bunch pine trees growing

No doubt that pines are one of the most popular trees out there. Very few people know about all the different kinds of pines and where you can find them. They can be a great addition to your yard or garden. Before you go ahead and plant a pine tree you should know about the basics of which species to go for and how to grow them. Let’s take a look

Pines are naturally found in the Northern hemisphere and especially in cooler climates. Although with the wide variety they have, some of the species have evolved to survive in extremely hot climates as well.


Pines are extremely popular all over the world because of a few factors. They can be easily found all over the world in some form or another. They are used both for commercial purposes and for landscaping purposes. With the wide number of varieties in the species, some types are wonderfully suited for yard use. On the other hand, they are also one of the most important trees for timber use.

Pines are basically a type of conifer tree. This means that they are evergreen, this further adds to their landscaping value. There are about 126 species of pines in the world, with some hybrids not being counted here.

The wonderful thing about pines is their versatility. Some species can grow up to be huge while some can be maintained as shrubs. They have an iconic cone shape and are usually very woody with a certain number of needles in a bundle for each variety. They also have a thick bark that protects them during forest fires.

Some of the other specifics I will address later in the article, so keep reading!


There are a lot of varieties of pines out there. Some of them are perfect to use in your garden or yard. On the other hand, some can only survive in forests and in the wild. Let’s take a look at some of the most distinct and popular varieties.


Starting off our list is the Pinyon Pine. Very few gardeners or nursery owners know or talk about this variety. But in recent times when people are looking for trees that need less water, this variety has shot up in popularity. Pinyon Pines are relatively shorter when compared to their siblings. Growing to be about 20 feet or 6m on average. This is why they are considered to be perfect garden trees.

They are considered to thrive in drier areas. In fact, you might not even need to water it if there is even a little rainfall in your region. Their native growing area is Southwest America where they receive about 15 inches or 40cm of rainfall in a year. One of the biggest mistakes that growers make is to overwater the plant.

You can identify this variety by its height and yellow-green needles. The needles themselves are around 5cm long. They also produce relatively smaller cones, no surprise considering the tree’s size.

If you are considering going for this variety it will be a better decision to buy a full-grown tree. It takes about 50-60 years to just reach 6-7ft. Which if you don’t know is extremely slow. Their lives are on the higher side with an average life of around 600 years.


Talking about this next variety is in stark contrast to the previous one. Sugar pines, also known as Sugar Cone pines is considered as one of the largest variety of pines. They can become massive, growing to a height of around 40-60 meters. To put this in perspective, that’s about 200 feet at their largest. Some trees have been measured to be around 270 feet.

Their needles or leaves grow to be around 4 inches (10cm) long. But the selling factor of this variety is the size of their cones. A Sugar pine cone is considered to be one of the longest in the world. they can grow up to be about 15 inches (40cm) long on average.

They are usually found in the northern states of the US. Some of the largest specimens have been found in Yosemite National Park. They are mostly found in Oregon and California in the US. They can also be found in some regions of Mexico.

Huge numbers of Sugar pine have become victims of the White Pine Blister Rust. This disease came to the US through Europe. There is work underway to come up with a solution for this problem.


When talking about trees that can survive dry areas you have to include the Aleppo Pine. They are so drought-resistant that they have become sort of an invasive species. Usually found in the Mediterranean area, whenever a part of land gets burnt, this variety has a tendency to take over. They can grow up to be about 30-60 feet tall. One thing this variety need is a lot of sunlight.

This variety is also known as the Jerusalem tree. You probably shouldn’t choose this type for your home. This is because they grow best in large areas with enough room. One way to identify them is to look for their needle bunches, this variety usually has 2.


This variety comes under the medium to large category. Usually found in Southern Europe and Northern Africa, this variety can be a great addition to your yard. Usually, people use this tree for screening purposes. Keep in mind though, you might need to use some pesticide from time to time. This variety is very prone to diseases and pests. They also have 2 needles per bunch and can grow to about 40-100 feet tall.


I had to include this variety on this list because of one fascinating fact. This tree is considered to be one of the oldest plant varieties known to man. They have been around for about 4000 years. But other than this fact, this variety is a good choice to be used for landscaping purposes. Even at the maximum height, they are only about 30 feet tall. And if you maintain it, you can use it as a shrub. They have about 5 needles per bundle.


One type of tree which absolutely cannot be used for landscaping is the Canary Island pine. They can grow up to be huge, about 80 feet sometimes. Usually, people grow this intentionally in a forest for its timber. They have a very specific and aromatic wood which can add some commercial value. As the name suggests they are usually found in the Canary Islands. One way to recognize this tree is the fact that they have 3 needles per bundle.


This is the only Asia-specific variety here. You can usually find this type on the Himalayas in India, China, Bhutan, Nepal, and Afghanistan. They are sometimes used to make furniture but are not really known for their wood quality. I think one of the reasons is their availability.


Eastern White Pine is one of the most popular trees in the US, and I am not talking about just among the pine trees. This is because of a couple of reasons. First, they are pretty fast growers and on top of this, they can live pretty long as well. The second reason, this variety can be used for landscaping purposes because of its beautiful branches. On top of this, they are a great choice for timber as well.

Although they can grow up to be pretty big in the wild, about 50-100 feet, they can also be pruned down to a shrub. But if you live in big cities with a lot of pollution, they will have a hard time growing. As a fun fact, there are usually five needles per bundle.


Because of such a varied distribution within their varieties, pines tend to grow in a lot of varied climates. Especially in the colder and cooler areas of the world. They have evolved in a way to deal with cold weather the best, but they are also found in areas like North Africa.

As an example take the structure of their leaves and the shape of the three. They have evolved in such a way that there isn’t a huge load on any one branch during snowfall. This prevents their branches from breaking during the winter season.

