Some landscapers love pine, and some hate them. They are hard to ignore because of the sheer number of types and how common they are.
Pines range in size from dwarfs to giants. Also, they are easy to spot due to their characteristic needles and billowy growth habit.
Pine trees are easy to grow and do well in any soil, even the least fertile ones. Above all, they require a sunny site, and they despise shade.
Much of the native WV pines grow in the state’s eastern half. The region east of the Allegheny Mountains experiences less overall rainfall, and many pine species strive in this climate.
Some of the pine trees on the list below are native to WV. The benefit of planting native pine trees is that they adapt easily to the landscape and provide food and shelter to local wildlife.
7 Best Pine Trees for West Virginia
1. Austrian pine (Pinus nigra) – Non-Native Pine
Austrian pine is one of the most versatile pine trees. It can tolerate heat, drought, pollution, and poor soil types.
If you aren’t such which pine to plant or don’t have much experience, this one is a great choice. It is easy to grow.
Introduced in the United States over 250 years ago, the tree has the reputation of thriving in the country’s worst soil and climate conditions.
Austrian pine features dark green needles which grow in bundles of two. The sometimes cured or twisted needles are about 3 to 6 inches long and can stay on the tree for up to 8 years.
The ones are oval and light brown, measuring 2 to 4 inches in length. Birds and squirrels enjoy the seeds inside them.
It is better to provide Austrian pine with full sun exposure like all pines.
Other Common Names: Black pine
Growing Zones: 4 – 7
Average Size at Maturity: 50 – 60 feet tall with a spread of 20 – 40 feet
2. Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) – Non-Native Pine
Like White pine, loblolly pine is a fast grower. Growing more than two feet each year, it forms an oval shape in just a few years.
It is an excellent idea if you are looking for a quick screen in the landscape. But it also makes a great shade tree, losing its lower branches with age.
Loblolly pine bears slender, sometimes twisted, dark yellow-green needles. The needles are relatively long, measuring between 6 – 10 inches.
Loblolly pine grows in a variety of soil conditions types. It prefers normal to moist soil conditions.
Other Common Names: Rosemary pine, Old field pine, Bull pine, Indian pine, Longstraw pine
Growing Zones: 6 – 9
Average Size at Maturity: 60 – 90 feet tall with a spread of 25 – 35 feet
3. Mugo Pine (Pinus mugo) – Non-Native Pine
Native to the Alps in Europe, Mugo pine is on the shorter side. It is usually planted as an ornamental tree for its lovely pyramidal and broad-spreading form.
Mugo pine works well in any landscape spot that needs some filling. Some trees have a rounded shape, but you can easily prune them as you want them to be.
This pine features stout dark-green needles, measuring only 1 to 2 inches long with finely toothed margins. Mugo pine also provides something unique to the winter landscape. The foliage turns yellowish green in the winter.
Regarding sunlight exposure, Mugo pine is relatively flexible. As long as it gets at least four hours of direct sunlight each day, it will strive. Also, it is not fussy about soil type and has some drought resistance.
The only drawback for some gardeners is that Mugo pine is a slow grower. In most cases, it will grow less than one foot each year.
Other Common Names: Bog pine, Creeping pine, Dwarf mountain pine, Mountain pine, scrub mountain pine, Swiss mountain pine
Growing Zones: 3 – 7
Average Size at Maturity: 20 feet tall with a spread of 25 feet
4. Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) – Native Pine
From a distance, Ponderosa pine is one of the most stunning pine trees. It is gigantic, majestic, and intimidating. The mature tree features a sizeable straight trunk with an irregular cylindrical shape.
This pine tree offers many beautiful features. The thick bark is blackish or dark red-brown with deep and irregular fissures. Its 5 to 7 inches long needles are gray-green, olive, or yellow-green and usually appear in bundles of three. Also, all parts of the tree give off a sweet aroma.
Because of its deep taproot, you can incorporate Ponderosa pine into the landscape as a windbreak or buffer strip. If you need to fill a large area, it does well planted in mass.
Ponderosa pine adapts to various soil conditions at all levels of elevation. But it will not tolerate soil that stays wet or doesn’t drain well for long periods.
Here is a final note for history lovers. Ponderosa pine provided the canoes for famous American explorers Lewis and Clark after they crossed the Rocky Mountains to the headwaters of the Columbia River.
