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Eastern White Pine

Mature Eastern White Pine. This pine tends to have an open crown, with large horizontal limbs. Makes a good climbing tree. The tree will keep lower branches until they are shaded, so in the open it remains full to the ground. In a stand, it will drop lower branches and have active growth only in the top third of the tree.

Eastern White pine on a rock.

Take a close look. This tree is growing on top of a large rock. Tough tree.

Eastern White Pine

Pinus strobus

As a boy scout in northern Idaho, I spent parts of several summers at Camp Grizzly. Part of the camp had a grove of old growth white pine, probably western white pine. Monster trees. As part of my forestry merit badge we had to measure some of these trees. 224 feet tall. 64 inches diameter for the biggest one by the instructors cabins.

Eastern White Pine

This is one of my 3 year old white pines, ready for a new home or soon, a new pot.

Eastern White Pine

Close-up showing the long graceful needles

That tree is no longer there. I talked to Glen, the caretaker some years later. (He was 86, and still cutting his own firewood!) The tree was hit by lightning, and had a split running down the trunk. They took it down before it fell, possibly destroying a cabin.

Eastern white pine is one of the fastest growing needle trees in Canada. According to some sources it can grow up to 5 feet per year. It will get very large.

Eastern White Pine

Like most pine, needles are in tufts at the end of twigs.

Eastern White Pine is one of the 5 needle pines. Five needles in each cluster, each needle being very fine, almost like the bristle of a stiff paint brush. New growth is pale green with white lines of stomata.

Jury is still out on how hardy they are here. My first trial didn't do very well, but my second trial, now coming into their second summer here are doing very nicely.

I have two in my yard, one about 12 feet and one about 10.

They go through a very silly looking phase due to rapid growth where they have multi-foot gap, a cluster of small branches, a gap, a cluster, all the way up. Looks like a pole vault pole dressed is a few tu-tus. As the branches lengthen they hide the gap.

Sun: One of the few pines that is moderately shade tolerant. If you have dappled sun, you have enough light.

Water: EWP likes moist sites, but once established will grow on sandy sites. Establishment on fast draining soils requires watering when the top few inches of soil are dry. Does not like wet clay soils.

Soil: pH can be very acid. Doesn't do well on alkali soils. Very intolerant of salt. Does very well on peaty soils. Grows well on mineral soils, mossy soils, medium grass cover.

These three factors favour planting as an edge species in an existing grove of poplar. Recently tilled soils (farm soils) tend to be too alkaline. Does better on soils that have been several decades since last tilling. (Tillage reduces organic matter in soil, reduces humic organic acids and raises pH.)

More info from the USFS

Eastern White Pine

Middle of second summer early on a dewey morning. Seeing young trees like this is one of the rewards of my life.

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Sherwood's Forests is located about 75 km southwest of Edmonton, Alberta. Please refer to the map on our Contact page for directions.