Common Ash Trees in Our Area

Austrian Pine:

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Conifer, evergreen tree, 50-60(100) ft [15-18(30) m], densely pyramidal when young, becoming a large flat-topped tree with a short, straight trunk and stout spreading branches.  Bark light gray to dark brown, darker than P. ponderosa.  Buds ovate to cylindrical, resinous. Needles in pairs, persist 4-8 years, 8-12 cm long, stiff, point sharp to touch, bundle sheath 13 mm long, 12-14 stomatal lies on each surface.  Cones grouped 2-4, ovoid, conical, 4-8 cm long, light brown.

Sun.  Prefers moist soil with good drainage, but adaptable.

Hardy to USDA Zone 4     Pinus nigra has a very discontinuous range, it is found in southern Europe (from the Pyrenees

Peninsula to Sicily, Greece and Bulgaria), northwest Africa (Algeria and Morocco) and Asia Minor.  There are several subspecies and varieties.

A number of selections are offered, including forms that are:

  • upright  -  e.g., ‘Arnond Sentinal’, ‘Obelisk’
  • compact or dwarf  -  e.g.,‘Black Prince’, ‘Compacta’, ‘Hornibrookiana’, ‘Nana’, ‘Oregon Green’
  • variegated  -  e.g., ‘Aurea’, ‘Stanley Gold’
  • golden-yellow in winter  -  e.g., ‘Moseri’

Limber Pine:

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Conifer, evergreen, small to medium tree, 30-50 ft [14-15 m] high, short trunk, broad, rounded crown, flat-topped at maturity.  Bark light gary and smooth, later dark gray, fissured into scaly ridges or rectangular plates.  Needles are in bundles of 5, 5-9 cm long, not toothed, light or dark green, white stomatal line on all surfaces, but not always distinct.  Twigs slender, very flexible, tough.   Female cones near ends of branches, 8 to 15 cm long, egg-shaped, yellow-brown, short-stalked.

Sun or partial shade.  Best in moist, well-drained soil, however, it is very adaptable.   In its native range it is found at low elevations, upper elevations near the tree line, on very dry sites, and along the edge of grass plains.  One of the more popular cultivars is 'Vanderwolf's Pyramid', other cultivars include 'Cessarini Blue', 'Extra Blue', 'Glauca', and 'Glauca Pendula'.

Hardy to USDA Zone 4         Native to the Rocky Mountains, from British Columbia and Alberta to Montana and Idaho and southwest to Colorado and Arizona, and west to Utah, Nevada and California.   Isolated populations occur in northeastern Oregon, New Mexico, and the west end of the Dakotas and Nebraska. flexilis: flexible, the branches.

Lodgepole Pine:

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Conifer, evergreen tree, 110 ft (30 m), columnar, especially when in tight stands.  Bark reddish-brown.  Two needles per bundle (fascicle), green to yellow green, 4-6 cm long, commonly twisted, persists 4-8 years, sheath persistent.  Cones 2-5 cm long, egg-shaped, oblique, armed with deciduous prickles, stalkless, or nearly so, frequently point "backwards" toward the base of the branch.  

Sun. Hardy to USDA Zone 3  (Much more hardy than coastal form)   One of the most widely distributed pines in the western hemisphere, extending from Alaska south to Mexico and east through the Rocky Mountains to South Dakota.   Another form, P. c. var. contorta (Shore Pine), has a rounded shape and does not grow as tall, to about 50 ft (15 m), it is found along the Pacific coast, from Alaska to northern California.  A third form, P. c. var. murrayana (Sierra Lodgepole Pine) is also recognized by some authorities.

Shore and Lodgepole pine are the only pines native to the Pacific Northwest that have short needles in bundles of two.

latifolia:  wide, broad Lodgepole: native peoples prized the lodgepole for making supports for teepees, lodges and other buildings, and poles for a travois (the trailing pole frame pulled by a horse or dog). The Provincial Tree of Alberta.

Ponderosa Pine:

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Conifer, evergreen tree, 60-100 ft (18-30 m), narrow, pyramidal when young, to an irregularly cylindrical, narrow crown.  Bark brown-black in young trees, but in older trees yellowish brown or cinnamon and in large, flat, scaly plates.  Needles long (13-25 cm) and in 3's or sometimes in 2's, crowded on branchlets, sharp at apex, horny point, stomatal lines on each surface.  Cones 5-15cm long, conical or egg-shaped, almost stalkless, light, reddish-brown to gray-brown, armed with straight prickles.

Sun.  Prefers well-drained, moist, deep site.  Resistant to drought and tolerates alkaline soil.  The pitch moth, whose larvae bore into the cambium, especially around injuries, stimulate pitch flow.  In the Willamette Valley, trunks may produce much pitch in response to insect attack.  However, genotypes adapted to Valley conditions are less prone to serious injury by insects.

