Pine trees are among the most interesting evergreens, with a lot of natural character and a look of rugged independence. They are often very suitable for low-maintenance gardening on difficult sites, and the Virginia Pine is outstanding for that use. It is also a handsome tree for any garden, and it can also be easily turned into a stunning bonsai specimen.
The Virginia Pine (Pinus virginiana) is an American native tree that grows naturally from Long Island, through the Appalachian Mountains, North Carolina, and on into Tennessee and Alabama. Because it is hardy and resistant to drought, it can also be grown across a wide part of the country, in all but the hottest and coldest areas.
The needles have an attractive aroma, and they were used by Cherokee Indians as a tea and a medicine. The bark and roots were also used. The bark on young shoots is thin and reddish, while older bark is reddish-brown and deeply fissured into long, peeling plates. This attractive bark makes the Virginia Pine a very handsome, rugged tree. The lumber has been used for mine pilings, railways ties, pulp, fire-wood and to extract tar.
Growing Virginia Pine Trees
The Virginia Pine is different from many other pines in several ways. It has short needles, usually 2 inches or less in length, although strong shoots can have needles up to 4 inches long. The needles are attractively twisted and grow in bundles of two. They cluster together in tufts at the ends of the branches. This tree usually grows between 20 and 40 feet tall, although it can eventually grow taller. Once established, trees produce pine cones that are rounded to oval, and no more than 3 inches across.
This tree does not have the narrow form of many pines, but instead it develops a broad, rounded crown that has wonderful character and beauty, especially when seen against the skyline. This also makes it ideal as a screen or background, since trees can be spaced widely, but will still meet to make a continuous screen. The great strength of this tree lies in its ability to thrive and grow in very poor soils, and ones that are sandy and often dry. If you have poor soil, and no irrigation, then this is the tree for you.
Care and Maintenance
If you have dry, poor soil on your property, and you are interested in planting trees that are both useful and attractive, the Virginia Pine should be at the top of your list. Once established it will grow with no care, and it is free of pests and diseases too. It makes an effective screen and backdrop to your garden, and with its evergreen foliage it is attractive all year round. It can easily be trimmed, and if you want an outdoor Christmas tree, regular trimming of the new growth will keep it compact and well-shaped.
To keep the growth short and dense, remove most of the new shoots which come in the spring. These are called ‘candles’, and you can remove almost all the shoot when young, leaving just an inch or even less to form buds for the next year. This way the growth will become dense and flat, just like the pine trees seen in Japanese gardens. The stems are flexible and they can be easily wrapped with copper wire and bent into shape. Remove the wire after one or two seasons, before it begins to create marks in the bark. The stem will stay as it was trained after a year or so of wrapping.
For quite a different use, if you have an Asian-themed or Japanese-style garden, trained pines are an essential ingredient, and this tree is ideal for bonsai or training in the garden. Its short, twisted needles have just the right look for a dwarf tree, and are the perfect scale for a dwarf tree.
Planting and Initial Care
Choose a sunny spot to plant your Virginia Pine trees, and water regularly during the first year. After that they can be left to grow quite naturally, and they will thrive even on poor soil and in drought conditions. It has no pests or diseases, and grows without any attention. While the trees will remain smaller on poor soil, from a landscaping viewpoint they will be more twisted and attractive.
Buying Virginia Pines at The Tree Center
These kinds of native trees are sadly not often offered for sale, and non-native species are much more common. So we know that our top-quality stock will be in high demand. If you want trees, but don’t want all the work, then the Virginia Pine is your top choice. Order now, as these trees will not last, and we want everyone to grow this terrific native tree. You won’t be disappointed. If you have questions about our Virginia Pine trees or any other plants on our website, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-888-329-0140 and we’re happy to help!