Evergreen: White Pine General Information

What is the White Pine?

Also known as the Weymouth Pine, the white pine is considered to be one of the most valuable evergreen trees in Eastern North America due to its fast growth and uses for its lumber. This large coniferous evergreen is native to Eastern North America and can get as tall as fifty to eighty feet tall and have width of twenty to forty feet when full grown.

Appearance of the White Pine

white pine coneThe white pine generally has an oval, pyramidal shape. Its leaves are needle-like. These needles can be two to five inches long and are flexible, usually a bluish green in color, which gives it an attractive appearance. These needles are found in clumps of five in the fascicle which attaches the needles to the branches.  Being a conifer, the white pine also has cones which are slender and scaled from four to eight inches in length. The bark of the white pine is smooth and gray when the tree is young, but as the tree matures, the bark thickens and becomes darker.  When flowering, the male trees produce a yellow flower and the female trees produce a light green flower with hints of red.

Where is the White Pine Found?

This tree exists mostly in the areas that it is native to in Eastern North America. It can be found all across southern Canada as well as in some states in the Northern Midwest United States such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and New Jersey. The white pine can even be found as far south as Northern Georgia, though this is usually in the mountains in the cooler climate.  The official hardiness zones that it grows in are zones 3 – 8.

Growth of the White Pine

white pines behind fenceThe white pine prefers humid climates and cool temperatures and does best when planted in well-drained, sandy soil. In fact, this tree can grow decently in places with poor soil where many hardwood trees would not fare well like dry rocky soil, or wet marshy bogs. It is one of the fastest growing forest conifers in the north. The white pine is an easy plant to transplant and grows fast. It can grow in full sun or partial shade which makes it a great candidate for urban planting. Generally, this evergreen sees the fastest growth rate when it is planted in the open, but the white pine can also endure being planted under a canopy of other trees as long as enough light reaches it.

What Attacks the White Pine?

There are a few diseases and insects that affect these evergreens.  The major disease that attacks these trees is White pine blister rust, which is actually a fungus that grows on the tree branches.  It is white and spotty and looks somewhat like snow on the branches and can be contained only by pruning off the infected limbs.  A major insect pest is the White Pine Weevil which kills the terminal shoots, or the shoots that are the outermost and newest.  This will deform the tree and stunt growth because the tree favors these shoots instead of the established inner and lower branches.  The tree can also be affected by air pollutants.

What are Some Uses for this Evergreen?

The white pine has too many uses to count. Some are listed here, and we have a more in depth look at uses posted at White Pines: What are they used for?.

  • In nature, there are many animals that enjoy its resources for both food and shelter.
  • It is often used as the evergreen of choice for urban planting and is a major part of reforestation efforts because of its fast growth rate.
  • People often use smaller specimens as Christmas trees during the holiday season.
  • The lumber of pines is extremely valuable and is used in furniture, decorative trim, and even shipbuilding.
  • The long slender needles also give a unique addition to any backyard landscaping project.  You can buy white pines here at Elizabeth Farms or other reputable tree nurseries.
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