How often water pine tree

How Much Water Does a Pine Tree Need? (Explained) – LeafyJournal

Almost all of us admired those landscapes with pine trees or the next-door neighbor’s backyard adorned with tall pines. And so if you wish to have a few pine trees at your place, we won’t get surprised! 

While planning to plant pine trees there are a few queries you might have. For example, how much water you’ll need to provide a pine tree. 

You can get the answer here in brief along with much other detail that you can’t avoid while taking care of a pine tree!

How much water does a pine tree need?

Pine trees require different amounts of watering during different phases of their life. A mature pine tree needs 1 to 3 inches deep water in its soil every week, which requires 1.4-1.5 gallons of water every day. Whereas a baby pine needs to be watered twice or thrice in a week 1 to 2 inches deeply. 

Table of Contents

Pine trees are very popular and adored all around the world. Talk about their height or those aesthetic leaves, pine trees are beautiful in every way.

Pine trees at different stages require a different amount of water. Moreover, how much water they need depends on a pine tree’s diameter too. 

Let’s know pines, at their different stages, needs how much water! 

Mature/Full-grown pine tree:

Though a full-grown pine tree doesn’t need watering every other day, once in a week they should be provided 10 gallons of water. That means a mature pine needs 1.42-1.5 gallons of water every day to stay healthy.

Newly planted pine tree:

A pine that’s just been placed in the earth surely requires much water to strengthen its roots. Based on the diameter of the trunk of the tree, 1 to 1.5 gallons per inch diameter is the daily need of a newly planted pine.

Baby/small pine tree:

Baby pine trees or pine trees are a bit bigger version of newly planted ones. These tiny pines require less than newly grown ones. Baby pine trees demand about 0.25 – 0.4 gallons of water a day until the shrubs grow taller. 

They should be kept 2 inches damp all the time.

Ponderosa pine tree:

Ponderosa, a species of pines is known for its high drought toleration ability. But while growing from their early stage they need much water. 

That’s why they should be watered 1 inch a day, which according to the trunk diameter rule is equivalent to 1.5 to 2 gallons for a day.

Large pine tree:

Pine trees that are longer and larger than average ones need 1.4 -1.5 gallons of water in their root daily. This means a damp ground of 18-20 inches should be maintained. 

However, they don’t need to be watered every day since they are mature pine trees. 

Potted pine tree:

A pine tree planted on a pot should be watered deeply. To grow and stay green they need 0.4-0.5 gallons of water daily. To hold its hydration, it’s better to keep 1 inch from the top moisture all the time.

How do I know if my pine tree needs water?

You might be sitting in calm thinking your pine tree is getting enough water. But what if you’re guessing it wrong? To know if your pine tree needs water, you have to observe a few signs thrown by the tree as well as test the soil. 

Dry soil:

Dry soil around the root is the most common sign that your pine is underwatered. Dig a few inches deeper near the root with a screwdriver and if you can’t do that smoothly because the soil is hard to go through then your tree needs water. 

You can also test the soil by taking a plum full of soils from 5-6 inches deeper, If the soil there isn’t cool or soft, the tree is crying for water.

Unseasonable leaves shedding:

If your pine tree is dropping leaves earlier than usual, like in the summer, then it’s because it lacks moisture.

Discolored needles:

Needles that have lost the natural color are another signal that your pine tree is not getting enough water. Needles of a pine tree, when don’t get enough moisture turns yellow or brown and fall off at the end.

How often do I need to water my pine trees? How long can a pine tree go without water?  

Except for newly planted ones, pine trees don’t need frequent watering. Mature pine trees need watering once a week to look healthy and green. But on dry days, regular watering is needed to avoid drought stress.

Newly planted pine trees require water 2 or 3 times a week for the first 2 years. Thus they can settle their roots firmly.

Pine trees have a natural ability to put up with dry weather. Even in the driest areas, a mature pine tree can live for around 6 months without any water.

However, where the tree is planted also decides its longevity without water. Pine trees that are planted in clay soil cannot go long without water. But a pine that’s growing in sandy earth can survive without water for a good time.

How to water a pine tree?

If you have a pine tree, then you must learn how to take care of it properly. So that it grows healthy and lives long. However, how healthy and green a pine tree can look depends much on how it’s been being watered. 

