Pinus strobus 'Blue Shag'
Common Name: eastern white pine
Type: Needled evergreen
Family: Pinaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Prefers full sun, fertile soils and cool, humid climates. Tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions. Intolerant of many air pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and ozone.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Pinus strobus, commonly called Eastern white pine, is a rapid-growing, long-lived, needled evergreen tree that is native to the northeastern United States and Canada (State tree of Maine and Michigan). Although pyramidal in its early years, it matures to a broad oval habit with an irregular crown. Typically grows 50-80' in cultivation, but will grow to 100' tall in the wild, with records existing to over 200'. Landscape size and shape can be controlled through pruning, however, to the extent that white pine may be sheared and grown as a hedge. Bluish green needles (to 5" long) are soft to the touch and appear in bundles of five. Cylindrical, brown cones ( 4-8" long) are usually not produced until 5-10 years. An important timber tree (perhaps more so in the 18th and 19th centuries than now) which was and is valued for its lightweight, straight-grained wood (orange heartwood and white sapwood).

Genus name comes from the Latin name for pines.

Specific epithet in Greek means cone but here it may refer to an incense-bearing or gum-yielding tree.

'Blue Shag' is a dwarf, dense, globose form typically growing only to 4' tall. Short, blue green needles in bundles of 5 are soft to the touch. Does not produce cones in early years.

Problems

In cool summer locations, white pine can grow quite well. It is, however, susceptible to a large number of insect and disease problems. Blights and rusts are the main diseases, with its most dangerous enemy being white pine blister rust which is a bark disease that is usually fatal. Species of Ribes (e.g., currants and gooseberries) are the alternate host for white pine blister rust and should not be planted in areas where white pines are under attack. White pine blister rust is not currently a problem in Missouri. Additional disease problems of significance include canker. Insect problems include white pine weevil, bark beetles, white pine shoot borer, Zimmerman moth larvae, pine sawfly, scale and aphids. Spider mites are occasional visitors in some areas.

Garden Uses

This dwarf eastern white pine is effective in rock gardens, as part of a foundation planting or in a shrub border foreground. A good specimen.