yellowish green needles
seeds are brown and speckled with darker brown
Eastern White Pine, Pinus strobus L.

Common names: Northern White Pine, White Pine, Northern Pine,
Soft Pine, Weymouth Pine, Pin Blanc


Eastern White Pine holds the title of the tallest native conifer in the Northeast. Typically, it grows 75-100 ft tall and in extremely good sites, 150 ft is possible.  Trunk diameter is usually between 2-4 ft.  Eastern White Pine is a long lived tree, reaching 200 years of age, possibly up to 450 years.  A rapid grower, at 20 years, heights of 40 ft can be expected and at 40 years, 60 ft can be achieved.  It is believed to have grown even taller in the past, before extensive logging in the 1800's decimated populations.  When in a closed forest environment, the straight trunk, or bole, can be branch free for 2/3rds of its length, the upper 1/3 an open irregular crown. Eastern white pine's bark is smooth and gray on young trees, becoming broken into small plates when mature. The root system is deep, 40 inches or so, with spreading

Eastern White Pine prefers moist, well-drained, sandy loam soils with a pH range of 4.0-6.5; however, it grows on nearly all soil types. It establishes on sites at both ends of the moisture scale from wet bogs and stream beds to sand plains and rocky outcroppings.   It is often found along the eastern shores of lakes as new seedlings take root where wind felled trees once stood.  Elevation varies depending on area within range.  In New England, pinus strobus occurs from sea level to 2,000 feet but in the southern Appalachian Mountains, its elevation is restricted to 1,200-3,500 ft.  Additionally, north facing slopes seem have a higher rate of occurrence.  For survival, annual rainfall needs are 20-80 inches, requires 90 frost free days and has a minimum temperature of -33
°F.  It is not drought tolerant and has only a moderate ability to draw moisture from soils.  This is enhanced by a symbiotic relationship to microrrhyae, a fungus, which grows on roots. 

Eastern White Pine is a highly valuable and important native timber tree in the Eastern United States.  Once highly prized for use as ship masts because of its straight, tall, clear trunk, it's modern uses include trim, doors, lumber, paneling, Christmas tree products, pulpwood, veneer,  and
nursery stock.  The seed is edible and it is popular for use  in residential, park and recreational areas.  Also, this species has been used extensively
in soil stabilization in strip mines.  The wood is soft, of medium strength and is easy to work.  It also accepts stains and finishes well and is a favorite for use in furniture.  It has also been used to make beautiful formal evergreen hedges but is only suited for large areas.

Trees of North America- A guide to field identification-a Golden Field Guide from St. Martin's Press © 2002 By C. Frank Brockman p.22

USDA, NRCS. 2011. The PLANTS Database (<>, 22 August 2011). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

Carey, Jennifer H. 1993. Pinus strobus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [2011, August 22].

The Encyclopedia of North American Trees by Sam Benvie. Firefly Books Ltd., 2000 Buffalo, NY © 2000 Sam Benvie p.182,183
Photo citation: Robert H. Mohlenbrock USDA NRCS 1995. Northeast wetland flora; Field office guide to plant species. Northeast National Technical Center, Chester
Map courtesy USDA PLANTS Database
Photo citation: Robert H. Mohlenbrock USDA NRCS 1995. Northeast wetland flora; Field office guide to plant species. Northeast National Technical Center, Chester
Photo citation: Steve Hurst @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
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laterals and has no distinct tap root.  The needles are 3-5 inches long, bundled in 5's and dark green.  They are soft, flexible, fine and persist to the second year. Beginning at age 5-10, curved, 4-8 inch long spine free cones start growing.  Male strobili open and disperse pollen from April to June, depending on location.  It will take 2 years for cones to mature.  Seeds are typical of pines in their small size, .08 inches, brown color and single winged.  Dispersal is from August to September.


Germination requires cold stratification and it may be propagated by bare root, container plantings, cuttings, and seed.  Seedlings require 20% or more of full light for survival.
Pests, Diseases, and Elemental

Precautions should be taken with mature established Eastern White Pines not to disrupt root fungus by changing the ground elevation, fertilizing, or altering draining pattern near the tree.  This species is also sensitive to soil compaction, drought and pollution.  There are two primary agents that attack Eastern White Pine. One is the white pine weevil, Pissodes strobi, the other is white pine blister rust, Cronartium ribicola.  It is due to the inevitable damage caused by the latter; however, that Eastern White Pine isn't widely replanted
in north central region where vast amounts of these trees once stood.  In the New Jersey Pine Barrens, all pine species are suffering from a decline  in growth rate.  It is believed to be a result of acid rain. This native plant is also susceptible to sunscald if suddenly exposed.