Growing white pines in Minnesota

By Jana Albers and Mike Albers,
Forest Health Specialists, MN DNR- Forestry

Since the last glaciation, white pines have peppered the landscape and towered above the other trees; monarchs of the forest. Contrary to popular belief, white pine stands did not blanket the state in pre-settlement times. Instead, white pines dotted the landscape, occurring in small groves with red pines and as individual super-canopy trees. White pines, beyond their beauty and size, grow across the range of forest conditions in Minnesota and fill important ecological roles.

White pines were the lure that brought loggers to Minnesota in the late 1880's. People thought that the supply would never run out and it hasn't, but the number of white pines is estimated to have decreased by 75%. Besides logging, other factors have contributed to this decrease. The forests of Minnesota have been changed by more people, more deer, changes in fire frequency and a new white pine disease. These factors have teamed up to limit both where white pines can grow and how well they do.

Many people are passionate about white pines and want to bring them back to their former glory. Planting and tending white pine seedlings involves more preparation and work than other conifers. With your help, we will see the numbers of white pine increase and restore them to their rightful place, as the "monarchs" of the forest.

Whether you find them already growing on your land or you plant them, white pines benefit from forest management. White pines need to be planted where they can avoid diseases and insects and be protected from deer browse and plant competition. White pine seedlings can not be "stuck" in the ground and forgotten.


For additional information, please contact your
local state, county or private professional forester.

Suggested Readings

Albers, M.A. and J.S. Albers, 1998. White Pine: How to Prune for Blister Rust. Silviculture Field Tip No.10, MN DNR, Division of Forestry.

Anderson, R.L.,1973. A Summary of White Pine Blister Rust Research in the Lake States. USDA Forest Service, Gen. Tech. Rpt. NC-6, 12p.

Barnacle, B., 1997. Protecting Pine Trees Seedlings from Deer Browsing with Paper Bud Caps. Silviculture Field Tip No. 6, MN DNR, Division of Forestry.

Katovich, S. And M. Mielke, 1993. How to Manage Eastern White Pine to Minimize damage from Blister Rust and White Pine Weevil. USDA Forest service NA-FR-01-93.

Nicholls, T.H. and R.L. Anderson, 1977. How to Identify White Pine Blister Rust and Remove Cankers. USDA Forest Service, N.C. For. Exp. Stn., 8p.

Robbins, K. 1984. How to select planting sites for eastern white pine in the Lake States. USDA, USFS NA-FB/M-8, 7pp.

Van Arsdel, E.P. 1979. Tree Diseases. Texas A & M University Press. pp119-134.

The last four illustrations were provided by USDS-USFS, S&PF and are taken from NA FR-01-93 by S. Katovich and M. Mielke.