Here we’ve shared five easy steps following which you can water your pine tree correctly.

Use a hose:

The first step is to arrange a hosepipe to water the tree adequately. Any hose, soaker, or garden one will do the work.

Connect it to the water source:

Then find a nearby water source to connect the hose. Make sure the water isn’t too hot or salted.

Set the water pressure:

Before starting watering fix the water pressure to a light stage. If it’s a baby pine, then keeping the pressure high can harm the plant.

Water from various angles:

Turning the water source on, make the water flow in slow motion. Water the surface around the pine tree from different angles. 

Take breaks during irrigation:

Lastly, maintain a break of 10-15 minutes after each cycle and check the moist level around the root area with a water probe or screwdriver.

Can you overwater a pine tree?

Watering a pine tree more than its requirement is a big no. It can invite various problems for the tree which can make you work too hard to save it.

Pine trees usually don’t need a lot of water after it has reached the grown-up stage. They can be watered once a week in the depth of 1-3 inches from the base. Moreover, a few species of pines are highly able to carry on without water, even for months. 

If you overwater a pine tree the soil pockets around it can get clogged with water thus the roots may drown and be destroyed. Slowly the tree will lose its greenery as the needles will turn brown and then drop excessively. 

Overwatering can make the whole tree brown and put an end to its life. So you cannot and should not water pine trees excessively.

How to tell if a pine tree is overwatered?

To avoid any major damage caused by overwatering it’s wise to know the symptoms earlier. Here’s how can you know if a pine tree is overwatered:

Saturated soil:

The soil around a pine tree shows the first sign of overwatering. While observing the ground if you find the surface too wet and muddy, take an attempt to go a bit deep into the ground. 

If the soil from 6-10inch depth feels muddy and watery then you know the answer.

Change in the needles:

Too much water can cause discoloration to pine needles. Those green needles will suddenly turn brownish having spots on them when overwatered.

Needle drop:

Pines are evergreen trees. So they hardly drop their needle in bulks unless there is an imbalance. If you notice too much needle fall, it’s a result of overwatering the tree.


Mushrooms need a drastically damp area to grow. So if you see mushrooms around the trees’ roots, it’s because the soil there is too damp. 


A rotten root creates fungus that causes canker in a pine tree’s bark. So if you find any spot or discharge in the bark, it’s overwatered.

Final Thoughts: 

A fully grown pine tree needs 1.4 to 1.5 gallons of water every day. But they don’t need to be watered constantly as watering once a week covers the demand. A newly planted pine tree requires 1 to 1.5 gallons of water each day, regularly. Generally, pine’s water absorption depends much on their age.

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Scotch pine on your site. Planting, growing, care. Diseases and pests. Photo - Botanichka

For people who are tired of the quick change of elegant green foliage to yellow, of the problems associated with the annual collection and burning or disposal of leaf litter and the need for constant and annual pruning, aimed at forming a beautiful appearance of the tree, we advise you to plant on your own coniferous plot, and specifically - common pine, which we will talk about today.

Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris). © Von Falkenhayn

Pine, like most conifers, remains ornamental throughout the year. Scotch pine ( Pinus sylvestris ) is perhaps the brightest representative of the pine family, and it not only has a chic and lush crown, but is also a source of a very pleasant and healing air aroma of needles.

However, taking into account all the advantages of Scotch pine as an ornamental plant, we still do not observe the presence of this crop in every plot. Of course, if the site is small - this is one thing, but it happens that for some reason there is no ordinary pine in fairly large areas. Perhaps it is not often possible to meet Scotch pine on the site because it is believed that it is difficult in agricultural technology, but in reality it turns out completely wrong.

Pine description

Scots pine is a coniferous and evergreen tree. It belongs to the Pine family, to which larch and pseudo-larch also belong, unlike pine, they shed needles that have expired during the growing season and look rather unsightly in late autumn, winter and early spring.

In its natural habitat, Scotch pine grows quite actively and often exceeds a height of five tens of meters. The common pine lives on the site for a very long time - over five hundred years.

As you know, pine has no leaves, they are replaced by needles 6-8 cm long. Each needle is attached to the twig in pairs. The needles are not eternal, each lives from three to five years, then it is replaced by a new one. Usually needles located in the crown on the south side live less than those located on the north side.

