Thursday, March 04, 2010

White Pines Get a Natural Pruning

The weight of recent snows took a heavy toll on the branches of white pines, which could be seen scattered on the ground all over town. Though some pines that grow further south, such as loblolly and shortleaf pines, are self-pruning, white pines only get pruned by people or ice and snow.

The scars of ice and snowstorms present and past can be found by looking up the trunk.

Looks like some kids decided the fallen branches would make a neat little shelter at Quarry Park in the borough, though closer inspection suggests that not all the branches fell naturally. It's nice that some stubs were left--useful for (resiny) climbing.

White pines can be identified by their clusters of five needles (other common species have two or three per cluster), and also the way their branches come out in whorls along the trunk. One whorl is produced each year. Count the whorls and you have the age of the tree.

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