Once known as a ‘forest weed,’ the Virginia pine tree has come a long way, gaining a reputation as a Christmas tree, despite its sharp needles. Its tendency to grow in poor soils and apparent capability to grow in places, where most other pines won’t, have made it one of the most favored trees in North America.
|Scientific Name||Pinus virginiana|
|Also known as||Scrub Pine, Jersey Pine, Spruce Pine|
|Size||Usually between 9-18 meters (29.5-59 feet)|
|Looks like||Table mountain pine, Shortleaf pine, Jack pine, Scots pine|
|Leaves (Needles)||1.5 to 3 inches long, with two twisted yellow-green needles on each fascicle; divergent in nature|
|Flowers||A monoecious species; males are cylindrical, yellow and near the tips of the branches; females appear in yellow to red color, with a curved prickle|
|Distribution/Range||New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Delaware; naturalized in Canada at Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia|
|Growth rate||Slow to moderate|
|Growing Conditions||Soil – Clay, loamy or sandy, well-drained soils with a pH level of 4.5-7.5; intolerant towards wet sites
Sunlight – Full sun, the growth is not impeded by droughts
Summer – Temperatures range between of 70°F to 75° F
Winter – 25°F to 40°F seem to be the ideal temperatures Water Requirements – Rainfall ranges between 35 to 55 inches and well distributed throughout the year
|Diseases/Pests||Generally hardy tree; susceptible to heart rot disease caused by the Phellinus pin, pitch canker caused by Fusarium moniliforme var. subglutinans and attacks by the pine beetle, pales weevil and sawflies|
|Flowering Season||Male flowers appear with new shoots during mid-spring|
|Seed Production||Seeds are produced every year by the cones, with the first seed-producing cones appearing at 5 years of age|
|Seedling Development||Seeds germinate easily as long as they have a mineral soil seedbed and direct sunlight|
|Propagation||By seed germination|
|Wildlife Value||Serves as a food source for many animals like the wild turkey, meadow vole, mourning dove, white-tailed deer, Carolina Chickadee, American Goldfinch, among others; used as a shelter by the pileated woodpecker, eastern cottontail, barred owl, black rat snake, blue jay, ruby-throated hummingbird, etc.|
|Cultivars||Wate’s Golden is the solitary cultivar that is commonly available for the Virginia Pine; the foliage is a brilliant shade of yellow in the winter, while it becomes green in the summer|
|Uses||In reforestation and the lumber industry; provides wood pulp used in making paper|
|IUCN Conservation status||Least Concern|
- Rare specimens of the Virginia pine have been known to live for more than 150 years, considerably more than its average lifespan.
- Four members of the Pinus family, including the Sand Pine, Eastern Jack Pine, Virginia Pine, and Lodgepole Pine have remarkably divvied up territory among themselves such that, no territory of one overlaps with the others. The Virginia Pine has taken up the temperate regions in the east of the US.