id your tree

Pinus strobus ‘Louie’

Pinus Strobus ‘Louie’ Gorge Inn, Newhalem, WA photo l. fowler

Eastern White Pine ‘Louie’ is a species native to North America, and its soft, fine, golden foliage makes it one of the most attractive conifers for ornamental landscapes. The long thin needles remain gold year round – intensifying in color during the winter cold.

Also referred to as Golden White Pine ‘Louie’, is a medium size tree with a conical form and strong central leader, moderate rate of growth with a height at maturity from 15 to 18 feet and a spread of 12 to 15 feet, depending on the information source, but it responds well to annual pruning to maintain compact form. With good conditions can be expected to live for 80+ years. It tolerates most soils, preferring acid soils, is drought tolerant, and is rarely browsed by deer.

Best to plant it in a somewhat protected area in full sun. It is great as a specimen tree, and although the timber industry was built on White pine the Pinus Strobus ‘Louie’ is most popular in the landscape, as a wildlife refuge, wind breaks, and in some midwestern states it is grown as a Christmas tree.

Eastern white pines, in general are easy to identify. Evergreen needles, 3 – 5 inches long, with five needles per fascicle that are slender and flexible, with fine white lines or stomata.

The cones are 3 to 6 inches and gradually taper. The cone scales are tan to whitish in color and without prickles. Terminal buds are ovoid in shape, tapering to an abrupt slender tip, about 3/8 of an inch long and have brown scales.

Bark on young trees is smooth and grey, becoming darker even black as the tree ages. Flat plates are separated by shallow fissures on older trees.

The fine texture of the needles, color and asymmetrical shape of mature trees makes identification of the white pine easy from a distance. The upper branches have a pronounced upward shape. Most pinus species will overwinter with 2-3 years of needles, but the white pines loose all but the current years needles in the early fall.

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