Native to:
Afghanistan, Pakistan & Southern Russia

Drought tolerant:
Excellent once established.

Growth Habits:
Shapely tree with wide spacing between branches. Stiff long dark green needles at maturity. Grows in most hot, dry climates as well as tolerating colder climates.

Rate of Growth:
Moderate to fast, especially in youth. 30' to 80' at maturity

Root System:
Deep rooted

Wildlife Value:
An Eldarica Pine windbreak makes valuable cover, nesting and breeding areas for upland game and songbirds. In winter, seeds and fruits of trees and shrubs provide food for non-migratory species.

More Common Pests:
Bark Aphid, Mites

To control the more common pests:
Apply an Ultra Fine Spray Oil such as "Sunspray"

Watering while in the container:
Do not allow the soil to dry out. Keep moist by watering daily. Water enough for drainage through the bottom drain holes. Misting does not provide enough moisture to be a benefit.


Using hand or hedge shears keep pruned to the desired shape. Prune in May and in September.

Pest Control:
Use the appropriate insecticide for the pests that you are treating for, following the instructions on the container. Only use insecticides when needed.

Pines require full sun.

Transplanting to the Ground:
Plant using a good sandy loam soil mixture mixed and with native soil. Prepare a hole twice as large as the rootball, loosen bottom soil and plant so that the top of the rootball is level with the existing ground level. The root system needs air and this is supplied by the surface roots. Immediately after planting, water well, then follow the above watering instructions until the roots have spread (approximately 1 month). Slowly begin to increase the length of time between waterings to once per week. Remember to water deeply to encourage the roots to grow downward.

Transplanting to another container:
When transplanting to another container use the next largest size. Select a container that has drain holes. Plant using good sandy loam soil mixture. Do not plant the root ball any deeper that it is planted in the current container. The root system needs air and this is supplied by the surface roots. Water tree well, immediately after planting, then follow the above watering instructions of keeping the soil moist by watering daily.

To protect trees from colder temperatures than what is recommended through "Sunset Garden Book", an anti-transpirant may be applied to help the tree tolerate temperatures of 3 degrees lower than they might otherwise.


Preventive Care
Offer consistent care to Afghan pines, as healthy plants are more likely to avoid and recover from pest and disease problems than unhealthy, neglected plants. Afghan pines grow best in areas of the garden that provide full sun exposure and well-drained soil. These trees tolerate both acidity and alkalinity as well as clay soil and drought. For best performance, gardeners should grow Afghan pines in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 6a to 8b.

Borer Pests

Pine tip moth
Afghan pines are susceptible to tip moth infestations. Pine tip moths, such as the southwestern pine tip moth (Rhyacionia neomexicana), lay eggs in newly formed plant tissue, including buds. Larvae from hatched eggs bore, or tunnel, and feed into the tissue in which they are born. After forming cocoons on the tree trunk, tip moths grow and exit as adults. Damage from feeding includes dieback on the tips of twigs.

Sucking pests
Sucking pests such as aphids feed on Afghan pines, sucking fluid from plant tissue. These tiny, dewdrop-shaped pests with long legs display bodies in a variety of colors such as red or black. Often feeding in groups, as aphids suck plant sap from foliage, they secrete a sugary, sticky substance called honeydew. This substance falls onto surfaces below, including foliage and twigs. A black-hued fungal infection called sooty mold often grows on areas saturated with honeydew, inhibiting sunlight absorption. Though sooty mold does not directly harm the health of the pine tree, aphid feeding results in distorted, yellowed foliage and diminished health in the case of severe infestations.


Cotton root rot disease
Though Afghan pines are typically prized for their resistance to problems, such as disease, they may experience problems with cotton root rot disease. Caused by the fungal pathogen Phymatotrichopsis omnivora, root rot first occurs during summer. Needles discolor, become brown and dry out, but do not fall to the ground. As the disease progresses into autumn, roots decay and the entire tree appears dull and falls into a state of decline. Gardeners will notice the presence of a white thread-like fungal growth called mycelia on roots. Root rot may result in plant death.

To control tip moth on Afghan pines, gardeners should first release natural enemies, or beneficial insects, that kill pests, to control the problem. Available for purchase at garden supply stores, parasitic wasps offer control. For severe infestations, applications of an insecticide with an active ingredient such as pyrethrum offer stronger control. To control most sucking pests, the release of natural enemies, such as parasitic wasps, lacewings or lady beetles, provides effective biological control. For more serious infestations, gardeners may apply a low-toxicity pesticide, such as narrow-range oil or neem oil, to control the problem. For management of cotton root rot disease, fungicide controls are ineffective. However, gardeners may "cut back to one-half the top growth to compensate for roots lost to the disease," while maintaining moist soil, which will allow trees to recuperate by the end of the season.

The major problem with Afghan pines is that people over water and over fertilize. Because Afghans grow in approximately 20 inches of annual rainfall, they never need to be watered very often. Therefore, people who want to grow Afghan pines should find the hottest, driest place, water twice after planting, and then never water again, especially by a sprinkler. The quickest way to kill an Afghan is to irrigate and grow grass next to them. If your Afghan pine is dying from the base up and inside out on the branches, then it probably has Diplodia pinea and it is a "goner" (to much water).

We have found that products with a 2 way insecticide, contact and systemic, is very effective in reducing infestations of insects on these trees. Such as the below products that contain the same ingredients

Bayer Advanced's 2-way action Complete Insect Killer 
For Soil & Turf Ready-To-Spray Product
(see this page)
Active Ingredients:

Imidacloprid: 0.15%; 
Beta-Cyfluthrin: 0.05% 

Eldarica plant description in PDF