Scots pine cones are obovate in shape, usually drooping and consisting of scales behind which seeds are hidden. At the beginning of their development, the cones are very dense and tightly closed, but over time, their scales open, which means that the seeds have ripened in the cones.

More details about other types and varieties of pine can be found in the material: Pine - types and varieties

Growing pine: planting

Planting time for pine

at the very end of April and beginning of May), or in autumn (at the end of September and until the beginning of October). If you plant Scots pine on the site in late autumn, then there is a risk that it will not be able to quickly adapt to the site, and, therefore, be ready for winter, and the seedling may die.

Selection of pine seedlings

As for Scotch pine in particular, and most conifers in general, when choosing planting material for these crops, one should focus exclusively on the purchase of seedlings with a closed root system, that is, placed in a container.

The advantages of such seedlings are very significant: perfectly developing the root system, which was not tormented by transplants, a whole clod of earth in a container in which the root system is enclosed - all this will allow plants to be planted on the site without problems, as well as beneficial microorganisms that are in symbiosis with Scotch pine , which are stored on the root system of seedlings placed in containers.

If, when buying pine seedlings, the roots of which are wrapped in ordinary burlap or bags, you are assured that the bacteria on the roots are alive, do not trust such sellers. The fact is that these beneficial bacteria die after a maximum of a quarter of an hour in the open air. For the same reason, when transferring from a container to a planting hole, you should not hesitate, the seedling should be immersed in the soil as soon as possible after being removed from the container, which is why it is important to dig planting holes in advance when planting Scots pine from a closed root system.

However, one should not think that if the bacteria die, the seedling will come to an end, in fact this is not entirely true, a Scots pine seedling can be planted in the soil even after it has lain with an open root system for more than a quarter of an hour, but in In this case, the risk that the seedling will not take root in a new place will be higher.

In addition, when choosing a pine seedling in a nursery, do not chase for their large sizes, firstly, it is noticeably expensive (from $ 1,000 and more), and secondly, the older the seedling, the risk that it is in a new place will not take root, it will be significantly higher. Pay attention to five-year-old pine seedlings, they cost half as much and take root ten times better.

Scots pine 'Fastigiata' (Pinus sylvestris ‘Fastigiata’). © RosBum Scotch pine "Watereri" (Pinus sylvestris ‘Watereri’). © LuberaScotch pine 'Albins' (Pinus sylvestris ‘Albyns’). © Oriental Garden Supply

Pine Planting Site

Scots pine will grow and develop well in a well-lit area, but it will also do well in a rare shade. If the common pine is planted in full shade, then it will develop much worse there, it can grow one-sided or twisted, because its shoots will literally reach for the light.

Once the site has been chosen, the planting hole must be made. The size of the pine hole can be a couple of centimeters wider and deeper than the container, so that drainage and nutrient soil can be added to the walls and the base.

When planting, try to choose a place for Scotch pine without stagnant melt or rainwater, because this plant does not tolerate excess moisture. Since we remembered the drainage, be sure to lay it on the bottom of the hole 4-6 cm thick, it can be pebbles, broken bricks or expanded clay, it doesn’t matter.

A nutrient soil layer should be placed on top of the drainage layer, which should consist of a mixture of nutrient soil, flavored with soddy soil, river sand and humus in equal proportions with the addition of a teaspoon of nitroammophoska. This composition must be thoroughly mixed and a thin layer (2 cm is the maximum) laid on the drainage layer.

Planting a pine tree

Next, you need to be very careful not to destroy the earth ball, cut the container and place the earth ball with a pine seedling in the prepared hole. The key to success here is precisely the installation of a seedling in a hole without affecting the earthen clod.

When planting Scotch pine, try to place it in a hole so that the root neck of the pine eventually, even after the soil has settled, is at the level of the soil surface, therefore, after planting, the soil must be well compacted so that even if the soil settles, it will will be minimal. On loose soils, which can noticeably settle over time, Scotch pine seedlings should be planted so that the root neck is even slightly above the soil surface; you should not worry: in a month it (the neck) will exactly equalize with the ground.

After the final planting, the pine seedling should be watered with a bucket of water at room temperature and the surface should be mulched with peat or humus with a layer of a couple of centimeters in order to save moisture in the soil. When watering, you can not only moisten the soil, but also spray the crown with a spray bottle, do not forget that conifers are very fond of “bathing”.

