I’ve got to tell you that I like White Pine trees… to be more correct, the Eastern White Pine (Pinus Strobus). I like the form, color, texture of needles and bark; there’s just something about that tree that speaks to me.
1. First, choose your planting location wisely, being careful not to underestimate the mature size of the tree. Once established, White pines can have rapid growth and will be a very large tree when mature. So, don’t spoil those holiday memories with a tree that you’re constantly attempting to prune to keep in check, or that you eventually have to remove because it’s busting out of the space you selected.
2. Tennessee is at the edge of the southern range for white pine. It prefers a higher elevation and cooler temperatures than the norm for Middle Tennessee. Because white pine is genetically diverse, you will find specimens that are doing well throughout this area. But, be aware that may not always be the case and some white pines will not survive here, especially following Summers with extreme heat and drought.
From his recent article, December Gardening Gift Ideas and Tips, Jason Reeves (UT Gardens Research Horticulturist and Curator) offered these tips on selecting living Christmas trees…
“The idea of a living Christmas tree that can be planted outdoors after the holidays often sounds appealing, but without proper selection and care, this can be a disappointing experience. First, you should carefully select one that is suited to your part of the state. While white pine, spruce and fir will work in the cooler parts of Tennessee, they should be avoided in the warmer areas. Virginia pine, Eastern red cedar, Japanese cedar and Arizona cypress are good choices for all parts of Tennessee. Hemlock and Leyland cypress should be avoided due to numerous problems with insects and disease once in the landscape. Any living tree brought indoors should not remain inside longer than five days. One option is to go ahead and put the lights on the tree and enjoy it outside before time to bring it indoors. Be sure to keep it well watered but not standing in water.”
Also, here are a few tips from the extension.org publication How do I go about caring for and then planting a live Christmas tree this holiday season?...
“Plan to keep the tree in the house for no more than two weeks. While indoors, locate the tree in as cool a location as possible. Keep it out of drafts and away from heating vents. Provide as much natural light as possible. Place the root-ball or container in an attractive tub lined with heavy plastic to protect the floor from moisture. Water the tree only when the soil starts to dry out.”
and Garden On!
blog entry by Mark Murphy, CMG
additional source: Trees to Reconsider Before Planting, UT Extension publication SP512
photos: Clemson Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech Ag Experiment Station