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University of Minnesota Extension

Managing eastern white pine forests

Quick facts

  • White pine is most common on well-drained, sandy soils. The worst soils for white pine are clay or poorly drained.
  • Rotations may be as long as 120 years for white pine, but 80 years is usually enough to produce sawlogs on good sites.
  • Regenerating white pine under an existing canopy is often a good idea.
  • Do not plant white pine in high-hazard zones for blister rust.
  • Use bud caps to prevent deer from eating the buds of young white pine.
White pine stand after thinning

Eastern white pine is mainly used for lumber.

Unlike red pine, white pine tends to have a better-developed tall shrub (less than 10 feet) and herb layers (less than 3 feet), except in pure, dense stands. This provides wildlife habitat.

While wildlife may use young, dense stands for shelter during bad weather, they receive virtually no food benefit from older white pine stands. Deer and rabbits feed heavily on white pine seedlings.

Growing conditions


Regenerating white pine

White pine naturally reproduces from seed. Seeds will disperse at least 200 feet within a pine stand and more than 700 feet in the open.

Seedlings grow best under partial shade. Seedlings require at least 20 percent of full sunlight to survive. If there is full sunlight, they may die from high soil surface temperature.


Intermediate treatments


Pest management


Reviewed in 2018

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