Hardy to USDA Zone 3      British Columbia to Mexico, east to South Dakota and Texas.  In the Pacific Northwest it is most commonly found east of the Cascades, however in Oregon it is common in the western valleys of the Willamette, Umpqua, and Rogue Rivers.

Often confused with Pinus jeffreyi, several characteristics given to distinguish between the two species. Several subspecies and a few cultivated selections. ponderosa: heavy, the wood.

Scotch Pine:

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Conifer, evergreen tree, 30-60 ft (9-18 m), irregular, pyramidal in youth, branches spreading, lower ones soon dying; with age becoming wide spreading, flat-topped or rounded.  Bark is orangish or orange-brown in upper branches, flaky.  Needles blue-green, 2 per bundle, 2.5-8 cm long, stiff, twisted, well defined lines of stomatal on the outer side, persistent bundle sheath about 6 mm long.  Cones often asymmetrical, 2.5-7 cm long (similar to leaves), with a short stalk.

Sun.  Grows on a variety of soils, including poor and dry, if well-drained.  Prefers acid soils.

Hardy to USDA Zone 2      Widely distributed, from Norway and Scotland (the only native pine of the UK) to Spain and western Asia and northeastern Siberia.   There is great variability in the species and a large number of geographical varieties.  Naturalized in some parts of New England.

One of the first pine species to be introduced to North America, and it has since has become naturalized in some parts of New England.  According to Farrar (1995), it is a tall straight tree in Europe with wood of excellent quality.  However, in North America it is seldom straight and the wood is of poor quality.  This difference is attributed to the poor seed sources used by early settlers.

Many cultivars are available (some 50 are listed in the catalog of an Oregon conifer nursery), the selected forms include:

  • Dwarf or slow growing
    • ‘Albyn’  -  a mat-like shrub to about 15 inches (40 cm) high.
    • ‘Glauca Nana’  -  semi-dwarf round globe, leaves coarse blue, grows about 6 inches (15 cm) per years.
    • ‘Nana’  -  to about 20 inches (50 cm) high, densely branched, short twigs directed up, needles 3 cm long, blue-green.
    • ‘Watereri’  -  growing to 10-12 ft (3-4 m) high, nearly as wide, branch tips directed upward, needles 2.5-4 cm long, blue-green.  Discovered in 1865.
    • ‘Hillside Creeper’  -  low growing creeping form, branches more or less horizontal, to 2 ft (0.6 m) high and 6 ft (1.8 m) wide.
  • Upright
    • ‘Fastigiata’  -  strict, columnar habit, to 50 ft (15 m) high, stiff upright branches, may become "untidy and bare" with age, some consider ‘Fastigiata Drath’ an improved upright form.
    • ‘Globosa Viridis’  -  reportedly a "dwarf gobose globe" but it resembles a Dwarf Alberta Spruce (e.g., ‘Conica’).
  • Variegated
    • ‘Aurea’  -  needles bright gold in winter, may look sickly in summer, upright loose tree unless pruned, gowing about 1 ft (30 cm) per year.
    • ‘Gold Coin’  -  foliage golden-yellow in winter, dull yellow in summer, upright habit, grows 8-12 inches (20-30 cm) per year.
  • Weeping
    • ‘Pendula’  -  branches distinctly pendulous, basal branches lying on the ground.

sylvestris: of the woods

White Pine:

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Conifer, evergreen tree, 100 ft (30 m), narrow, open, conical crown of horizontal branches.  Needles 5 per bundle, 5-10 cm long, slightly stout, blue-green, 4-5 white stomatal lines on inner surface, bundle sheath 18 mm long, shed first year.  Cones terminal, solitary or grouped 2-5, 13-23 cm long, narrowly cylindrical, mostly short stalked, pitchy, may drip pitch in warm weather.  (Difficult to distinguish from Pinus strobus, but P. monticola needles stiffer, growth more dense, and cones tend to be larger.)

Sun. Hardy to USDA Zone 3      Native to the northern Rocky Mountains from British Columbia to Montana, also along Pacific Coast south through the Sierra Nevada to Central California.

monticola: inhabiting mountains

Common problems with “Pine” trees:


Keep your Pines fertilized and watered to reduce the chances of insects or diseases from attacking them. If they are attacked and it is too late to do anything about it, it is very important to remove the tree as soon as possible to avoid spreading the insect or disease to your other trees. Remember Pines that look a little red or brown in the top and have many pitch tubes from attack are already dead, the needles just haven’t dried out yet.

  • Aphids

    Aphids feed by sucking up plant juices through a food channel in their beaks. At the same time, they inject saliva into the host. Light infestations are usually not harmful to plants, but higher infestations may result in leaf curl, wilting, stunting of shoot growth, and delay in production of flowers and fruit, as well as a general decline in plant vigor. Some aphids are also important vectors of plant diseases, transmitting pathogens in the feeding process.

