If you were in the unfortunate position of being permitted only one evergreen conifer, it is likely that most tree experts would recommend you choose a White pine, or as it's known throughout much of the world, a Weymouth pine. This is Pinus strobus, a North American native that is possibly even more popular in the UK than the US, so much so that most Britons think it's native to that island. The reasons that this pine is so popular with connoisseurs though is the lovely form and texture. It has massive, horizontal branches with plumy, blue-green needles and an arresting asymmetry that makes this one of the most ideal specimen trees available. Pinus strobus lacks the stiff rigidity that is so noticeable in Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris) and Austrian pine (Pinus nigra) and that has much to do with its popularity in the UK, where it has been grown since the early 17th century. Eastern White Pine is also the state tree of Maine and Missouri.

It can grow 100 to 120 feet tall with a three to five foot diameter trunk and spread 50 to 60 feet. In most landscape situations however, it will be found growing in the 50 to 80 foot range, making this splendid tree more suitable for larger plots and country properties. The juvenile period sees rapid growth that tapers off with age. And these young trees are more pyramidal with one central leader, while the tiers of horizontal branches give the mature tree its impressive form. The gray bark is also quite attractive. This is also one of the few pines that work quite well as a screen or hedge since it retains its lower branches, and it's soft texture makes the barrier more beautiful than forbidding. All of this is only possible within its hardiness range, of course, since White pine prefers cool weather, meaning the upper half of the US, Lower Canada, the UK, New Zealand and temperate Australia. Weymouth pines also make excellent Christmas trees with the added benefit of wonderful pine fragrance. And there are numerous cultivars that have been developed over the centuries making one form of White pine or another suitable for most landscapes. One of the more interesting cultivars is the beautiful and interesting Twisted white pine, or Pinus strobus torulosa. As usual, trees this special will not be found in the popular landscape nurseries but more likely in a specialty, mail-order, plant nursery.

White pine / Weymouth pine



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