Pine trees, evergreen members of the Pinaceae plant family, feature long, needle-shaped leaves and pine cones. Indigenous to the northern hemisphere, pine trees thrive in a wide variety of climate and soil conditions. Most pine tree varieties prefer moist, acidic soils in fully sunny locations. Gardeners in the United States (U.S.) can plant various types of pine trees.
Himalayan pine trees (Pinus wallichiana), sometimes called Himalayan white pines, naturally occur in the Himalayas and perform well in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zones 5 to 7. This pine variety reaches from 30 to 50 feet tall and 20 to 35 feet wide. Mature trees feature a pyramidal shape, gray to dark brown bark and pale brown cones. The grayish-green needles often turn brown if exposed to cold winter weather. Common problems include needle cast, canker and Sphaeropsis tip blight. Himalayan pines work well in large lawns and parks.
Japanese Black Pine
The Japanese black pine tree (Pinus thunbergii) comes from coastal Japanese regions and thrives in USDA Zones 5 to 8. This pine variety tolerates some salt, shade and drought conditions. Mature Japanese black pines reach 60 feet in height and 20 feet in width. This pine tree has a conical shape, brown cones, deep green needles and purple-gray bark. Nematodes sometimes affect these trees. Japanese black pines make good specimen trees.
Winter hardy in USDA Zones 2 to 7, Scotch pines (Pinus sylvestris) typically do well in areas with cool, dry summers. Sometimes called Scots pines, these trees range from 30 to 60 feet in height and 30 to 40 feet in width. Mature trees feature a columnar or conical form, reddish-brown bark, gray cones and bluish-green needles. Scotch pine trees occasionally suffer from pine wilt nematodes and tip blights. Gardeners often use the Scotch pine tree as a landscape tree.
Eastern White Pine
Eastern white pine trees (Pinus strobus) are native to the eastern United States and do well in cool, humid climates. Hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 8, this fast-growing pine variety reaches up to 80 feet in height with spreads ranging from 20 to 40 feet. This pine variety prefers fertile soils in partially to fully sunny positions. Eastern white pines feature pyramidal forms, blue-green needles and brown cones. This low-maintenance pine variety sometimes suffers from white pine blister rust and white pine weevil infestations. Gardeners often prune down eastern white pines to use as hedges.
Ponderosa pines (Pinus ponderosa) reach between 60 and 125 feet in height with spreads ranging from 25 to 30 feet. Native to western regions of North America (N.A.), this variety performs well in USDA Zones 3 to 7. Younger pines feature brown to black bark, while mature trees have red-orange to yellow-brown bark. The ponderosa pine features bundles of yellow-green leaves and oval cones. Bark beetles, blister rust and needle blight are occasional problems. Gardeners often plant ponderosa pines in larger lawns.