Pine cultivation: care

About watering - Scotch pine, especially at a young age, is very demanding for watering, so the soil should not be allowed to dry out. In addition, pine is not heroically resistant to bright sunlight and frost, so shading and shelter are needed, but adult plants, already from the fifth year, do not need such protection.

Pine watering

Watering rates largely depend on the various periods of the plant's life. So, young, newly planted trees require watering about once a week. In this case, watering should be carried out with a large amount of moisture, pouring under each tree, depending on the presence of natural moisture in the form of rain, from one bucket to three buckets (for each). Plants are older, that is, the next year after planting, you can water only a couple of times during the entire warm season, but in this case, depending on the presence of natural precipitation in the form of rain, six to nine buckets of water at room temperature should be poured under each plant . As we mentioned above, do not forget to spray and spray the crown of Scots pine, she loves bathing very much. Irrigation by sprinkling, that is, moistening of the crown itself, must be carried out in the evening, when the sun has already hidden behind the horizon. Bathing the crown of Scots pine can be done at least every evening.

Top dressing of pine

Mature Scots pine plants do not need top dressing, but only the plant that has enough of everything will form an ideal crown. For coniferous crops, and Scotch pine is no exception here, compost is just an ideal top dressing (it is best to apply in the spring). Before applying compost, it is necessary to loosen the soil in the tree trunk well, a couple of centimeters deep, and add compost to the loosened soil, evenly distributing about 150-200 g of compost per square meter, after which it is desirable to close it with a small layer of soil. If the weather is dry, then the soil before composting, but after loosening, must also be well watered.

As for mineral dressings, it is enough to apply them once in the warm season, approximately in its middle, by spreading the fertilizer in dry form along the near-trunk strip of the plant, and then abundant watering. Quite often, nitroammophoska is a good complex fertilizer for Scots pine - it must be applied in the amount of a matchbox for each plant.

Image of Scots pine at different ages. © Frédéric Bec

Pine weeding

Trunk circle (many people think that in Scots pine you can forget about it after planting a tree on the plot), but in reality this is not entirely true. Until the plant is five years old, and it is considered still young, the trunk circle must be kept clean - loosen the soil, remove weeds, mulch it after watering. The weeds themselves, perhaps even at a young age, will not cause serious inconvenience to a well-developed tree, but pests and diseases living on them can spread to a pine tree, then you will have to fight the enemy already on your territory. In addition, weeds, forming real dense thickets, inhibit the normal evaporation of moisture from the soil surface, allow moisture to stagnate and thereby create simply ideal conditions for the development of a fungal infection. Of course, when weeding in the near-trunk strip of Scots pine, you need to be more careful - a chopper or hoe cannot be buried more than a couple of centimeters, otherwise you can easily damage the roots that are close to the soil surface of this plant. After weeding the soil, you can water it and mulch it, for example, with humus - this will retain moisture and slow down the growth of weeds.

Pine pruning

As Scots pine grows and develops, it may well need pruning. In this case, the cropping will be corrective rather than shaping. Pruning is needed in cases where, under the influence of shade or other factors, the crown turned out to be one-sided or when individual shoots stick out ugly, breaking out of the overall ideal picture (contour). In this case, you need to carefully remove all the shoots that stand out from the general contour with a simple pruner, ensuring that the crown becomes symmetrical and lush again. By the way, if the growth of pine has slowed down, then in May you can pinch the very ends of young growths, this technique will allow you to send the nutrients of Scotch pine to the formation of lateral shoots and slow down the growth of the central conductor, so the tree can somewhat limit growth upwards.

In addition, in the spring time, the pine tree should be carefully examined for broken, dried branches and, if any, are found, they should be removed immediately.

Preparing pine for winter

As soon as the first frosts descend on the soil, you can start covering the pine planted in the area. First of all, you need to cover the roots of a young tree, insulate its legs, for which the base of the tree must be mulched with humus with a layer of 9-11 cm. Mulching, among other things, will ensure that a safe temperature is maintained in the root layer and retain moisture in the soil. If you live in regions where winter winds are frequent and the wind can blow snow from the near-trunk strip of pine, then it is advisable to lay spruce paws on top of the mulch layer - excellent snow retainers.

