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Plant Directory

White Pine: Pinus strobus

The White Pine, often called the Eastern White Pine, is the tallest tree in the eastern American forest. Although it typically reaches 50 – 80 feet in height, it can grow to 150 ft. or more. The spread is usually less than half the height. White Pines are typically pyramidal in shape with a strong, straight trunk. They are also long-lived trees; some specimens are over 500 years old.

 

White Pines are extremely common in our region and have a variety of uses. They are still grown commercially for lumber and telephone poles and are popular as Christmas trees. Many cultivars are available. Although most White Pines have deep bluish-green needles, cultivars have foliage ranging from silvery blue to golden green. The trees have 2 - 5" long needles in bundles of 5.

 

White Pines are relatively fast-growing trees, so they are often used in reforestation and as screens or wind-breaks.  They prefer well-drained, slightly sandy, acid soil and full sun but can grow in a variety of locations. They are not tolerant of road salt or pollution.

 

Advice from the arborists at Almstead:

White Pines are beautiful trees, either alone or grouped, but they are often planted for the wrong purpose or in the wrong place. Because of their rapid growth habits, they are planted as screens or windbreaks. This is a short-term solution, since these trees can grow to be enormous. Eventually, many of these trees will need to be removed in order to provide room for others to grow.

 

We also see trees planted near roadways. White Pines are not salt-tolerant, and the effects of road salt are easily seen in rows of browning pines. Because it is wind-blown, road salt can damage plantings that are 100 feet away or more. There are other more salt-tolerant trees or shrubs we can recommend for those locations such as blue spruce or baldcypress.

 

White Pines are susceptible to White Pine Weevils, which can be extremely damaging in large numbers, but can be controlled. Pine Rust used to be a problem for these trees, but is rarely seen in our area today. We recommend periodic inspections of White Pine trees to identify and head off disease or infestation.

 

Photo sources:

Top: Richard Webb, Self-employed horticulurist, Bugwood.org

Bottom: Keith Kanoti, Maine Forest Service, Bugwood.org

White Pine

White Pine cones and needles

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