One of the hardiest trees that you can grow in our area is the jack pine. It is well established to northern climates and is one of the hardiest trees that you can plant – against everything. Whether it is an environmental hazard like pollution, rain, or drought or a human one – like your kids playing in the yard, it is a great option.
One big problem is that jack pines are quite difficult to find. Native to the Chicago area, many nurseries don’t handle it. You may have to go online or go through a nursery to order one. It is well worth your time, however. Let’s break down some of the reasons why it is a tree that you should consider:
They Are Perfect In Sunny Areas
- Need 10+ hours of sun each day
- Can survive in shade, but won’t thrive
- Plays nice with other plants
If you have a rather sunny yard, you may have trouble finding trees that will play nice with other plants while still thriving. The jack pine does just that – you can plant other flowers, shrubs, or even trees near it and it will be happy. When you put it in the sun, it will thrive.
According to Garden Guides, “Jack pine requires abundant sunlight in order to survive in garden conditions. Nearby trees that shade the pine place it at a disadvantage, and according to the U.S. Forest Service, acts to shorten the tree’s life span. Select a planting site that receives a minimum of eight to 10 hours of direct sunlight daily in all seasons.”
So if you have a sunny area where you can’t seem to find a tree to plant, you may want to look at the jack pine.
Help Animals Survive
- Provides a respite for endangered birds
- Can also provide food
- Jack pines are dwindling
One of the biggest reasons to plant the jack pine is to help animals find shelter. As more and more wooded areas are being cut down, some animals struggle to find a habitat. For nature lovers, it is a perfect balance of adding natural beauty to your yard and giving back to nature.
According to the USDA, one of the leading reasons to plant a jack pine in your yard is to provide a habitat for birds of all kinds, including the endangered Kirtland’s warbler. These small birds are getting forced out of their homes, making the endangerment ever more prolific. Other than these birds, many other kinds of birds like to use jack pines as homes. Other animals will as well, including white tailed deer, snowshoe hares, porcupines, squirrels, chipmunks, goldfinches, mice, and robins.
While all of these animals might not be what you want in your yard, you are helping the greater ecosystem by planting them. Be sure to plant them further away from your home if you are worried about mice getting into it.
They Are In Decline
- Modern fire fighting methods quelled their growth
- Few people are planting them
- Deforestation has killed off many
While we don’t think of modern firefighting techniques as a bad thing at all, there is no denying the fact that they have killed off the jack pine.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources explains: “Jack pine is a pioneer tree species that historically regenerated almost exclusively after forest fires. Fire regimes of varying intensity and frequency resulted in pine-dominated ecosystems ranging from open Pine Barrens to very dense jack pine stands. Still, today over three-quarters of all jack pine in Wisconsin is naturally occurring (i.e., not planted), a result of fire or scarification treatments and logging disturbance. However, with the advent of modern fire suppression practices, conditions for successful jack pine regeneration have been greatly diminished, resulting in a decline of the jack pine cover type. In the Northwest Sands, for example, the area of jack pine has decreased by 30% since pre-European settlement.”
As such, it is a good thing that we do not have forest fires nearly as often as we once did, but there is also a decline due to human interference in land. By encouraging people to plant these trees, there is a hope that we will see more of them moving forward. This starts by planting one tree at a time.
They Are Quite Beautiful
- Every season offers a new sight
- Still easy to blend into the rest of your yard
- Doesn’t require much work to be beautiful
Another reason many people will pick the jack pine is because it offers a lot of interesting features in a fairly conspicuous package – while it does look like a traditional conifer tree, there are some little touches here and there that will make it stand out. At the same time, the greenery means that it will blend in with just about everything else you have in your yard.
The Morton Arboretum lists “seasons of interest” which highlights when these trees will bring something extra to your yard. For the jack pine, they have Early winter, Mid winter, Late winter, Early spring, Mid spring, Late spring, Early summer, Mid summer, Late summer, Early fall, Mid fall, and Late fall listed – which is almost all of the seasons we see.
If you believe that you have a problem with your trees or in your yard, give us a call today at (269) 216-6811 and we can set up a time to visit you and your beautiful trees to see just what the problem is – and how we can help you. There is no job too big or too small – contact our professionals today!
Remember that planting trees is a delicate art and requires a practiced hand, as does caring for those trees. If you need help, always reach out to a professional.
Header photo courtesy of Loren Kernson Flickr!