By Paul James
In my final installment of terrific trees, I’m gonna go out on a limb and focus on several not-so-well-known trees, all of which are white pines. But before I get started, let me just say that these trees aren’t for everybody. Nor are they right for all areas of Green Country. However, if you’ve got relatively rich, well-drained soil that’s slightly acidic – or you’re willing to create those conditions – then you owe it to yourself to consider them, because by any definition, they’re terrific.
Pinus strobus ‘ Louie’ is one of the most beautiful white pines I’ve ever seen. Its needles are soft and wispy, and its golden-yellow needles are drop-dead gorgeous, especially in the middle of winter. ‘Louie’ grows in a dense, pyramidal form, and only gets maybe ten-feet tall and half as wide. ‘Louie’ does best in morning sun followed by afternoon shade, but it will also grow well in areas that receive dappled light all day.
Another great choice is ‘Billow,’ a dwarf, globe-shaped white pine with long, blue-green needles. This baby only grows to about three-feet tall and wide – and slowly at that -- making it ideal for small gardens, courtyards, or even containers. Interestingly, although this is still considered a conifer, so far not a single plant has been known to produce cones. This is a relatively rare selection, and worthy of inclusion in any setting.
‘Angel Falls’ is a striking, weeping white pine with extremely long, blue-green needles and branches that cascade all the way to the ground. Growing to about ten-feet tall and only four-feet wide, this will make a statement in any landscape. Give this beauty at least a half day of sun or dappled light, and it’ll slowly but surely become one of your all-time favorite plants.
Pinus parviflora includes the Japanese white pines, and among the best for this area are ‘Blauer Engel’ (or if you prefer, ‘Blue Angel’), which grows to about six-feet tall and three-feet wide; ‘Glauca Brevifolia (ten-feet tall and wide); and the stunning ‘Fukuzumi,’ an irregularly shaped, shrub-like form of Japanese white pine with a wind-swept look and twisted, silvery-blue needles.
Yes, there are more choices out there, but for those of you who are looking for something a bit unusual, these are hard to beat. They’re also in short supply, so get ‘em while they last.