Also known as black pine, the stately lodgepole pine tree adds rich texture and fragrance to your landscape. Imagine viewing the sunset through an evergreen canopy, accentuated by handsome, pin-straight trunks. Lodgepole pines are maintenance-free trees that add a picture-perfect backdrop to your landscape. Keep reading to learn how to plant and care for these magnificent trees.
What is the Lodgepole Pine Tree?
Remarkably tolerant of many environmental conditions, the outdoor lodgepole pine tree (pinus contorta) is a predominantly western, North American native. Lightweight, straight-grained wood is harvested for lumber used for plywood, paneling, framing material, and pole material. Historically, lodgepole pine had numerous edible and medicinal purposes for the Native Americans, including sugar-rich bark, needle tea, and pitch concocted to ease pain.
Lodgepole pine trees are tall and slender, with finely textured orangish-grayish bark and a high, rounded canopy. Needles emerge in pairs, up to 2-inches long. Cylindrical to oblong cones with sharp outer scales develop on trees aged 5 to 10 years or older. Lodgepole pines have a long life expectancy (over 30-years) and grow between 70 and 90 feet tall with a trunk diameter of 15-feet to 20-feet. Use in your landscape to create a distant vista, windbreak, or to line a prominent driveway.
How to Grow Lodgepole Pine?
Growing at a moderate rate, approximately 2-feet per year, the lodgepole pine requires little attention once established in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 4 - 8. Locate these conifers in full sun to partial shade. Lodgepole pines are not fussy about soil type, preferring moist conditions. They are tolerant of either drier or water-logged soils.
Planting Lodgepole Pine
While you can propagate conifers from seeds and cuttings, we recommend planting saplings to grow lodgepole pine trees successfully. Plant saplings during late-autumn (end-August until mid-October) so that young trees can take root prior to the winter season.
Step-by-Step Planting by Sapling
- Dig a hole at least twice as wide as the sapling’s roots, but not any deeper than the roots are long.
- Gently place the sapling into the hole by lifting from the roots, and leave any burlap intact if the roots are wrapped.
- Fill in the hole with permeable soil to cover the roots; gently compacted. Water the roots deeply.
After planing the sapling, water the young lodgepole pine daily for six to twelve weeks while the tree acclimates to the location. You might want to protect the tree with a tree shield or a grow tube. If your sapling needs extra support, stake the tree to help the trunk stay strong.
Once the tree is established, you need not worry about any maintenance for this hardy conifer.
Lodgepole Pine Photo Gallery
Conifers can be an upstanding masterpiece in an outdoor landscape, and when brought inside can decorate your home with fragrant warmth. Check out our photo gallery highlighting the lodgepole pine.
1. Majestic Focal Point
A dignified tree, the lodgepole pine rises above the landscape as an exceptional focal point. Here we see an unwavering trunk displaying multicolored bark to coordinate seamlessly with the surrounding scene.
2. Eye-catching Foliage
A dwarf variety of lodgepole pine, Chief Joseph, boldly displays golden foliage during winter months. This 4-foot tall variety can provide the benefits of a conifer, added to limited spaces of rock gardens, and smaller perimeters as a lovely accent piece.
3. Taming the Wild
Lodgepole pines are excellent candidates for bonsai because they can be compressed and sculpted into a healthy, lively work of art.
4. Hardy & Happy
No-fuss lodgepole pines practically care for themselves to slowly mature into happy, evergreen trees in a variety of climates. Here, a lodgepole pine thrives amidst an open landscape.
5. Steadfast Solution
Lodgepole pine is an excellent solution for creating a natural windbreak to protect your open landscape. Here, trees stand steadfastly to mitigate the weather.
6. Spring Emerges
Emerging cones amidst the spiny needles of a lodgepole pine add color and texture to this maturing evergreen. Look for cones on trees that are 5-years or older.
7. Into the Light
Lodgepole pines prefer full sun, especially during winter months, when their evergreen needles are hard at work photosynthesizing to stay brilliantly green. Here, rows of lodgepole pines create a stunning vista.
8. Winter Wonderland
Admire the beautiful contrast between winter’s pure white snow and the lodgepole pine’s dark green needles. Lodgepole pines throughout a vast landscape can keep you protected from the wind while enjoying the great outdoors.
9. Protected Pathways
Line the walkways with distinctive lodgepole pines for a clear view of the route, and stay protected from the elements while homeward bound. Here we see conifers sheltering the path.
10. Towering Beauties
In the wild, lodgepole pines grow to enormous heights upwards of 90-feet tall. Here we see rounded canopies reaching toward the sky.
11. Holiday Decor
Conifers have long been known to deck the halls during the holiday season. Here we see a lodgepole pine coordinating with conifer wreaths for a warm appeal.
12. Accentuate Natural Elements
This young lodgepole pine accentuates the distant, natural landscape of mature conifer trees in the background. Here, you are reminded that you are not too far removed from the wilderness.
13. Admirable Vista
Enjoy an undisturbed view while cozy inside, with lodgepole pines highlighting the bright winter scene. Here, we see a lush conifer landscape.
14. Beautiful Functionality
Lodgepole pine cones can hang on the tree for several years. Seemingly ornamental, cones protect immature seeds behind spiny, brunette scales until mature enough to drop from the tree.
15. Refreshing Decor
Freshly cut lodgepole pine branches add fragrance to your home’s interior decor. Here, we see a seasonally decorated banister using conifer garland.
Where to Buy Lodgepole Pine Trees?
If you don’t have a tree nursery in your backyard, not to worry! We’ve done the legwork for you to begin your online search to purchase a lodgepole pine tree. Several, reputable tree farms will ship directly to your home just in time for seasonal planting.
Purchase your lodgepole pine at one of America’s largest online nurseries, and you will receive a healthy, hardy tree sapling at your front door.
Boasting a vast selection of trees, including the lodgepole pine, Monrovia will ship your sapling to a local participating garden center for convenient pick-up.
Arbor Day Foundation
When you shop online from the Arbor Day Foundation’s tree nursery, your purchase goes toward a good cause, for tree recovery and community education about the importance of trees in our environment.
This one-stop-shop does not have lodgepole pines, but Amazon does have all the necessities you’ll need to get started with planting a young sapling.
Easily transport and transplant saplings wrapped in nursery grow bags. Biodegradable fabric can stay in place when you plant your sapling into the ground.
Mesh tree protectors will protect young trunks while remaining resistant to mildew and insect infestation. Protect trees from lawn-mowing equipment and hungry backyard animals.
Give young trees a head start with a healthy dose of nutrients. Jobe’s spikes last all season after a one-time, no-mess application of fertilizer.
Now that you know about the lodgepole pine tree, you are probably wondering what other conifers you can incorporate into a diverse landscape. Check out our blog for even more landscaping ideas: