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PlantFiles: Jack Pine
Pinus banksiana

Family: Pinaceae (py-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Pinus (PY-nus) (Info)
Species: banksiana (banks-ee-AH-nah) (Info)

2 vendors have this plant for sale.


30-40 ft. (9-12 m)
over 40 ft. (12 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

USDA Zone 2a: to -45.5 C (-50 F)
USDA Zone 2b: to -42.7 C (-45 F)
USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Provides winter interest

Soil pH requirements:
4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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2 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Rickwebb On Sep 19, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

This is an irregular scrubby pine tree that grows around the Great Lakes Region and in much of Canada. I've seen it the most in central Minnesota around Brainerd. It is fast growing and prefers acid, sandy soils, but I have seen a few planted in the Chicago, IL, area in barely acid, silty soils. It always has its curved pine cones present that open best after a forest fire. It is very similar to the Virginia Pine of the East Coast and South; the latter having longer needles. I really like pine trees, even the scrubby ones.

Neutral darylmitchell On Sep 26, 2005, darylmitchell from Saskatoon, SK (Zone 3a) wrote:

Jack pines make up a good portion of the boreal forest cover, often found with tamarack, aspen and paper birch. They establish in very dry, rocky soil that other trees can't grow in, and areas recently burned. It is the best adapted of all boreal conifers to fire.

Jack pines aren't considered attractive trees for landscaping. They have an irregular form, dead branches self-prune poorly and cones are retained for several years. They are also very intolerant of shade. Jack pines can be attacked by lodgepole pine dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium americanum), a parasitic plant.

Positive melody On Jan 27, 2005, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

This pine produces poor timber, but is useful, because it will grow in northern areas of dry, infertile soil that would otherwise support no tree growth.

The Jack Pine has very short needles, only 1" to 1 1/2" long. The 1 1/2" to 2 1/2" cones are usually curved or bulging on one side. They are thornless, or have very tiny prickles. Fires will cause the cones to open and release the seeds.

No other pine that grows so far North has such short needles or curved cones. A tree that has it's southern range in our northernmost states, it mainly grows across Canada.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Elk Grove, California
Warrenville, Illinois
Winter Harbor, Maine
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Crosslake, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Klamath Falls, Oregon
La Pine, Oregon

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