Eastern White Pine – Pinus Strobus
The white pine, with its distinctive wind-sculpted shape, is the provincial tree of Ontario. It is a shade-intolerant tree that reaches high above the rest of the mixed forest canopy when fully mature. It is the tallest tree species in Eastern Canada, growing up to 30 metres and living to 200 years and older. The root system usually has 3 to 5 lateral roots with anchoring roots growing down from these. White pine thrives on moist sandy loam, but can also grow on dry sandy soils, rocky ridges and even sphagnum bogs. It is often found in mixed forests with other species. Seedlings need a little shade when they are small, but as taller saplings they grow very quickly in the sun.
Red Pine – Pinus Resinosa
Red Pine grows straight and very tall, up to 35 meters in height. This makes the tree more appropriate for rural plantings. Red pine is an important timber tree in the forestry industry. It is also aesthetically pleasing and provides food and shelter for wildlife.
Red pine can grow on thin soil but needs good soil depth in order to send down its strong roots. It is quite sturdy in the wind once it does so. It does not tolerate shade, so should be planted in an open and sunny place.
Red pine is often planted for the purpose of afforestation – turning vacant land back into forested land. As the plantation matures, hardwoods reappear.
Jack Pine – Pinus Banksiana
Jack Pine is a smaller conifer that grows to about 20 meters tall. It is slow-growing and lives about 150 years. Like most pines, its trunk is straight and the heavier branching only starts about half way up the trunk. Ottawa is at the southern edge of the jack pine’s Boreal forest range. The tree typically grows in dry sandy or rocky acidic soil and is known to be fussy as to soil type. If it grows in shallow poor soil, the jack pine takes a deformed shape. It can be grown in urban sites, but be aware that the root system is wide-spreading and fairly deep, often with a tap root.
Jack pine is important for wildlife and birds.