There are approximately 100 species of pine trees. Pine trees belong with the group of plants known as conifers. Conifers reproduce by producing cones that produce seeds and pollen. The cones are either male or female--pine trees bear both sexes. The male cones are smaller than the female cones--they are typically only about an inch long. The female cones are longer and have bigger scales. The needles on most pines grow in bundles. The bundles might have groups of two, three or five needles.
Some of the types of pine include the jack pine and the Eastern white pine. Out of the 65 species that are native to North America, 36 grow within the United States. The Eastern white pine grows in the northern United States from New England to Minnesota. The jack pine grows from the Great Lakes to northwestern Canada. Pines are broken down into two groups: Soft pines and hard pines. Soft pine needles are produced in bundles of five and hard pine needles are produced in bundles of two or three.
Choose a planting spot based on the type of pine you choose for your landscaping. Most pines need an area protected from high winds, as the root system is shallow. The planting holes need to be three times the width of the root ball and as deep as the root ball. Once the hole is dug, scarify the sides of planting hole, then fill it with water before centering the pine in the planting hole and backfilling. Check with the local nursery for mulching--some pines prefer compost or pulverized bark, while some prefer no mulch.
If the soil is fertile, fertilizing the pine is not required. If the soil tends to be low in nutrients, fertilize the pine with time release fertilizer every three years. Before fertilizing, do a soil test--test kits are available at your local nursery or big-box home and garden store. The soil test will show which nutrients are low or missing. Choose a fertilizer based in the missing or low nutrient, if fertilizing is needed.
Watering depends on the species of pine you choose. Some pines prefer fertile, moist, slow-draining soil while others prefer moist, well-draining soil. Adjust the watering schedule for the type of pine you have and the location that the pine is planted in. If the pine is planted in an area that tends to dry out, water the pine more often. Always water with at least an inch of water each time you water to ensure that the moisture reaches the deeper roots.
Pests and Diseases
In general, pests and diseases do not affect pines, unless the pine is located out of its native area. If you notice pests on the pines in your landscaping, contact a local nursery for the appropriate insecticide for the type of pest attracted to the pine. Pests can carry diseases from tree to tree, so it is imperative to get the pests under control. If you notice diseases affecting the trees, obtain the appropriate fungicide from a local nursery. Some diseases are airborne and should be eradicated as soon as possible.