Jack Pine - Pinus Banksiana

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15 year old Jack Pine

15 year old Jack Pine

The Jack pine is a fast growing (2ft + per year) evergreen that has a medium color needle that is 1-2 inches long. It can hold its needles for several years or can shed needles that grew last year; every tree seems to be different. The pine cones on this species are quite unique as they can hang on the branches for up to 10 years unopened as seen in the photo. In nature when a fire would go threw an area these would open at that time, and the burned over area would sprout up the new Jack pine seedlings. It does not hold its bottom branch well unless grown by itself in the open. It is native to the northern US and Canada.

The Jack pine will grow 50 ft tall and 15 ft wide but rarely has a central leader, except when young. It is not wind firm due to its small root system and weak wood. Heavy snow and ice can wreck the branches of this tree. Deer will eat this species along with other pine species.

Jack Pine, seed cones and needles

Jack Pine, seed cones and needles

The Jack Pine will grow in hardiness zones from 2-6 and have seen them growing on all kinds of soil. The main advantage of this species is its ability to grow well in the poorest of soils and should be considered if your soils are very poor.

This tree does not seem to care of the soil PH or soil condition and seems to have no real disease problems. It has a short life for use in windbreaks.

A 2 Ft potted trees can be 9 ft tall in 5 years in good soil, with adequate moisture and grass and weed control around and under the tree. Spacing--single row 10ft apart, double row 14ft between rows and plants, Multiple rows 16 ft between rows and plants.

In most areas I do not recommend planting the Jack Pine, as there are many superior species for windbreaks. If putting in a multiple row windbreak or shelterbelt they can be useful. If you have a very poor or sandy soil it would be a recommended species.


Kelly Tree Farm, 191 Quincy Ave. Clarence IA 52216 - PH: 563-452-4300 - ktf@netins.net