What it looks like

Pitch pine is the only 3-needled hard pine native to eastern Canada. The needles are 7-12 cm long, twisted and blunt-tipped. Mature bark has flaky dark gray plates and tufts of needles or small branches. Cones are covered in sharp spines, and can remain on the tree for many years until opened by fire.

Where it is found

Pitch pine is restricted to a small area in eastern Ontario along the St. Lawrence river. This is mostly due to its preference for poor, sandy soils and harsh conditions.

Planting Tips

  • Size: Up to 20 m tall
  • Moisture: Wet to dry
  • Shade: Intolerant of shade, prefers full sun
  • Soil: Prefers acidic, sandy or other very well-drained soils

Pitch pine may only available from nurseries within or near the native range in Ontario, and only when seed is available.

Pitch pine has a deep root system to access water on dry sites and is useful for reforesting bare, sandy areas. However, it can grow on the edges of swamps.

Did you know?

Pitch pine is the only native pine that can resprout after the main trunk is cut down or burnt in a fire.

Image credits

  • Tree: Sean Fox
  • Needles: Keith Kanoti
  • Bark: Sean Fox
  • Cone: Melissa Spearing