You must be familiar with the white pine Christmas tree which is not very white! Yes? White Pines are the tallest Pines in the American region, reaching a mature height of about 180 feet. These evergreen beauties are native to Eastern North America.
The light to bluish-green foliage, wide trunk, and typical compact pyramidal growth makes it one of its own kinds. Besides this popular usage, these pines are famous for their wood and usage in medicine and decoration purposes.
However, these are not much suitable for the fans of bulky Christmas decorations. The soft and bendable branches of these pines make them unsuitable for heavy ornamentation. Still with us? Let us know more about these glorious, tall, and long-lived pine trees.
White Pine Christmas Tree Classification
The genus comprises about 126 accepted plant species with about 35 unresolved species and several synonyms.
Pines are long-lived and coniferous trees with an average height range of 15 to 45 meters. The genus includes a few shrubs with a height range of 3 meters while some tall species about 80 meters tall.
The foliage of these trees is usually divided into four types depending upon their age. These types are;
- The seed leaves which grow on seedlings
- Seed leaves grow into the 2 to 6 cm long Juvenile leaves.
- After a time period of about 6 months to 5 years, the Juvenile leaves form the Scale leaves. These are small and brown in color
- The scales finally mature to get a green photosynthetic form, known as ‘Needles’.
These pines form woody oval-shaped fruit known as Cones. These Cones carry seeds inside their scales.
Pinus is one of the most commercially beneficial genera. Wood pulp and timber from pine trees are famous all over the world. Moreover, they are widely used for ornamental purposes in both indoor and outdoor plantations. Besides many other uses, Christmas tress is one of the most famous and interesting uses of the Pines.
White Pine Christmas Tree Common Names
- Eastern or Northern White Pine.
- White Pine.
- Weymouth Pine.
- Soft Pine.
Features of The White Pine Christmas Tree
Height and Structure
- These enormous pines can get about 80 feet tall. Moreover, they may get as wide as about 40 feet on maturity.
- The bark on young pines is soft and greenish-brown which gets brown and textured on maturity.
- These trees grow in a specific pyramidal shape. The branches grow at right angles from the trunk in the center.
- The leaves are soft and flexible and arranged in bundles of five.
- Each leaf is about 3 to 5 inches in length.
- The fall or shedding of the needles is usually observed at the end of the second growing season.
- Flowers or Strobili of both genders occur on the same tree.
- These trees are capable of self-pollination in the spring season.
- Cones of this pine reach maturity by the end of the second growing season. Each cone is about 5 to 8 inches long at maturity.
- The scales of these cones are never spiky and quite soft in nature.
- The specific fragrance resembling the gummy resin is a unique feature of these cones.
These beautiful trees even produce small edible nuts. However, the collection of these nuts is a little tough job.
Toxicity and Pet Safety
All the parts of the plant are non-toxic in nature. However, the needles are not suitable to be eaten by babies and pets. The leaves may cause health issues like infection and vomiting. Thus, it is better to avoid letting them mingle with your Christmas tree.
The average age of these pines is around 200 years. However, according to records, the oldest White Pines lived as old as around 450 years.
White Pine Christmas Tree Care
Let us have a look at how to take care of your White Pine Trees.
The White Pines can get up to 80 feet with a width of about 40 feet. Sometimes, the size may increase up to 150 feet. Thus, if you want to grow this enormous peep, make sure you have enough space to accommodate it. People with smaller yards can go for smaller cultivars of the White Pine like the ‘Nana’ and ‘Compacta’.
The basic strategy of watering pines is to water the upper layer (about 20 inches) generously. Let the soil (at least the upper layer) get dry out between consecutive watering.
We often get a question about how to know if the pine needs water or not. Well, the water requirement of the plant is variable and no fixed amount can be told. It depends upon factors like humidity, temperature, sunlight, and the nature of the soil.
In summer, the water requirement of the tree is maximum. Alternatively, the trees don’t need much water on colder days and can survive 3 to 4 weeks of drought. Similarly, the water absorption rate of sandy and loamy soil is lower than that of normal soil.
How to check if the Pine Tree needs water?
Well, you can simply take a 20 inches metal rod and dip it inside the soil. If it reaches the harder soil earlier before it goes 20 inches deep, the plant needs water. In addition, the rod coming out dry from the soil is also an indication to water the tree.
