Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pitch Pine Trees

Pitch Pine trees grow on some of our mountain tops here in Pa. 

They like to grow here on the sandy table lands of the Allegheny plateau.
Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida) is a rugged looking tree - fitting for the area. 
Pitch Pine - Pinus rigida
   When I see the large, old Pitch Pines in this particular area, I like to think they sprouted after the forest fire that burned here in 1902.  The tree is fire-adapted. Seedlings are quick to colonize a burned over area.  The tree can survive a fire rather well because of its fire-resistant bark.  If the crown is damaged in a forest fire, it can sprout new growth from its trunk.
Here is a photo looking up the trunk into the crown of a Pitch Pine.  
Here is a picture of Pitch Pine bark. 
Pitch Pine bark
 Pitch Pine is a three-needled pine. The needles are about the same length as White Pine's needles.
Pitch Pine cones can remain on the tree for several years.  Some of them may be serotinous cones - remaining closed on the tree and opening after a forest fire.
Pitch Pine tree
   Pitch Pine wood is somewhat rot resistant because of its resinous properties.  As I posted about last time, even some Pitch Pine stumps are still with us from the logging are of the late 1800's.
   The Pitch Pine's wood makes nice yellow pine lumber, although much of it is knottier than Southern Heart Pine.  Pitch Pine is one of the hard pines, or yellow pines, so the wood is fairly heavy and strong.  Many of the trees were cut for prop timber.  Some trees were used for ship-building.  Many old buildings contain Pitch pine lumber, even old Pennsylvania bank barns...see the reclaimed yellow pine paneling pictures below. 
Reclaimed yellow pine lumber
This reclaimed yellow pine paneling which I used on our living room walls was resawn from timbers
salvaged from old Pennsylvania bank barns.  The wood makes beautiful flooring as well.
Good wood.
This antique lumber has character, just like a Cadillac with tail fins. 
Pitch Pine trees have character also.
When I think of Pitch Pine...
I see these craggy old trees scattered on the mountain tops...
I hear the sound the wind makes in their branches...
I smell pine pitch...
If Pitch Pine were as plentiful as Rock Oak, perhaps I wouldn't notice them.


  1. I love the first photo Dana. What a lovely portrait. OK. Time to teach Sybil more about trees. Waiting eagerly for my next lesson.

    1. Sybil,
      Thanks. We like the picture also. I'll shoot for some cool tree posts in the near future...I need to get a few more pictures first.