Plants By Type
- Pine Trees
Pine trees grow throughout the world in hardiness zones 3 through 9. The Northern Hemisphere alone is home to over 110 species. These tough conifers tolerate a wide range of soil conditions and offer shade, privacy screening, and protection from wind. In addition to these pleasant effects, pine trees also have major environmental benefits.
The branching characteristics and compact foliage provide cover for small wildlife such as birds so that they can roost and nest. Young pine trees grow with their limbs reaching towards the ground. This provides shelter for creatures from wind, temperatures and predators. As the saplings mature, the canopies grow higher off the ground. The straight, tall trunks of these trees keep predators from ascending into the foliage.
Mature pine trees like loblolly pines, spruce pines and virgina pine trees also produce cones that provide nutrient-rich seeds, a welcome food source for small animals such as chipmunks and squirrels. Since birds love the seeds as well, plant pine trees to attract feathered friends. For example, the cones from ponderosa pines appeal to mourning doves, nutcrackers, jays and rufous-sided towhees.
Soil Erosion Control
Layers of fallen needles from pine trees help lessen the impact of precipitation, and the roots hold soil in place. Both factors control erosion. Many pine tree species are even specifically planted to help keep the environment in check. This especially applies to Monterey pine and Virginia pine. The former works well on steep slopes, and the latter can help restore balance in severely eroded areas.
Pine trees release aromatic compounds that not only smell nice, but convert into aerosol particles. These rise up and form cloud droplets in the air. The result is a cooling effect that can benefit the environment.
Ponderosa pine trees are a major part of U.S. agriculture, you don’t need to have lots of land to enjoy their benefits. Since they tolerate cold, sun and drought, they make an ideal addition to gardens and backyards of any size.