Other Common Names: Western yellow pine
Growing Zones: 3 – 7
Average Size at Maturity: 60 – 100 feet tall with a spread of 25 – 30 feet
5. Shortleaf Pine (Pinus echinata) – Native Pine
Shortleaf pine is an important species for lumber, construction, and millwork. This pine type is one of the major species for producing barrels.
But they are not only great for industrial purposes. Shortleaf pine makes a great addition to the landscape, especially for drier and less fertile spots.
In nature, you will find them growing in dry, sandy, and acidic soils, notably in rocky areas, wooded ravines, bluffs, and upland plains. Shortleaf pine is frequent in the forests of the southeastern United States, with WV being the northern limit.
This type of pine has a broad, open crown with short, spreading branches for a pyramidal crown. The trunks of larger trees have brown, broad, flat, and reddish plates.
Shortleaf pine needles are slender, flexible, and dark bluish-green needles. As the name suggests, the needles are on the shorter side (3 to 5 inches long). Needles appear in bundles of 2 or 3.
If you decide to plant shortleaf pine, plant them from late February to early March. This time frame is after the severe cold has passed and before competition from other vegetation.
Other Common Names: Arkansas soft pine, Old-Field Pine, Rosemary Pine, ShortstrawSouthern yellow pine, Shortstraw pine
Growing Zones: 6 – 8
Average Size at Maturity: 80 – 100 feet tall and 20 – 40 feet wide
6. Table Mountain Pine (Pinus pungens) – Native Pine
This pine tree is one of the smallest on the list. It has a limited natural range, the Appalachian Mountains from Pennsylvania down to northern Georgia.
You will find it growing in the dry, rocky slopes of WV’s Appalachian Mountains, especially at elevations of about 1,000 feet. But you can easily plant it throughout WV, especially in spots with dry, sandy, or rocky soils.
Table Mountain pine is slow growing with lots of limbs. The trunks are often crooked with irregular-shaped cross-sections. A unique feature of older trees is their flat tops. Young trees vary in form; some like large shrubs, and others are slender with small limbs.
Similar to shortleaf pine, the needles are short (1 to 4 inches long) and grow in bundles of 2 or 3. The needles are yellow-green to mid-green and are a bit thick.
Though Table Mountain pine does well in most soils, choosing a moist but well-drained spot is a good idea. With full sun, this pine will grow about a foot a year.
Other Common Names: Hickory pine, Prickly pine
Growing Zones: 5 – 7
Average Size at Maturity: 20 – 40 feet tall with a similar spread
7. White Pine (Pinus strobus) – Native Pine
White pine is a fast grower and popular pine for timber and landscaping. Left to its own devices, it will grow to be a large tree, but you can easily purine to a hedge shrub. White pine has a smooth gray bark that gets fissures with age.
Its needs are soft blue-green, reaching 5 inches in length. The soft and flexible needles grow in bundles of 5.
White pine is a pine that does not tolerate poor soil conditions. They need rich, moist, well-drained soil that is slightly acidic. Also, they need full sun to thrive. White pine will not require much attention if you give them these conditions.
Finally, avoid planting white pine near the roadside as they are not tolerant of pollution and road salt.
Other Common Names: Eastern white pine, Northern white pine, Weymouth pine, Soft pine
Growing Zones: 3 – 7
Average Size at Maturity: 50 – 80 feet tall with a spread of 20 – 40 feet
Pine trees are easy to grow in WV
Growing pine trees is easy, taking this task on should not intimidate you. In most cases, they are not fussy about soil and need full sun exposure.
You have many choices of pines to choose, this is because of West Virginia’s hardiness zones. Geographically, WV is the southern limit for types such as Table mountain pine and White pine. But on the other hand, the state is the northern limit for southern pines such as Shortleaf and Loblolly.
Larger and fast-growing types like Loblolly pine make excellent screens, and the sturdy Ponderosa pine is a beautiful windbreak. But if you want a pine tree for ornamental purposes to fit in a small to medium landscape, the neat growing Mugo pine is a good idea.
- 7 Types of Pine Trees That Grow in West Virginia
- 9 Trees Native to West Virginia Commonly Seen in the Wild
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- 16 Common Types of Trees in West Virginia (Grow or Admire)
Kenique grew up in Florida and currently lives in southern China. Before China, he spent many years in Portugal and the Caribbean. He studied economics and is a teacher, entrepreneur, and writer. Since he was knee-high, he has been gardening and was an active member of FFA (Future Farmers of America). He is his best self in a densely wooded forest or park. Depending on the day, you can find him reading, hiking, traveling, exercising, sipping lots of tea, or eating everything in sight.