Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus)

To 150′, USDA Zone 4 – Current Availability

Long lived, may exceed 450 years, five needle pine, up to 150′ at maturity, rounded crown becoming flattened and irregular. Horizontal tiered branches give a layered look. Soft, bluish green needles. Fast growing.

Ornamental, used in large gardens and parks where it’s eventual size can be appreciated. Planted 8-15′ apart, with regular shearing they are one of only a few pines that can be trained as a soft needle hedge or screen. Excellent tree for reforestation, shelterbelts. Susceptible to injury from road salt. Provides shelter and food for birds and small mammals.

Popular live or cut Christmas tree. Good needle retention long after harvest, good color and easily sheared. With little to no scent it is well suited for people with allergies. A 6′ tree can be reached in 6-8 years. The soft needles used extensively for holiday wreaths and garlands.

Important commercial softwood timber tree. Smooth textured, fine grained wood, used in construction, interior and exterior finishing, furniture, cabinets and carvings. Many colonial buildings still standing today used Eastern White Pine for paneling, floors and furniture.

Native to eastern North America from Newfoundland west to the Great Lakes region, south along the Mississippi Basin and Appalachian Mountains to northernmost Georgia and Mississippi preferring cool humid climates. Full sun, well drained soil. White Pine Blister Rust and White Pine Weevil susceptible.

During colonial times the British Navy hand selected specimens with tall straight trunks to be cut for ship masts. They would mark a tree with the “broad arrow”. It was illegal for anyone else to cut one of these trees creating strife between the colonists and the British. This played a significant role in the events leading up to the American Revolution. It was considered great sport for the patriots to see how many of the King’s trees could be cut down and hauled off. Known in England as Weymouth Pine named after Captain George Weymouth of the British Navy who planted it in Britain as a timber crop, but had little success.

Native Americans used the inner bark medicinally and as a food source. The cambium layer can be pounded and used as a flour. Linnaeus noted in the 18th century that cattle and pigs fed pine bark bread grew well, but he personally did not like the taste. Seeds are sweet and nutritious. Pine tar is produced from the wood. Resin was used to waterproof baskets, pails and boats and medicinally to treat infections.