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Trees of Nova Scotia (Part 1)

White Pine (Soft Wood)

This tallest and most stately of eastern softwoods has been prized in Nova Scotia since long before Halifax was founded. After the first sawmilling rig was set up near Riverport in Lunenburg County around 1632, white pine was eagerly sought and cut first for home construction, and later for shipbuilding and export.

This native of the Appalachian and Great Lakes regions is found throughout Nova Scotia,but is most common in the western half. Formerly its best development was on sandy or gravelly soils in Shelburne, Cumberland and North Colchester Counties, and in Annapolis Valley.

It grows in pure stand or mixed with red spruce, hemlock, yellow birch and sugar maple. Although white pine grows largest in such mixtures , up to 1.2 m (4 feet) across and 30 m (100 feet) tall, it is found also on bogs with black spruce and tamarack, and on dry sandy ridges with jack and red pine, probably as a result of forest fires.

White-tailed deer eat the needles and twigs, and red squirrels and crossbills extract the large seeds from the pine cones.

Elements of The White Pine

Needles: On older twigs the needles are in bundles of 5 (think of W-H-I-T-E), and grow singly on new shoots. The needles can grow as long as 3 to 5 inches long and are slender, soft and with a blue-green color

Cones: The cones tend to be longer than of other native pines and are cigar shaped when closed. The scales are thin bearing two 1/4" winged brown seeds that ripen in September.

Bark: On young trees their bark tends to be smooth, dark green or brown-tinged and somewhat fir-like but without resin blisters.

Wood: Highly prized for interior finish. Straight-grained, even-textured, durable, light weight; taking nails, planing and painting very well. The sap of the tree has a creamy white texture and look, with the heartwood being a pinkish color with a distinctly fragrant.


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