Take care to protect yourself from sunburn, which often affects Scots pines. The risk of sunburn is highest in the spring when the bright sun begins to shine. To protect young plants of Scotch pine from sunburn, it is necessary to wrap them with a non-woven covering material.

Pine cultivation: reproduction

Anyone can buy a pine tree in a nursery, but could you propagate it yourself in your garden? In fact, it is not so difficult, the easiest way to propagate Scots pine is to sow seeds. When sowing seeds in the autumn on a bed with loose and nutritious soil, almost all of them will sprout in the spring (up to 9one%). However, despite such a high germination of seeds, there are also quite high losses of seedlings when growing seedlings. This happens most often from ignorance; so, few people know that young shoots definitely need shading and regular watering, so that the soil is constantly a little wet. Only in the third year does a single twig of a pine seedling acquire side shoots, and only then can it be called an independent plant.

By the way, you can grow Scots pine seedlings at home. To do this, around the end of January, the seeds need to be wrapped in a cloth and placed in the refrigerator so that the seeds go through stratification there, that is, they prepare themselves for sowing.

Around April, pine seeds can be sown in boxes with loose and nutritious soddy soil, deepening about a centimeter. After sowing, the boxes should be placed on the southern windowsill and covered with foil until germination. In the future, before the emergence of shoots, the soil must be watered from the spray gun, and as soon as shoots appear, the film must be removed. When choosing the option of growing Scots pine plants at home, you need to learn that these plants will grow in a pot for two or three years, and only after that they can be planted on the site. When transplanting, it is very important not to expose the root system of seedlings, trying to transfer the seedling along with a clod of earth.

If Scotch pine grows on your plot, but is an ornamental form obtained from it, then it is necessary to use the grafting method for propagation. As a rootstock (the plant on which the vaccination is carried out), seedlings of Scots pine, about four years old, should also be taken. Vaccination can be carried out both by a cutting (in the spring) and by a kidney (in the middle of summer).

Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris). © gartenliebe

Diseases and pests of pine

It is necessary to inspect the pine for various damages to both the bark and needles, for example, for a change in their color, this may indicate the onset of some kind of disease.

Pine pests

Of the pine pests, spruce-fir hermes is considered the most dangerous, its activity leads to the fact that the needles turn yellow. The colonies of this pest are like snow-white cotton wool that covers the needles. To overcome the pest, it is necessary at the first sign of its appearance to treat the plant with insecticides.

Common spruce sawfly - this pest eats needles with pleasure. At the same time, the needles become red, as if they were burned. If there is a lot of pest, then young shoots can be completely left without needles. To combat this pest, you can use Fufanon or other insecticides, strictly following the instructions for use.

The bark beetle is a small beetle, reaching a length of 0.5 cm. The beetle in the wood of Scots pine literally gnaws through passages and lays eggs in these passages, from which entire colonies of the same individuals subsequently appear. It's scary to think, but even an adult tree can be completely destroyed by bark beetles in 45-50 days. If you notice holes in Scots pine wood, then insecticides may not help, here you need to, in addition to treating the surface of the tree with an insecticide, also inject this drug into the holes. Processing can be carried out weekly until the complete extermination of insects.

Scotch pine seedlings. © Sanja565658 Male cones on Scots pine. © Beentree Scots pine cones. © John Haslam

Diseases of pine

Schütte vulgaris - this disease belongs to the category of fungal diseases. With it, at first, brown spots form on the needles, so small that they can not be seen right away. Over time, the spots increase, grow, turn yellow, after which they become brown in color, and the needles at this stage of disease progression begin to fall off. Under the fallen needles on the branches of Scots pine, you can see mycelium, they look like dark formations of the most different shapes. In order to overcome this disease, it is necessary to treat the plants with colloidal sulfur in the autumn (a tablespoon per bucket of water, the norm for 2-3 plants) or 1% Bordeaux mixture.

And, of course, rust is the most common disease of Scots pine. With this disease, orange spots and swellings can be seen on the shoots, which spread quite quickly throughout the plant and can spread to neighboring, still healthy pines. If the infection is already strong enough, then there is nothing left but to cut off the affected branches and burn them, and if the whole plant is affected, then uproot it and also burn it. This way you will prevent further spread of the disease. Of the control measures, treatments with colloidal sulfur and Bordeaux liquid can be used, as described above.

