Rounded evergreen shapes are always assets in the garden, where their dense structure contrasts nicely with more open shapes, or with vertical accent plants. The Blue Shag White Pine is a relatively recent introduction, that has quickly developed a reputation as a unique variety with exactly that rounded shape. It is also very hardy, easy to grow, and has an interesting texture you will love to have in your garden. This is a selected form of a native tree, so you can still enjoy the natural pleasure of growing native plants, while also enjoying the novelty of interesting forms.
The Blue Shag White Pine forms a compact, dense mound of branches, sitting on the ground, and developing into a rounded, almost spherical bush, reaching a height and spread of about 4 ½ feet in the first ten years. It steadily adds 4 to 6 inches of growth each year, and it will continue to grow, reaching about 8 feet tall in 20 years. The many stems maintain a dense structure, and the needles are about 3 inches long, in bundles of five, wrapped in a papery covering where they attach to the stems. They are an interesting shade of bluish green, with a soft, shaggy texture, creating an appealing plant.
Growing Blue Shag White Pine Bushes
Use the Blue Shag White Pine for variety in the foundation planting around your home. Group several in larger beds for a striking contrast with other shrubs. Cover a slope or bank with them, for a different look to the normal spreading junipers that are so widely grown. A great way to make a feature bed in any garden is to group a selection of dwarf conifer evergreens, like this one, place some attractive rocks among them, and mulch the bed with a layer of gravel or rock chips. Choose a varied range of shapes and colors, from narrow columns to flat spreaders, and group them in interesting ways. At the Tree Center you will find a wide range of these plants in our ‘Evergreens’ collections, and it is easy to plan a garden with them, that will bring lots of color and interest every day of the year for almost no work.
We should always remember that dwarf plants, especially evergreen conifers, never stop growing, although the growth rate does slow down. When planting, allow for future growth, and space young plants well apart. Older specimens are glorious to see, and valuable too, so give them the chance to develop their full potential. Allow plenty of space, and watch these easy plants develop and mature into wonderful specimens.
Growing in Pots and Containers
You can also grow the Blue Shag White Pine in containers, and a pair flanking an entrance is a great feature in any garden. Growing in a large pot it will bring a look of permanence and interest to your terrace or patio. Plant a row in a narrow space, perhaps between a driveway and a fence – the options are endless.
Planting and Initial Care
The Blue Shag White Pine will grow in almost any kind of soil, preferring moist, well-drained, sandy and acidic soils, but really growing almost anywhere. For harsh city plantings the Mugo Pine is preferable, but in all other places white pine is a winner. When young it should be watered weekly, but once established it will tolerate periods of normal summer drought without any problems. It needs no pruning or trimming to maintain its neat form, and it has few pests and diseases of any significance.
History and Origins of the Blue Shag White Pine
The Eastern White Pine, Pinus strobus, is the only 5-needle pine growing east of the Rocky Mountains. Native Americans called it the Tree of Peace, and it was logged extensively for the masts of sailing ships, both British and American, including the USS Constitution, because it is so tall and straight. Original growth trees are rare, but natural forests are regenerating rapidly. There are several dwarf forms of this tree, but the ‘Blue Shag’ variety is considered especially desirable and densely branched, compared to inferior trees just sold as ‘dwarf white pine’.
The Blue Shag White Pine was found in 1978, by Dr. Sidney Waxman of the University of Connecticut. He found it growing as a ‘witch’s broom’ on a wild tree. These are natural growths of very dense branches on the older branches of trees, and many dwarf evergreens began life in this way. Pieces are taken and grafted onto roots from seedling white pine trees, and this is the way our trees are produced, to ensure they are exact copies of that original discovery. The demand for interesting dwarf evergreens is always strong, because they bring so much to your garden, but need so little from you – surely a great exchange. Order now while our stocks last, and start building a collection of these plants, or add this one to your existing garden.