Red Pine

Pinus resinosa

whole treeThe red pine is a native of the Lake states and eastward throughout New England and southeastern Canada. It had not been planted widely in Iowa until the 1930's. Since then it has been planted quite widely for both erosion control and water conservation , and some for farmstead windbreaks. When growing under natural conditions, the red pine reaches a height of 90 to 100 feet and a diameter of 30 to 40 inches, with a tall, straight, clean trunk and an open, rounded picturesque crown. The tree gets its name from the bright orange-colored or reddish bark, which divides into large plates as the tree matures.

bent needleRed pine needles are 4 to 6 inches long and in bundles of two. The dark green needles are soft and flexible. When bent sharply they snap or break cleanly rather than just folding over as do the needles of other pines.

needles and coneThe cone is egg-shaped; 2 to 2-1/4 inches long. The cone scales are smooth and without spines. The seeds are eaten by songbirds and small animals.

Branching: Each year a pine tree produces a new whorl (circle) of branches.

Bark: reddish cast, breaking up into scaly plates

Height: 50 to 80 ft.

Trunk Diameter: 1 to 3 ft.

Longevity: maximum age is about 350 yrs.

Tolerance: intermediate

Range: southern Canada, lake states, and the northeast

Fun Facts:

  • Most of the wooden telephone poles in Michigan and surrounding states are red pine.
  • Used to make log cabins.
  • During the Depression in the 1930s, millions of red pine plantations were planted by the C.C.C. (Civilian Conservation Corps.); that is the reason we see so many in Camp Conestoga.


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This key was developed by "bt" in June 1982. It was put into HTML format by Stephen Ostermiller in July 1997. Copies of the entire guide in zip format that may be taken to camp on a laptop are available to those who write.