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Tree Identification: Red Pine

Pinus resinosa, more commonly known as red pine or Norway pine, in some areas, is one of the most commonly known evergreens. It is easily recognized by the long pair of needles in fascicles of 2 and the reddish bark often forming smooth plates.

The cones are about 2’’ long with a light brown color fading to grey. Cones ripen around mid-September with the female cones often higher in the canopy and the male cones below those. They will stay in the canopy until the following spring or summer. It is also commonly seen planted in rows.

Red pine often has a thinning harvest two to three times before the final fell to maximize productivity. The first harvest is a row thinning in which harvesters cut every third row and thin lightly between the remaining rows. This opens the stand up enough for their equipment to fit down the rows and reduces competition for nutrients for the remaining trees. The second and third harvest thins the stand to allow for growth in the remaining stems before the final fell around age 60.

Red pine can live for considerably longer, given suitable conditions, but productivity has been shown to decrease. Red pine fibers are widely used in construction and for light poles.

– Meagan Backhaus, CF, Assistant Project Forester