You can also check the soil moisture by taking out some from 6 inches deep. If the soil felts mucky or watery, the soil doesn’t need water yet. Over-watering and soggy soil lead to issues like root rots. Thus, before you start watering your Pine, make sure it actually needs it.
Signs of Over-watered soil:
If the soil is moist without even rain, it is a sign of wet soil. Moreover, mushrooms growing under the shade of your pine also show a need to cut down on watering.
The Eastern White Pines need bright direct light. However, they can also survive in well-lit shades with bright indirect light
The ideal temperature range for the White Pine trees is between 18 to 23° C.
White Pines can tolerate a variety of humidity levels. However, they prefer humid air for lush foliage and good growth.
Rich well-drained soil with acidic PH is ideal for the Eastern Pines. However, they can go well along with different types of soils in your growth zones.
Young White Pine plants prefer a slow-release fertilizer. In the second growing season, use 2 to 4 pounds of a balanced fertilizer per hundred feet of the growing area. You can use a fertilizer with 10-10-10 Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and potassium. In the case of larger trees, you need to measure the diameter of the trunk. Use 2 pounds of fertilizer per inch of diameter of the tree trunk.
Cutting and Pruning Requirement
You can prune the Pines lightly by the end of winter. This helps to maintain the shape and size of the tree. These trees don’t need heavy pruning. The evergreen foliage does not grow back readily after the heavy trimming and leaves the tree leggy. Thus, avoid giving a heavy haircut to your Pine baby.
If you want to make your Pine bushier, pinch off the candles in the spring season.
This plant is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 7.
White Pine Christmas Tree Propagation
The places where these trees are abundant don’t need any specific propagation. It is just the natural magic that makes the glorious white Pine forests. Birds eat the seeds from cones and become the natural tool for spreading the seeds.
Pines can be propagated through different methods.
Propagation by Stem-cuttings
Stem-cuttings can be taken in September. Branches of two to six-year-old trees are cut straight. Cut and use the last four to 6 inches of the branches. Remove all the lower leaf clusters while keeping only a few clusters at the top. Make sure you avoid tearing the bark while cutting. These cuttings are then planted in rich and moist well-drained soil for further growth. The White Pine Christmas Tree Farms are usually made through this method.
Propagation by Seeds
Seeds are obtained from pines and sown in suitable environments for further growth. The natural growth
Uses of The White Pine Christmas Tree
Pines are one of the most useful trees. Let us have a look at the uses of the White Pine in particular;
Timber and Wood
The wood of this tree is world-famous. It is used in interior millwork, lumber construction, packing boxes, boat making, and much more. High-quality basal logs are one of the most profitable uses of this pine. However, this can be obtained by proper forest management. The older trees are strong and dry with high resistance towards the fire.
Medicinal Uses of White Pine Christmas Tree
The needles are used popularly for medicinal uses. The high vitamin C content and oils make the foliage useful in different forms. These uses include as an expectorant, mild diuretic, respiratory and bronchial medicine, immune and circulatory stimulant, and expectorant. The taste of the needles is a mild mixture of sweet, sour, and bitter.
Fresh green foliage can be taken from the trees anytime in the year. People even wait for the fall season to collect the fallen needles and things twigs and use them. Some of the leaves get yellow and dry while most of the foliage remains green even on the colder days. This is a smart practice that saves time and energy for the collection of the foliage.
Privacy Trees and Fences
These tall trees are also used in making fences and privacy sheets for gardens and lawns.
White Pine Garland
The leaves (needles) of the trees are used for making fresh garlands. These White Pine Garlands are famous for adornment since ancient times. These are even copied and created fake as natural traditional jewelry.
White Pine Wreath
Another use of this soft foliage pine tree is in wrath making. The newly grown soft branches of the tree and its foliage is used in making the popular White Pine Wreaths for decorative purposes.
And last but not the least, these pines are popularly used as Christmas trees. The greenish-blue color, pyramidal shape, evergreen foliage, and wide trunk make it useful in this field. White Christmas Tree with Pine Cones is pretty desirable for ornamental uses.
However, the soft foliage and bendable branches make the foliage bendable and unsuitable for heavy ornamentation.
White Pine Christmas Trees are the tallest Pines in the American region. The evergreen, bluish-green foliage and typical pyramidal growth habit make them popular in different uses. These uses include Christmas decoration, wood, lumber, medicine, and ornamentation. These long-lived trees can reach up to a height of about 180 feet with an average age of about 200 years. These Pines need moist, well-drained soil, a cool humid atmosphere, and full sun.