Red Pine (Resinosa)

The Red Pine (Resinosa) is generally described as a perennial tree. This is native to the U.S. (United States) has its most active growth period in the spring and summer . The greatest bloom is usually observed in the spring, with fruit and seed production starting in the summer and continuing until fall. Leaves are retained year to year. The Red Pine (Resinosa) has a moderate life span relative to most other plant species and a rapid growth rate. At maturity, the typical Red Pine (Resinosa) will reach up to 80 feet high, with a maximum height at 20 years of 30 feet.

The Red Pine (Resinosa) is easily found in nurseries, garden stores and other plant dealers and distributors. It can be propagated by bare root, container, seed. It has a slow ability to spread through seed production and the seedlings have high vigor. Note that cold stratification is not required for seed germination and the plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below -43°F. has low tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions.

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

Economic: Red pine wood is moderately hard and straight grained. It is grown primarily for the production of wood used for poles, lumber, cabin logs, railway ties, post, pulpwood, and fuel. The bark is occasionally used for tanning leather (Sargent 1961). This species is also planted and used as Christmas trees.

Ethnobotanic: The inner bark of Pinus resinosa was pounded as a poultice for any kind of inflamed wound, sore, or ulcer when white pine bark was not available (Fielder 1975).

Landscaping & Wildlife: Red pine is an attractive tree that is used in recreational areas because of its colorful bark. This species provides cover for many species of mammals and birds. Deer, cottontails, and snowshoe hares browse songbirds, mice and chipmunks feed on the seed while seedlings.

Agroforestry: Pinus resinosa is used in tree strips for windbreaks. They are planted and managed to protect livestock, enhance crop production, and control soil erosion. Windbreaks can help communities with harsh winter conditions better handle the impact of winter storms and reduce home heating costs during the winter months and cooling cost in the summer.

General Characteristics

General: Red pine (Pinus resinosa) is a medium sized tree, up to twenty-five meters high and seventy-five centimeters in diameter (Farar 1995). The leaves are soft and flexible evergreen needles, in clusters of two, slender, 4”-6” long, dark green borne in dense tufts at the ends of branchlets. The fruit is ovoid-conic, with thin scales, becoming light chestnut-brown at maturity. The bark is thick and slightly divided by shallow fissures into broad flat ridges covered by thin loose red-brown scales (Sargent 1961). The root system is moderately deep, wide spreading, and very wind firm.

Required Growing Conditions

Red pine is native to northeastern United States. This species ranges from Newfoundland and Manitoba, south to the mountains of Pennsylvania, west to Minnesota (Dirr 1990). For current distribution, please consult the Plant profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

Adaptation Red pine occurs most often on well drained, dry, highly acid, sandy soils of outwash plains, and gravelly ridges (Barnes & Wagner 1981). It is frequently found where the soil fertility is low, in pure stands or mixed with species such as jack pine, white pine, aspens, oaks, and white birch. This species prefers full sun and is shade intolerant and extremely cold tolerant. Pinus resinosa is easily cultivated in nurseries and easily raised in plantations (Ibid.).

Cultivation and Care

Propagation by Seed: Cones ripen from August to October with natural seed dispersal occurring between October and November. However, seeds can be artificially harvested by kiln drying ripe cones for nine hours at 130ºF (Dirr & Heuser 1987). Fresh seed has no dormancy and will germinate immediately upon sowing. Stored seed requires two months cold stratification. Optimum temperature for germination is 77ºF (Ibid.).

General Upkeep and Control

Most red pine natural stands originate after a forest fire. Fire is necessary for regeneration because it prepares a seedbed by reducing much of the humus and competition from other trees and shrubs, decreases the number of cone-destroying insects, and thins out the overstory (Farrar 1995). Once established, red pine requires little care. Tip and shoot moths sometime attack it.

Plant Basics
Growth Rate Rapid
General Type Tree
Growth Period Spring, Summer
Growth Duration Perennial
Lifespan Moderate
Plant Nativity Native to U.S.
Commercial Availability Routinely Available
Physical Characteristics
Bloom Period Spring
Displays Fall Colors No
Shape/Growth Form Single Stem
Drought Tolerance Low
Shade Tolerance Intolerant
Height When Mature 80
Vegetative Spread None
Flower Color Brown
Flower Conspicuousness No
Fruit/Seed Abundance Medium
Fruit/Seed Seasonality Summer Fall
Seed Spread Rate Slow
Gardening Characteristics
Propagations (Ways to Grow) Bare Root, Container, Seed
Moisture Requirements Low
Cold Stratification Required Yes
Minimum Temperature -43
Soil Depth for Roots 40
Toxic to Nearby Plants No
Toxic to Livestock No
After-Harvest Regrowth Rate Moderate
After-Harvest Resprout Ability No
Responds to Coppicing No
Growth Requirements
pH Range 4.5–6 pH
Precipitation Range 15–15 inches/yr
Planting Density 430–1200 indiv./acre
Soil Textures Coarse, Medium
Soil Depth for Roots 40
Minimum Frost-Free Days 80 day(s)
Salinity Tolerance None
CaCO3 Tolerance None
Sustainability & Use
Leaf Retention Yes
Palatability Low
Fire Resistant Yes
Causes Livestock Bloating None

Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database,
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA