Red Pine, an evergreen conifer, has its natural range in the northeastern United States and southern Canada. However, it is used extensively in Ohio as a reforestation pine tree that is valued for its lumber and pulpwood. While native to North America, it is also known as Norway Pine, as the early settlers of New England mistook it for Norway Spruce. In addition, it grew in abundance near the town of Norway, Maine.
The winter buds of Red Pine are rather resinous, as is its resin-retentive lumber, and this trait is reflected in the scientific name of this species (Pinus resinosa). Red Pine grows to 50 feet tall by 30 feet wide under Ohio conditions, with a medium growth rate. Its shape is upright oval in youth, becoming more spreading but still symmetrical with age. Its common name comes from the fact that its young scaly bark is a distinct orange-red, while its mature platy bark is more red-brown. As a member of the Pine Family, it is related to other Pines as well as the Firs, Larches, Spruces, and Hemlocks.
Planting Requirements - Red Pine prefers soils that are poor, sterile, acidic, and dry, especially those that are sandy and gravelly, and therefore very well-drained. However, it does not like salt spray to its foliage, or salt deposition in its soil. It grows in zones 2 to 5, preferring regions that have cold climates in winter and cool climates in summer. It makes an excellent reforestation tree in the colder areas of Ohio, where cut-over or barren land in exposed sites needs quick coverage.
Potential Problems - While the pines in general are susceptible to a variety of insects and diseases, Red Pine is relatively trouble-free. It displays a stunted growth habit when it is sited in heavy or occasionally wet soils, due to poor water drainage. The insect known as red pine scale also favors this pine, sucking the juice from its stems. Finally, it is susceptible to salt spray and salt deposition damage when it is sited near roadways that are salted in winter.