fbpx Jack pine | The Morton Arboretum

Jack pine

Jack pine cones.

Jack pine is very hardy and well suited to northern climates.  It can be used in windbreaks, although it is susceptible to ice storm damage and may be difficult to find in nurseries. 

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.

Botanical name:

Pinus banksiana

All common names:

jack pine

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Planting Site:

  • Residential and parks

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Tree


  • Evergreen (foliage year-round)

Native Locale:

  • Chicago area,
  • Illinois,
  • North America

Landscape Uses:

  • Shade tree,
  • Specimen,
  • Windbreak

Size Range:

  • Large tree (more than 40 feet),
  • medium tree (25-40 feet)

Mature Height:

35-50 feet

Mature Width:

10-20 feet

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 2,
  • Zone 3,
  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6

Soil Preference:

  • Acid soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil,
  • Sandy soil


  • Dry sites,
  • Alkaline soil,
  • Road salt

Acid Soils:

  • Prefers

Alkaline Soils:

  • Tolerant

Salt Spray:

  • Tolerant

Soil Salt:

  • Intolerant

Drought Conditions:

  • Tolerant

Poor Drainage:

  • Intolerant

Planting Considerations:

  • Highly susceptible to ice damage,
  • May be difficult to find in nurseries

Ornamental Interest:

  • Attractive bark

Seasons 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 & Fragrance:

  • Inconspicuous

Shape or Form:

  • Open,
  • Pyramidal

Growth Rate:

  • Slow

Transplants Well:

  • No


  • Browsers,
  • Moths,
  • Small mammals,
  • Songbirds

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

Transplants easily, due to a fairly shallow root system.
Avoid wet soils.

Disease, pests, and problems

Windthrow can be a problem due to the shallow root system of this tree.
Not as susceptible to pests as other pines, but sawflies, tussock moth and needle casts are potential problems.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota and northward into Canada.

Bark color and texture 

Thin and flaky when young, maturing into thick plates wiht age.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Evergreen needles in bundles of 2; short (3/4 to 2inches long) and slightly twisted.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Monoecious, separate male and female flowers.  Not ornamentally important.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Woody cones, 1 to 3 inches long; cones remain closed.

Location of Pinus banksiana (Jack pine) at the Arboretum