Some varieties of pines of which I have discussed above can grow in drier regions as well. They are pretty sturdy and can deal with drought-like conditions quite well.

Pines have also sort of developed to prevent any competition. Wherever pines grow there is very little vegetation on the ground. This happens because of two factors.

  1. One, their needles fall on the ground to create a very dense layer, this prevents any other plants to grow.
  2. Because of their evergreen nature, they have a pretty good canopy. This prevents sunlight from reaching the ground and further prevents any plant from growing.


Pines are prevalent in the Northern Hemisphere. This is their natural habitat, the only pines in the Southern Hemisphere were brought in by humans. They don’t really grow much in tropical areas because of the presence of broad leaf trees.

Among the Northern Hemisphere, they are mostly found in Northern America, China, South-East Asia, Russia, and Europe. Some varieties can also be found in North Africa.


As I have mentioned before, pines vary a lot within the different varieties. They prefer cool and colder climates, some type of pines can be found almost everywhere in the US.

Take the example of the South-eastern US, you can find species such as Sand Pine or Loblolly Pine. In the Western US, you can find some other varieties.

Bristlecone Pine which I mentioned before can be found in Colorado, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, California, and Arizona.

The Eastern White Pine for example grows in the eastern US, as the name makes it pretty clear. You can find them in New England, Appalachian highlands, and around the great lakes.


Pines are best suited to grow on sandy soil. They also need good drainage, only a few varieties can grow on swampy land (Lodgepole pine). The most preferred soil for pine, however, is acidic and calcareous type.

Some varieties prefer to grow once there has been a forest fire, take the example of Canary Island Pine. The variety among the species can be seen in the way different varieties have adapted themselves to extreme climates. Some pines can easily grow in extremely cold regions like Siberia.

Some of the examples are Siberian Dwarf Pine, Mountain Pine, White Bark Pine and Bristlecone Pines.

On the other hand, some of the species we have discussed thrive in almost desert-like conditions. For example Turkish Pine and Gray pine.

Therefore, there is not one particular type of condition where I can say that pines grow best. But most varieties need a cool climate and well-drained soil which is also slightly sandy.


The Chir Pine we discussed above is found in the Himalayas, the Siberian Pine is found in high altitudes and extreme cold. There are just some of the example of pine species which are found in mountains. A large number of pine varieties can be found in the mountains.

Pines are a type of conifers. This makes them better adapted to handling drier climates as well as snowy climates. The snow doesn’t accumulate on their needle-like leaves, it rather slides off of them. They can also save water because of the lack of evaporation from the leaves.

pine cones that are short. pine tree needle like leaves


Pines are usually classified as shade intolerant. One of the reasons why some species grow after there has been a forest fire is because of plenty of sunlight available. Another interesting thing to note is that young pines rarely grow inside the forest. On the other hand, they tend to expand outwards. As you can tell, pines need a lot of sunlight to grow.

One of the exceptions to this is the white pine. It can grow in areas that receive partial sunlight. Why most pines cannot grow in tropical regions is because of competition for sunlight with broadleaf trees. If there are bigger trees around them that have broader leaves, they won’t receive much sunlight.


I mentioned a few species of pines which have a pretty good tolerance for dry regions. They have evolved to survive on less water for long periods of time. Because of their needle-like leaves, not a lot of evaporation takes place from the leaves. This makes them able to survive better in dry regions.

When pines are still small, they will need relatively more water and care. Once they have grown and become more sturdy, most varieties need very less water compared to other trees. Unless you are living in a desert, your annual rainfall should be enough with some watering during drier times. Some species will of course need more water than the others. In case you are going to plant pine trees, ask the nursery or a professional about the needs of a particular pine variety.


If you are thinking about planting a pine sapling and expect to see it grow up to be 6ft in a couple of years, you are in for a surprise. Pines are considered to be slow-growing trees. Some varieties grow to 20 ft in height in about 40-50 years. They show a maximum growth rate of about 1 foot per year. And remember that this is the maximum rate.

There are some species though which can grow about 2-3 feet per year. An example of such a variety is Eastern White Pine. Austrian Pines and Red Pines on the other hand are considered to be medium growers. They grow at about 1-2 feet per year.


With the wide varieties of pines out there, there is a wide range of heights that they can reach. If you consider the extremes, they grow up to be anywhere between 3-80 m or 10-260 feet tall. This is a very wide gap among different varieties.

The average height is about 15-45 m or 50-150 feet. The Siberian Dwarf Pine as the name suggests is one of the smallest in the species. While Pinyon is the tallest. The tallest pine ever recorded was from the Ponderosa Pine species and it grew up to a height of 268 feet.


If you are thinking about growing or buying a pine tree you should have all the information you need. I will try to address some of the most common queries that people have related to the topic.


Pines are generally slow-growing trees. If you plant them near fast-growing ones, then the latter will grow taller faster. This will block a lot of sunlight which the pine needs. As you know pines need a lot of sunlight to grow properly.


More often than not, tropical forests have broadleaf trees. If the pine won’t be able to receive ample sunlight, then it won’t be able to survive, besides that, pine trees in general, grow better in cooler regions.


You can, but most likely they won’t be able to grow. Plants just like trees need sunlight and as pines are evergreen, they will never shed their needles. This gives them pretty good foliage and tree cover. This further prevents sunlight to reach the ground and any plant trying to grow will die.


To sum it all up, pines are one of the most common trees in the world, especially in the northern hemisphere. They naturally grow in cooler climates and in areas where they have plenty of sunlight. Pine trees are also a great option for yards and gardens as well as landscaping. On the flip side, they are also very important for the timber and paper industry. Pines are pretty sturdy and rough; they can survive on less water and some varieties have evolved to survive in extreme conditions.

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