The beauty of the Pine Tree
Pines are evergreen trees which feature long, needle-shaped leaves. They are extensively planted throughout North America. You can find pine trees all across the land – in the lowlands, in the Appalachian forests, in the cold mountains of Alaska, in the Rocky Mountains, and everywhere in between.
South Carolina residents are most familiar with the Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). And the Congaree National Park there has some huge specimens. According to their web site, "We have a loblolly pine out here that's as tall as a 17-story building." (Zones 6-9).
One of the fastest growing southern pines, the Loblolly pine grows natively along the east coast -- from New Jersey to Florida to Texas.
Photo: Loblolly Pines in Congaree National Park
In the northeast, Pinus strobus – often known as the eastern white pine or northern white pine, is the tallest native conifer. With a typical height of 75-100 ft, this is a long- lived tree, with 200 years not being uncommon. This tree prefers moist, well-drained, sandy loam soils, but it grows in nearly all soil types. ( Zones 3-9)
In the west, Pinus ponderosa, or ponderosa pine, grows southward and eastward from Northern Washington, across approximately 16 western states . Ponderosa pine grows best in full sun and will adapt to a wide range of soil and growing conditions including high wind, and high elevations. (Zones 3–7).
Photo: Ponderosa Pine tree by the edge of Bryce Canyon, Utah
Pine trees have a number of benefits for homeowners:
Photo: Pine trees provide year around beauty.
1. Year around beauty: Pine trees are prized for their all-year foliage.
2. Privacy screens: Pines are widely used as a living fence. They can hide your yard from view, and also block your view of nearby streets or neighbors.
3. Noise and wind breaks: Pine trees are very effective at blocking the wind and dampening outside noise.
4. Low maintenance: You won’t have to rake, or blow leaves every fall!
5. Since they are fast-growing trees, you’ll see the results quickly.
6. Wildlife enjoy the dense foliage and branching habits, which provide cover.
7. Many pine species are utilized for erosion control – because the roots hold the soil in place while the pine needles help protect against falling rain.
And of course, many are used as Christmas trees, with the boughs being used in wreaths or other decoration. Inside or outside, they provide a pleasant aroma!