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Jack pine

A Kirtland's warbler with a grey back and yellow belly sits in a green pine tree

Jack pine

Jack pine tree description TreeNA post

About the jack pine tree

Jack pine (scrub pine) - Pinus banksiana

Identification: Jack pines can be identified by their needle arrangement and cones. Jack pine needles grow in bundles of two, at ¾-2 inches long. Their cones are tightly wrapped and slightly curved. Jack pine bark is thin and flaky on young trees, maturing into thicker plates as they age. Jack pines are small to medium trees that grow in an irregular shape as they mature, and can appear scruffy-looking. It is known as a fire species because the trees rely on wildfire or prescribed burns to open their resinous, tightly closed cones to release seeds. 

Height: 35-50 feet 

Preferences: Full sun. Hardiness zones 2-7. Jack pines are drought-tolerant and prefer dry, acidic environments.

Wildlife value: Jack pines are essential nesting and nursery habitat for the rare Kirtland’s warbler, a small songbird also known as the jack pine warbler that only lives in northern lower Michigan. Forest managers have helped the warbler recover by managing jack pine barrens. The Kirtland’s warbler population has recovered enough to be removed from the endangered species list.

Uses: The long wood fibers of jack pine are ideal for manufacturing paper. It is also used for pulpwood, telephone poles, fence posts and construction uses.