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.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Evergreen (foliage year-round)
- Chicago area,
- North America
- Residential and parks
- Shade tree,
- Large tree (more than 40 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 3,
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7
- Acid soil,
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Moderately Tolerant
- Moderately Tolerant
- Intolerant of pollution
- Edible fruit
Season of Interest:
- Early winter,
- Mid winter,
- Late winter,
- Early spring,
- Mid spring,
- Late spring,
- Early summer,
- Mid summer,
- Late summer,
- Early fall,
- Mid fall,
- Late fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
- Game birds,
- Small mammals,
Tree & Plant Care
Prefers moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil in sun, although young trees tolerate light shade.
Avoid planting in open, windy sites.
Very cold tolerant.
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.
Native geographic location and habitat
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 eedles arranged in clusters of 5; densely crowded near the ends of horizontal branches.
Thin, soft, 3 to 6 inches long, 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.
photo: John Hagstrom
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Long and slender, up tp 8 inches, cylindrical brown cones with obvious white resin tips.
Cones remain on the tree for 2 years.
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, with updates made according to current research. 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, 3-5 feet wide and tall.
Fastigiate Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus ‘Fastigiata’ ): This narrow, upright cultivar grows 30-50 feet tall and 10-20 feet wide.
Weeping Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus ‘Pendula’ ): Typically 15 to 20 feet high and 12 to 15 foot 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.