White pine features five needles

White Pine (Pinus strobes) is the tallest tree in Minnesota (220 feet).
The tree has other majestic names: Monarch of the North, Northern White Pine, Soft pine and Weymouth pine. Pines are divided into two families, those with more than three needles and those with two or three needles.
White is easy to identify as it is the only pine in Minnesota with five needles which are soft compared to the 2/3 needle pines.
Since colonial times, White pine has been the most important conifer of the northern states. White pines are not picky about the soil they live in and grow in many soils in the northern part of the state.
One problem with white pine is a blister rust (a fungus). The rust requires an alternate host which is gooseberry. White pine has the distinction of being the favorite tree for bald eagles to nest. In the colonies, after 1691, a fine was imposed for cutting White pine for mast timbers on any but private lane. Such masts were reserved for the crown and marked with by a king’s surveyor with an “R” for Royal.

By Dave Daubert, a Carver Scott Master Gardener who specializes in trees.

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