Where do pine trees grow?

What Is A Sugar Pine Tree – Sugar Pine Tree Information

What is a sugar pine tree? Everyone knows about sugar maples, but sugar pine trees are less familiar. Yet, facts about sugar pine trees (Pinus lambertiana) make clear their status as important and noble trees. And sugar pine wood – even-grained and satin-textured – is considered as good at it gets in terms of quality and value. Read on for more sugar pine tree information.

Facts About Sugar Pine Trees

Sugar pines are the tallest and biggest of the pine tree clan, second only to the giant sequoia in sheer bulk. These pine trees can grow to 200 feet tall with a trunk diameter of 5 feet, and live past 500 years.

Sugar pines bear three-sided needles, about 2 inches long, in clusters of five. Each side of each needle is marked by a white line. The pine tree seedlings grow deep taproots at a young age. Their early growth is slow, but it becomes more rapid as the tree gets older.

Sugar pine trees support some shade when they are young, but become less shade tolerant as they age. Trees that grow in stands with taller specimens decline over time.

Wildlife appreciate sugar pines when the trees are young, and even larger mammals use dense stands of seedlings as cover. As the trees grow taller, birds and squirrels build nests in them, and tree cavities are occupied by woodpeckers and owls.

Lumbermen also prize the sugar pine tree. They admire its wood, which is light-weight but stable and workable. It is used for window and door frames, doors, molding and specialty products like piano keys.

Where Do Sugar Pine Grow?

If you hope to see a sugar pine, you may ask “Where do sugar pine grow?” Emblematic of the Sierra Nevada, sugar pines also grow in other parts of the West. Their range stretches from the Cascade Range in Oregon through the Klamath and Siskiyou Mountain and into Baja California.

You will generally find these mighty trees growing from 2,300 to 9,200 feet above sea level in forests of mixed conifers.

How to Identify Sugar Pine

If you are wondering how to identify sugar pine, it is not very difficult once you know what you are looking for.

You can readily identify sugar pine trees by their massive trunks and large, asymmetrical branches. The branches dip slightly from the weight of huge, woody cones. The cones grow up to 20 inches long, with straight, thick scales.

Good time to pine for a cone

  • Fall leaves and pinecone isolated on a white background, fall border Fall leaves and pinecone isolated on a white background, fall border Photo: Karen Roach

Photo: Karen Roach Image 1 of / 1



Image 1 of 1 Fall leaves and pinecone isolated on a white background, fall border Fall leaves and pinecone isolated on a white background, fall border Photo: Karen Roach Good time to pine for a cone 1 / 1 Back to Gallery

Look up, look down, and look all around because it appears to be another banner year for cones.:Pine cones, spruce cones, fir cones. When we talk “pine” cones, it includes them all and today that’s just what we are gabbing about … conifer, aka, “pine” cones.

Here’s a little review: A conifer is a plant that bears cones. Well, most conifers bear cones; nature has her exceptions, and for us they are junipers and yews which bear berry-like fruit. Conifers here in the great Northeast include pines, spruce, fir, hemlock, tamarack, juniper, yew, larch and arborvitae.

Worldwide, there are over 500 different species of conifers, with roughly 200 of them calling North America home. In addition to bearing cones ,two other telltale characteristics of a conifer are its needle-like, evergreen foliage, with, again, nature’s exceptions of the tamarack and larch in our area, which loose their needles in autumn.

Now on to the cool stuff, how a cone forms. A conifer is classified as monoecious, which simply means it has separate male and female flowers on the same plant. Both of these flowers develop on the plant in early spring, maturing to the point of being ready for fertilization around May.

The male flower provides the pollen. If we flip the calendar back to May, many of you will recall a yellow, powdery haze that coated your car, filtered through your screens and blanketed the water collected on top of your pool cover. That yellow powder was the pollen from the male flower.

It travels via the wind either to female flowers on the plant it resides on, or to a neighboring plant where it lands and undergoes fertilization. Depending on the conifer genus and sometimes even the species, the amount of time between fertilization and maturity into the actual “pine” cone we recognize can take anywhere from 6 to 24 months.

It’s the female flower that becomes the cone, and interestingly most of the female flowers are located near the top of the plant. Why, you ask? Well, because the pollen is so light it tends to be carried upward in the wind currents. With the female flowers being above, the opportunity for fertilization is greater. Should you be a doubting Thomas as to this phenomenon, take a gander outdoors and look up at a conifer.

Mature cones differ greatly in appearance between different genera and are a definite way to identify the conifer itself. For example, the cone of Pinus alba, aka the White Pine ,is far different looking than those of Tsuga canadensis, also known as the Hemlock.

What all female cones have in common is that they are made up two types of scales. The individual scales we see and consider to be the cone itself are formally called “bract” scales. They are the hard outer scales and are attached to the midrib that extends the length of the cone along the inside.

