Chances are that when you’re driving past a plantation in southern Ontario it’s full of red pines. Back in the 1920s and onwards, they were the go-to species for reforestation projects aimed at stopping soil erosion. These days you can also find red pines along most city streets and rural roads, but you have to look real hard since they don’t have any of their needles, branches nor bark. Are you stumped? Just look for the telephone poles!
When alive and kicking, red pines are identified by their two long straight needles. You can also tell a red pine by its coarse reddish-pink bark and straight trunks. Scots pine, a non-native species introduced from Europe and also widely planted, also has reddish bark, but it tends to peel like a bad sunburn and the trees tend to have curved irregular trunks near the tops. When nice and tall, red pines can look a bit top heavy with a “full head of hair”.
Under ideal growing conditions, red pine can live up to 500 years of age. During their first 50 years, red pines grow quickly – about a foot per year. They are intolerant of shade and grow best on acidic sandy soils, but can tolerate poor, rocky soils and dry sites. Red pines are also fairly resistant to fire – many trees bear scars of several fires from which they were able to recover. The cross-section shows how layers of new bark have curled over the burned area on the trunk.
We still have red pine tree seedlings available for spring. You can order on-line using our new order form http://orders.ltc.on.ca/treeform/tree_form.php , or just give Ewa a call at 613-394-3915 ext 252 to choose your favourite trees. For all the details please see our website: http://www.ltc.on.ca/stewardship/tssp/