Weeping White Pine Tree Profile

Weeping White Pine Tree Profile

Weeping White Pine (Pinus strobus 'pendula') in a public garden

Photo by David J. Stang / Wikimedia commons / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International 

 

Weeping white pine tree (Pinus strobus 'pendula'), a drooping variety of the eastern white pine, won't be to everyone's taste. This tree has a unique, twisting form, draping pine branches, and attractive blue-green needles. It's compact, slow-growing and irregular shape means it can be an interesting specimen tree positioned in the middle of a garden lawn.

It does need to be trained to form a central trunk; otherwise, it won't have such an upright, pleasing weeping formation. Instead, it'll develop a rather untidy, sprawling, shrub-like appearance. No two specimens will look the same - no matter how much pruning and trimming you do.

As the plant matures, the twisting, pendulous branches can reach the ground and begin to act as a creeping ground cover. Weeping white pines also needs the right conditions to thrive - so they aren't necessarily trees for beginners.

Botanical Name Pinus strobus 'pendula'
Common Name Weeping White Pine, Weeping Eastern White Pine
Plant Type Evergreen pine tree
Mature Size Up to 15 feet
Sun Exposure Full sun/partial shade
Soil Type Preference for sandy, loamy, well-drained
Soil pH Preference for acidic but tolerates a variety
Bloom Time n/a
Flower Color n/a
Hardiness Zones 3 to 8
Native Area North America

How to Grow Weeping White Pine Trees

Your weeping white pine will perform best located in a sunny position and planted in moist, fertile, well-drained and acidic soil.

This species has a preference for cool climates, and it isn't a good choice for a city garden. Too much urban pollution can result in the tree producing fewer branches and shorter, less healthy, even yellowing needles.

Light

While your weeping white pine is growing, it'll cope fine in a partial shade position, but once it's established, it prefers to get plenty of sun.

Soil

These trees will grow in most soil types providing they are moist, fertile and well-drained. They do, however, have a preference for acidic soils and aren't fans of heavy, compacted clay.

Mulching around the base of the tree can help to preserve moisture, keep the roots cool, and will also reduce the alkalinity of the soil. If the soil has a high pH level, this can result in needle chlorosis (the foliage can turn yellow because of a lack of chlorophyll).

Using some of the dropped needles can be a perfect mulching material.

Water

Weeping white pines like to be kept consistently moist. If you live in an area that experiences periods of drought, they'll need frequent watering. They won't tolerate standing water either, though. This can cause root rot and chlorosis.

Temperature and Humidity

If you live in a very hot and dry region, this tree won't be right for your garden. They're not a drought-tolerant species and do best in cooler climates. They can't cope with salty conditions either. They won't be suited to coastal gardens or locations downhill from heavily winter gritted roads. If you have cold conditions through the winter, you may find that the needles don't retain their blue tones over this period.

Fertilizer

Your weeping white pine will appreciate being fertilized in the spring with a variety that is highly acidic and designed for evergreen species.

Pruning

If you want to avoid your weeping white pine developing a sprawling, low, untidy shape, you'll need to train it from a young age. You want to encourage it to have a single, tapered, tall central leader. It can take a few years of careful, structural pruning while the tree is young to achieve the desired form.

Commons Pests/Diseases

Weeping white pine is susceptible to several diseases and pests. They can be attractive to certain aphids, bark beetles, spruce mites and pine weevils.

Their biggest problems tend to be forms of rust and blight. White pine blister rust on the bark is the most serious disease, and it can kill off your tree.

This fungus causes the needles on the branches to turn yellow and then a rust-like red. Cankers then start to develop on the branches which can ooze white sap. Orange spores are also sometimes released from these cankers in the spring. Infected branches should be removed to try to limit the spread.