White Pine Tree
The spreading, pyramid-shaped white pine adds a soft, yet majestic touch to landscaped yards and gardens in throughout America's eastern seaboard and Midwest as well as lower Canada. Growing fifty to eighty feet tall and widening to as much as forty feet in diameter, the mature white pine fits in gracefully with many different styles of architecture and plantings. Known by early American settlers as "The Monarchs of the Forest," these hardy trees provide excellent visual screens. In pre-colonial times, white pine forests featured giants reaching two hundred thirty feet in height. Today, many people like to use five-to-eight foot tall-year-old white pines for their Christmas trees. The soft, blue-green spiral-shaped needles provide a harmonious background for many different types of Christmas decorations.
The white pine does very well in well-drained by moist soils, but can survive and even thrive if planted in soil conditions ranging from dry, rocky hilltops to soft wetland borders. These highly adaptable trees grow quickly, up to 25" per year, so plan your landscaping context around them accordingly. Young and mature white pines do very well in full exposure to sunshine or partial shade. Their inherent toughness means white pines are very easy to transplant. Along with their quick growth, this characteristic means the white pine is a desirable candidate for transplanting as windbreaks or to enhance privacy. Also, depending on geographic location, white pines can add visual interest to your yard or garden because their seeds attract wildlife including chickadees, mourning doves, nuthatches, rabbits, mice, red squirrels, and even black bears. Red crossbills are especially fond of white pine seeds. Nuthatches and grackles like to build and conceal their nests among white pine needles. In certain geographic areas, white pines should be fairly carefully monitored since mammals like snowshoe hares, beavers, porcupines, rabbits, and mice like to eat the bark and can potentially damage the trees. Even though they grow quickly, white pines are still valued for their straight-grained durable wood. Today only about one percent of the wild forest once presided over by the "Monarchs of the Forest" remains.
Historically, the white pines were much coveted by the English navy. The white pine turned out to be ideal for shipbuilders, who had not ever had such quality lumber to work with. They appreciated the wood's strength and its sap made it quite water-resistant. But American colonists who had settled relatively close to the Atlantic shore were cutting down all the available giant mast-sized white pines for their own uses. Thus, in the late 17th Century, the English Parliament passed laws banning American colonists from cutting down white pines that had been marked by arrows for the sole use of "King's Men." This restriction on cutting down white pines became one of the American colonist's grievances which eventually caused the American Revolution.
White pines, with their impeccable historic pedigree, beauty and adaptability will certainly make fine additions to a wide variety of properties.