So, as you understand: Scotch pine can become your reliable friend throughout your life, it will decorate the site and give you shade and fresh air, without saddening you with falling leaves and without forcing you to clean it. With proper care, the pine tree will remain young and beautiful for centuries, and not only you, but also your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be happy with it.

Pines. Planting and care

Site selection

All types of pines grow well in open sunny places. With a lack of lighting, the crown loses its shape and becomes loose, and the needles become dull in color. The black pine is considered the most shade-tolerant ( Pinus nigra ), which needs 4–5 hours of direct sunlight for full development, or it can be planted in an area with diffused lighting. Pines are undemanding to soil conditions and grow well on loamy, chernozem, sandy and clay soils. The main thing is that there is no prolonged stagnation of water in the selected area.

Planting time

Closed-rooted pine seedlings can be planted outdoors from April to mid-October. When planting in hot summer or late autumn, mulching with organic material (pine bark, coconut fiber, pine litter, etc. ) is used and a frame shelter is installed to shade and retain moisture.

Preparation for planting

For better rooting, before planting, the seedling is soaked for half an hour in a solution of a root formation stimulator (Kornevin, Heteroauxin, Rooting, etc.).

A typical planting hole is one and a half times the size of a pine container. On heavy or acidic soils, a planting pit 60x60 cm in size is prepared in advance. It is optimal if the pit has the shape of a truncated cone with gentle walls, and the drainage layer at the bottom is 10–15 cm (expanded clay, crushed stone, chipped brick). The soil mixture for backfilling is made up of soddy soil and sand or clay (on sandy soils) in a ratio of 5: 1 with the addition of a glass of wood ash and 200 g of dolomite flour. Weymouth Pine (R. strobus ) and black pine grow best on alkaline soils, so the use of deoxidizing materials is encouraged.

Planting out

If there are remains of grafting tape or wax at the grafting site, they must be removed, and small cracks on the trunk should be carefully cleaned from exfoliated bark and covered with a thin layer of garden pitch.

Immediately before planting, the seedling is removed from the container. It is advisable to carefully spread the roots around the periphery of the root ball. Damaged or rotten roots are trimmed to healthy tissue.

For a plant with a vertical crown or for standard forms of pines, a strong wooden or metal peg is driven into the planting hole for further tying. The rope in this case is selected synthetic, soft and elastic. Pine is planted in a planting hole so that the root collar is 3-5 cm above ground level.

The root collar is above the topmost root branch. When filling the landing pit, it is better to shed the earth from the watering can in several steps so that there are no voids left, but it is impossible to compact or trample down the soil with effort. After watering, the trunk circle is mulched and, if necessary, a temporary shelter is installed.

Watering and fertilizing

In the year of planting, the pine has enough food laid in the planting hole. In subsequent years, a specialized fertilizer with trace elements for conifers (30 g per sq. M) is used, plus mulching, which enriches the land with humus. Dwarf varieties of pines do not need top dressing. Feeding diseased plants is not recommended.

Young plants in dry weather should be watered from a watering can (minimum 20 liters) once every two weeks. Mature pines are drought-resistant with the exception of Rumelian pine ( P. peuce ) that needs additional watering. To successfully root and improve growth, root stimulants or biological preparations with mycorrhiza are used.

Preparing for winter

In the first year after planting in open ground, the seedlings are sheltered by installing a frame of arches or sticks and using synthetic material. Mature plants are very winter-hardy, but some varieties of black pine, small-flowered ( P. parviflora ) and common pine ( P. sylvestris ) need shelter or protection from the early spring sun. Plants with a spreading, loose or, conversely, vertical crown are best tied to stakes so that they do not deform from wet snow.


Sanitary pruning, if necessary, in early spring. You can start forming pruning in the second year after planting. In May, young growths-candles are shortened by 1/3 or removed for better branching and maintaining a compact shape.

Protection against pests and diseases

Biofungicides are used to prevent fungal diseases in the warm season, and Bordeaux mixture or colloidal sulfur is used in early spring or autumn. To protect against insects, at the end of April, mid-May and at the end of July, the crown is sprayed with systemic preparations that are absorbed into the pine needles. They are effective for up to two weeks.

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