The Tree of the Month for January is the majestic pine tree. Evergreens, including pines, really stand out this time of year since deciduous trees will remain leafless for several more months. If you love the look and smell of pine, learn more about these trees before adding one to your garden.
Pine Tree Information
There are 79 species of pine tree, 36 of which grow in North America. All pine trees belong to the Pinaceae family. Some of the most widely recognized pine tree types include lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta), sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana), and ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa).
Pine trees live a long time. One of the oldest known pines is Methuselah, a bristlecone pine over 4,800 years old living in the White Mountains of California.
The easiest way to identify a pine tree is by its needles and cones. When the needles come in clusters of two to five, you’re most likely looking at a pine tree. Other types of conifers, or cone-bearing trees, have needles arranged singly along the entire branch. Also, pine cones are often thick while other conifers have papery cones.
Pine Tree Uses and Special Meanings
Pines are among the most useful trees on the planet. They also carry special meaning thanks to their association with the holiday season. You can use pine trees for:
- Food: Their needles make a tea rich in vitamin C. Pine nuts are also tasty, especially when roasted.
- Medicine: Pine resin has antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic, and disinfecting properties. You can use it to staunch blood flow or keep germs out of wounds.
- Firestarter: Pine resin can help you start your campfire, which is especially useful in damp conditions.
- Shelter: If you’re trapped in the woods overnight, pine boughs can provide excellent shelter, while pine needles make for a soft, warm bed.
- Waterproofing: If it starts raining and your tent leaks, heat up pine resin and mix it with ashes from your campfire to make waterproof glue. If you need to remove the glue, simply heat the resin up again.
Caring for Pine Trees
Do you plan to put pines in your yard as a windbreaker or privacy screen? You’ll be happy to hear that pines are low-maintenance trees with little watering and pruning required. Here’s how to care for pine trees.
- Planting: Choose a sunny, well-drained spot to plant your pine tree. Only attempt to transplant small trees, since larger, older pines have deep tap roots that are impossible to dig up with the tree.
- Watering: Many pine trees tolerate drought. Depending on your climate, rainfall may take care of all your watering needs. Otherwise, thoroughly soak your pine tree’s roots once a month during dry conditions to mimic natural rainfall. Mulch around the base of the tree helps reduce evaporation.
- Fertilizing: Starting with the second year of growth, fertilize your pine tree with one to two kg of balanced, slow-release fertilizer per 100 square feet of bedding.
- Pruning: Healthy pine trees don’t require pruning. Light trimming in late winter can help you control the tree’s size, but always avoid heavily pruning evergreens. To remove a dead or diseased branch, prune it back to the branch collar. Wait for dry conditions to help prevent the spread of disease to other branches or plants in your garden.
Utilize Tree Services from The Grounds Guys®
As you design the look of your landscape, consider including a pine tree or two. Their unique shape, size, and evergreen branches add to the variety in your garden. For help choosing and caring for trees, contact The Grounds Guys today!
For Further Reading
Trim Trees to Get Them Ready for Next Year
The Grounds Guys’ Guide to Winter Plant Care
New Year’s Resolutions For Your Lawn