    A sticky glaze of honeydew may collect on lower leaves, outdoor furniture, cars, and other objects below aphid feeding sites. Honeydew coated objects soon become covered by one or more brown fungi known as sooty molds. Crusts of sooty mold are unsightly on man-made objects, and they can interfere with photosynthesis in leaves.

  • Mountain Pine Beetles

    Mountain Pine Beetles are the most destructive insect pest of Montana's pine forests. Beetles have been identified within our city limits killing our Pines as well as some mature Spruce that get in the way. These beetles can kill large numbers of trees annually during outbreaks. The adult is about 1/8". Trees most likely to be attacked are not growing vigorously due to old age, crowding, poor growing conditions, drought, fire, mechanical damage, or root disease.

    As beetle populations increase, most large mature Pines in the outbreak area will be at risk causing even the healthier more vigorous Pines vulnerable to MPB attacks.

  • Blackhorned Pine Beetles

    A bluish-black beetle, about 15 mm inch long with antennae the same length as the body. The wing covers are more leathery than those of other beetles and the body form is rather flattened. Larvae, found within wood, resemble most roundheaded wood borers, being off-white, elongate legless grubs with brown heads.

    Damages live Pine trees under severe stress. This borer also may cause concern to home owners when adult beetles emerge from firewood or unseasoned lumber. Also, large amounts of sawdust can be produced and expelled by the larvae developing in fire wood, producing concerns about potential harm to household items.

  • Turpentine Beetles

    Adults are reddish-brown about 3/8" in length, the largest of the Dendroctonus bark beetles. Larvae are up to 1/2" in length, and feed together in a common brood chamber. Pupal chambers may be found at the base of the host tree.

    Red turpentine beetles commonly attack trees already weakened by injury, other bark beetle attacks, or disease. Freshly cut stumps, exposed roots and the lower trunk of declining trees are all attacked, as are "leave" trees after logging operations and fire survivors. It is commonly associated with attacks of Ips or mountain pine beetle, which are usually responsible for the actual death of the tree.

  • IPS Engraver

    Ips beetles are small (1/8 to 3/8 inch long), reddish-brown to black beetles. Unlike mountain pine beetle, infestation by Ips beetles does not necessarily mean the whole tree will die, but over time, attacks may progress as later generations "fill" the tree and then ultimately the host can die. As adult Ips beetles enter trees and tunnel, a yellowish- or reddish-brown boring dust is produced and accumulates in bark crevices or around the base of the tree.

  • Zimmer Pine Moth

    The adults, rarely observed, are midsized moths, with gray wings blended with red-brown and marked with zigzag lines. Larvae are generally dirty white caterpillars, occasionally with some pink or green. They are found within the characteristic popcorn-like masses of sap on the trunks and branches. Branches typically break at the crotch area where they join the trunk. Dead and dying branches, most often in the upper half of the tree, commonly indicate infestations.

  • White Pine Weevil

    The first sign of attack ranges from small, glistening droplets to resin oozing from tiny holes in the leader. This is caused by adult weevils that are feeding before egg-laying. As the terminal is girdled, the new shoot of the current year's growth withers and the tip bends over and turns brown. This stage of damage usually becomes noticeable about mid-June. Examination of the dead shoots will show the white larvae or pupae beneath the bark or in the wood and pitch. That year's growth is always killed, but two or three years of growth is commonly killed. The result is forked and crooked trees.

    The adult is a small rust-colored weevil that is about 4-6 mm long. It has irregularly shaped patches of brown and white scales on the front wings.

    This species kills the terminal leader primarily of eastern white pine. Colorado blue spruce, Norway spruce, Scots, red, pitch, jack, and Austrian pines, and occasionally Douglas fir are also attacked. Trees become susceptible to injury when they reach a height of about three feet.

    Adults spend the winter in the leaf litter under or near host trees. On warm spring days they fly or crawl to the leaders of suitable hosts usually during the period from mid-March through April.

  • Pine Needle Scale

    White females are about 3 mm long. Scale insects feed on plant sap. They have long, threadlike mouthparts (stylets) six to eight times longer than the insect itself. Feeding by scales slowly reduces plant vigor. Heavily infested plants grow poorly and may suffer dieback of twigs and branches. Occasionally, an infested host will be so weakened that it dies.

  • Diplodia Tip blight

    This disease is most commonly seen on Austrian and black pines and some of the other two-and three-needle pines such as red pine, Mugho pine and Scots pine. It is found more uncommonly on white pine, spruces and other evergreens. The fungus commonly attacks mature trees that have been under stress from drought, root restriction or other planting site problems.

    Other problems can cause similar dieback and tree decline. Winter drying, drought, injury from weevils, pine-shoot moths or tip moths, as well as some needlecast diseases caused by other fungi may cause damage similar in appearance to tip blight.