Content Detail

The Eastern white pine is a tree for landscapes with ample space. Its fine feathery needles, open canopy, and straight trunk get more picturesque with age. Trees are fast-growing and long-lived.

This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.

  • Family (English) Pine
  • Family (botanic) Pinaceae
  • Planting site Residential and parks
  • Tree or plant type Tree
  • Foliage Evergreen (foliage year-round)
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Large tree (more than 40 feet)
  • Mature height 50-80 feet
  • Mature width 20-40 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil
  • Season of interest early winter, midwinter, late winter, early spring, mid spring, late spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer, early fall, mid fall, late fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous
  • Shape or form Broad, Irregular, Pyramidal
  • Growth rate Fast, Moderate
  • Transplants well Yes
  • Planting considerations Intolerant of pollution
  • Wildlife Browsers, Game birds, Moths, Small mammals, Songbirds
  • Has cultivars Yes

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 9. Native to Eastern U.S., Newfoundland to Georgia

Bark color and texture

Mature bark is dark grayish-brown with broad ridges and deep furrows.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, texture, and color

Evergreen needles arranged in clusters of 5 and densely crowded near the ends of horizontal branches. Thin, soft,  3 to 6 inches long and medium green, needles remain on the tree for two to three years before dropping in the fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Male pollen cones are in whorled clusters at the tips of branches. Female flowers are yellow and in pairs near male flower cones.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Up to 8 inches long, and slender, the cylindrical brown cones have obvious white resin tips. Cones remain on the tree for two years.

Tree and plant care:

Eastern white pine is easily transplanted, quick to establish and regain rapid growth. It is adaptable to most soil types unless excessively wet.

Disease, pests, and problems:

Susceptible to chlorosis symptoms in high pH soils. Sensitive to salt and air pollution. Intolerant of wet or heavy clay soils.

Cultivars and their differences:

These plants are cultivars of a species that is native to the Chicago Region, according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region. Cultivars are plants produced in cultivation by selective breeding or via vegetative propagation from wild plants identified to have desirable traits.

Blue Shag Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus ‘Blue Shag’):

A dwarf variety growing only 2 to 3 feet high.

Dwarf Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus ‘Nana’ ): 

A compact or dwarf cultivar, 3 to 5 feet wide and tall.

Fastigiate Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus ‘Fastigiata’ ):

This narrow, upright cultivar grows 30 to 50 feet tall and 10 to 20 feet wide.

Weeping Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus ‘Pendula’ ):  

Typically 15 to 20 feet high and 12 to 15 feet wide. Blue-green needles cascade from twisting, weeping branches. This weeping form may require some training to produce a leader that will affect the ultimate height and spread of the plant.



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