Eastern White Pine Info

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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.

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 cultivarsEastern White Pine

Botanical name:

Pinus strobus

All Common Names:

Eastern white pine, white pine

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type: Eastern White Pine

  • Tree


  • Evergreen (foliage year-round)

Native Locale:

  • North Eastern Area
  • Illinois,
  • North America

Planting Site:

  • Residential and park

    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 (Chicago),
    • Zone 6,
    • Zone 7

    Soil Preference:

    • Acid soil,
    • Moist, well-drained soil

    Acid Soils:

    • Prefers

    Alkaline Soils:

    • Moderately Tolerant

    Salt Spray:

    • Intolerant

    Soil Salt:

    • Intolerant

    Drought Conditions:

    • Intolerant

    Poor Drainage:

    • Moderately Tolerant

    Planting Considerations:

    • Intolerant of pollution

    Ornamental Interest:

    • 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:

    • Inconspicuous

    Shape or Form:

    • Broad,
    • Irregular,
    • Pyramidal

    Growth Rate:

    • Moderate,
    • Fast

    Transplants Well:

    • Yes


    • Browsers,
    • Game birds,
    • Moths,
    • Small mammals,
    • Songbirds

    More Information:

    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

    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 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.

    Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus)

    Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus)

    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.

    Hardiness Zones

    The eastern white pine can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 3–8. View Map

    Tree Type

    This is an evergreen tree, keeping its foliage year-round.

    Mature Size

    The eastern white pine grows to a height of 50–80′ and a spread of 20–40′ at maturity.

    Growth Speed FastGrowth Rate

    This tree grows at a fast rate, with height increases of more than 24″ per year.

    Sun Preference

    Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree, meaning it prefers a minimum of four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

    Soil Preference

    The eastern white pine grows in acidic, moist, well-drained and dry soils. While it does best in moist soil, the tree can has been known to tolerate everything from dry, rocky ridges to bogs.


    This tree:

    • Transplants easily.
    • Works well for windbreaks.
    • Is widely used as a Christmas tree.
    • Features long, slender, blue-green needles, sometimes reaching 5″ in length, grown in bundles of 5 that are soft and flexible.
    • Produces elongated brown cones that are 3–8″ in length. Each is curved slightly and has smooth scales.
    • Grows in an oval, pyramidal shape.
    • Is sensitive to air pollution, road salt and soil compaction.

    Wildlife Value

    Eastern white pine seeds are favored by black bears, rabbits, red squirrels and many birds, especially red crossbills. While potentially damaging to the trees, the bark is eaten by mammals such as beavers, snowshoe hares, porcupines, rabbits and mice. White pines provide nesting sites as well for many birds including woodpeckers, common grackles, mourning doves, chickadees and nuthatches.

    Original post located: Arbor Day Foundation

    Morton Arboretum