The Pine Tree State sits in the far northeastern corner of the United States, along the Canadian border. Well-named, the state tree representing Maine is the Eastern White Pine. Native to regions in Canada, the Great Lakes, and the Appalachia, the Eastern White Pine is a large conifer, sometimes reaching heights well over 200 feet. Similar to all white pines, the Eastern White Pine bundles its needles into groups of five and cones do not extend beyond 7 inches in length. Eastern White Pines are frequently aged at 250 years, but can easily live to well over 400. This tree may not match every Maine landowner’s desire, though; Maine has hundreds of varieties from which to choose when planting.
Due to its geographical location, cold climate, and coastal regions, the smart Maine grower will need to consider the following items; climate, soil type, average precipitation, irrigation, growing zones and weather damage.
Best Trees for Maine
Read about the specifics for your state in the following sections. If you’re looking for some quick ideas on what to plant, consider the following trees as expert-tested and The Tree Center approved:
- Weeping Willow
Ideal for providing shade, sweeping beauty, and growth with minimal effort.
- American Red Maple
Ideal for providing classic American aesthetic, stunning fall colors, and shade.
- Meyer Lemon Tree
Ideal for bearing fruit for delicious, edible profits, color, and adaptable qualities.
- Willow Hybrid
Ideal for providing privacy, fast-growing properties, and easy care
Fast Growing Privacy Trees in Maine
New developments throughout the United States mean more infrastructure, more people, and more invasion of privacy. The residents of Maine have the option to plant and tend trees that produce privacy, turning away prying eyes and loud noises and instead enjoying the quiet and peace of private property.
The Leyland Cypress is the perfect privacy tree for Maine inhabitants. The Leyland Cypress grows quickly, adds distinct charm, and produces thick barriers between a private abode and unwanted chatter. Growing between 3 and 5 feet a year, the Leyland Cypress will give the Maine yard the fast-growing privacy for which they have been searching. Alternatively, the Thuja Green Giant and American Holly will bring privacy, color, and solitude to the savvy planter’s yard.
For a state nudging into Canada, it is surprising it does not get colder. Maine’s humid continental climate, characterized by hot, humid summers and cold, snowy winters, is affected both by mountains and oceans. Northern Maine often receives the heaviest winter storms and coldest weather, primarily due to its rise in elevation. Southern Maine’s weather is tempered by the Atlantic Ocean, which often produces milder winter temperatures, which can still reach quite low. Summers are warm, with day temperatures ranging from 75°F – 85°F and night temperatures reaching down to the high 50s. January is cold, with daily highs often sitting at freezing and dropping to well below zero. The record low was set in the north at -50°F.
Most trees require well-drained soil rich with minerals to grow. Maine is gifted with rich pastureland and rolling hills, many of which are covered with Chesuncook soil. This spodsoil is deep, well-drained, and pervasive in temperate regions. Best-suited to lumber, oats, potatoes and barley also grow well in it. Regardless of the property’s location in The Pine Tree State, a soon-to-be tree planter can perform a simple test to determine his/her soil type.
In order to determine the type of soil in your yard, try this test to give you a basis for finding the best matched trees. For this test, you will need a healthy handful of soil from the layer beneath the topmost piece of soil. The soil should be a little damp, but not recently watered or wet. Simply squeeze the soil sample and one of the following events will occur.
1. You have CLAY if, after opening your hands, the soil maintains its shape, forming a ball. If you touch the sample, it does not fall apart.
2. You have LOAM if, after opening your hands, the soil maintains its shape, forming a ball. If you touch the sample, it falls apart.
3. You have SAND if, after opening your hands, the soil immediately collapses.
Once you know what soil type you have, you can find trees best suited to the dirt’s properties. Loam is the best soil to have, as its unique qualities make it ideal for holding and transferring water to trees.
Maine receives high levels of annual rainfall. The average annual amount of rainfall across the entire state is 41.21 inches, with slightly more falling along the Atlantic Ocean. In the north, planters can expect approximately 35 inches of rain and in the south, 57 inches. Severe winter snow often affects northern regions of the state, with the weather sometimes affecting power and water systems.
Rainfall may be abundant in Maine, but irrigation is still an important tool in the planter’s toolkit. Irrigation provides controlled and consistent access to water. Living in hilly pastureland will affect water drainage, and drip or sprinkler systems can help to distribute water more effectively. Newly planted trees require maintained access to water to ensure successful rooting and growth.
Maine displays five unique growing zones. A growing zone simply refers to the USDA’s determination of areas where certain plants are most likely to thrive, preferring to focus on minimal temperature ranges in which a plant can survive. The zones fall in bands across the state, with the most northern regions experiencing temperatures as low as -35°F. In small areas along the Atlantic coast, temperatures rarely fall below -15°F.
Damaging storms such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and even thunderstorms are infrequent in Maine. The state averages less than 20 thunderstorms a year, the lowest on the eastern side of the Rockies. Tornadoes are rare and occur less than twice a year. Hurricanes have traveled as far north as Maine along the coast, but typically only bring heavy rains and moderate winds. Flooding can occur, especially in low elevation regions. Trees can be beneficial as they can prevent erosion. Be sure to plant trees for this purpose away from powerlines. Heavy snow can cause limbs to fall, damaging both property and winter-living quality.