Red Pine

2016 April 9

Red pines, like this one, are the dominant trees in the back part of our property.


The reason that they are dominant, is that right behind our property is a couple of square miles of land that is mostly covered with a pine plantation, and this is the species of pine that the owners planted. The land west of our property currently looks like this:


Up until the trees were thinned a few years back, the whole area was densely filled in and practically impassable. But, once the trees had gotten tall and straight, and the lower branches had died back, they could remove the excess trees for paper pulp. I think that the ones that remain may now be allowed to grow for a while longer, until they become lumber trees, although they might ultimately also end up as paper pulp too, depending on what the market is like at the time.

The red pines look very different from the white pines. They have rough, scabby, kind of reddish bark,


and the needles grow in bundles of two, not bundles of five like the white pine.


When I was photographing these on March 12, 2016, there were unripe cones formed on the branches.


The conifers, which include pines and spruces, form female cones like this as the seed-forming structures. The individual scales that make up the cone each have an ovule that can become a seed if pollinated. In the spring, the trees also produce pollen-generating male cones, and scatter huge amounts of pollen to the wind. *Huge* amounts. As in, everything in our yard gets yellow deposits of pine pollen, and when the wind blows there are pollen clouds rolling across the yard. If a pollen grain hits a female cone, it will grow a pollen tube to send sperm down to the ovule, fertilizing it to produce an embryo that forms a seed. The cone then pops open, scattering the little winged seeds on the wind.

And this is why the red pines are the dominant tree at the west end of our property. The trees in the plantation have been scattering seeds on us for years, and the young red pines are popping up like weeds. I’ve taken to treating them like weeds, cutting them down periodically to keep them from taking over our entire yard. Currently they are mostly small enough that I can take one down with a bow saw in about five minutes, but there are a few that are big enough that they might actually be slightly hazardous to cut.

I really don’t want them taking over the yard, because they aren’t particularly attractive trees, and tend to shade out everything else if given a chance.

2 Responses
  1. Jesse permalink
    April 11, 2016

    Wow! I just found your blog while looking for info on gypsy moths. I’m so impressed by our documentation, experiments and research! Nicely done.

  2. April 11, 2016

    Thanks, Jesse!

Comments are closed.