TREES & plants

Eastern white pine

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. 

Botanical name: 
Pinus strobus
All Common Names: 
Eastern white pine, white pine
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
  • Evergreen (foliage year-round)
Native Locale: 
  • Chicago area
  • Illinois
  • North America
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 3
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
Growth Rate: 
  • Fast
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun (4-6 hrs light daily)
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Inconspicuous
Size Range: 
  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)
Shape or Form: 
  • Irregular
  • Pyramidal
  • Spreading
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Shade
  • Screen
Time of Year: 
  • Early winter
  • Mid winter
  • Late winter
  • Early spring
  • Mid spring
  • Late spring
  • Early summer
  • Mid summer
  • Late summer
  • Early fall
  • Mid fall
  • Late fall
More Information: 

Size & Form

A 50 to 80 feet high and wide evergreen with a uniform conical shape when young becoming more open and loose with age.
Fine textures needles and fast growing.

Tree & Plant Care

Prefers moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil in sun, although young trees tolerate light shade.
Avoid planting in open, windy sites.
cold tolerant.

Disease, pests, and problems

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

Native geographic location and habitat

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

Attracts birds & butterflies

Cones attracts birds such as the siskin, nuthatch, crossbill, jay, finch, and woodpecker. 

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

Needles arranged in clusters with 5 needles; 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.

Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus)Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus)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

Upright eastern white pine (Pinus strobus ‘Fastigiata’ ):  This narrow, upright cultivar grows 30-50 feet tall and 10-20 feet wide.

Dwarf eastern white pine (Pinus strobus 'Nana' ):  A compact or dwarf cultivar, 3-5 feet wide and tall.

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.