The second set of scales hold important cargo, the seed itself. These “seed” scales are found tucked safely on top of the bract scale. When the cone is fully mature and dried, the seed scales are ready to be released.

If you’ve ever noticed a cone lying on the ground, when wet it is closed up tightly and when dry its open. The same process occurs when the cone is matured and still attached to the branch; closed when wet weather is in town, open when dry. The purpose of this control mechanism is when the seeds are released they are able to disperse away from the parent, a technique that in the plant world helps to ensure survival. Rarely do you see many seedlings thriving around the base of the parent, due to shading, crowding and competition for nutrients and moisture. If the seed can travel, which it can if it’s a dry day via the wind current, its chances for survival in an opening of the forest is far greater than at its parent’s feet.

Other opportunities for dispersal involve small animals, such as squirrels and chipmunks, who by gnawing on the cones leave unattended seeds behind or deposit them along the forest floor after ingestion.

Fall is the perfect time to pick pine cones, especially after a good wind knocks them to the ground. However, beware if you visit the mountains along the California coast on a windy day: The Coulter Pine that lives there can produce pine cones that weigh up to 10 pounds, and the Sugar Pine whose hardiness zone extends northward along the Oregon coast, has cones that measure nearly 24 inches in length!

Should you decide to pick some cones and they are closed, place them on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake them at about 200 to 225 degrees until they open. Their uses are only confined to your imagination!

Nancy O’Donnell owns Perennial Graphics Nursery in Schaghticoke. Contact her by e-mail at [email protected] Gardener’s Notebook can be found at http://timesunion.com/life.

lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta)

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ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa)

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  • Needles: Occur in bundles of 3 (rarely 2); 5-10″ long; tufted near the ends of branches (needles are held only 2-3 years).

  • Fruit: Egg-shaped cone; 3-5″ long (much smaller than Jeffrey pine cones); each scale has a straight, stiff prickle that sticks out.

  • Bark: Flakes off in shapes like jigsaw puzzle pieces. Older trees have a distinct yellow or orange color (not red like Jeffrey pine).

  • Distribution: Occurs in the Pacific Coast mountain ranges, throughout the Rocky Mountains, and into northern Mexico. Grows from sea level to 9000 ft. (2800 m).

Jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi)

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  • Needles: Occur in bundles of 3 (rarely 2); 5-10″ long; often “bushy” along twig (often held 5-8 years on the tree).

  • Fruit: Large, woody cones; 5-12″ long (much larger than ponderosa pine cones); each scale has a curved (J-shaped) prickle that curves inward.

  • Bark: Flakes off in jigsaw puzzle-like pieces. Older bark is distinctly reddish-brown (not as orange as ponderosa pine).

  • Distribution: Occurs in mountainous regions of the West, from southern Oregon through the Sierra Nevada, and into Baja, California. Generally grows from 4800 to 9600 ft. (1500-3000 m).

knobcone pine (Pinus attenuata)

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  • Needles: Occur in bundles of 3; 3-7″ long; slender and twisted.

  • Fruit: Woody cones with swollen, knob-like bumps on one side; 3-6″ long; grow in dense clusters. Cones may remain closed on the tree for many years.

  • Bark: Dark and scaly.

  • Distribution: Found on dry, rocky slopes and ridges of the coastal mountain ranges; southern Oregon to Baja, California. Usually grow at 2600-4500 ft. (800-1350 m). Grows in fire-prone environments.

western white pine (Pinus monticola)

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  • Needles: Occur in bundles of 5; 2-4″ long; white lines on 2 sides of each 3-sided needle.

  • Fruit: Woody cones, 5-12″ long (smaller than sugar pine cones); slender and curved. Cone scales are thin and often curve up on the end.

  • Bark: Dark; broken into small squares or rectangles on older trees (smooth on young trees). Bark often “ringed” where a whorl of branches once grew.

  • Distribution: Occurs in southern British Columbia, the northwestern states, and the Sierra Nevada of California. In the northern portion of their range, the trees grow from sea level to 2500 ft. (750 m).

sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana)

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  • Needles: Occur in bundles of 5; 2-4″ long; white lines on all 3 surfaces of each 3-sided needle.

  • Fruit: Huge, woody cones, 10-20″ long (larger than western white pine cones) and straight. Cone scales are thick and straight.

  • Bark: Reddish-brown and furrowed; broken into long plates on older trees (narrow plates on young trees). No small blocky patches, and no rings where whorls of branches once grew (each distinguishes sugar from western white pine).

  • Distribution: Ranges from the mountains of southern Oregon to southern California, the Sierra Nevada, and into northern Baja, California. Occur from 2300 to 9200 ft. (750-3000 m).

limber pine (Pinus flexilis)

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  • Size: Usually under 50′ tall and 2′ in diameter. Often shrubby.

  • Needles: Occur in bundles of 5; 2-3″ long; white lines on all surfaces.

  • Fruit: Woody cones, 3-7″ long; thick cone scales with no prickles.

  • Bark: Grayish-brown with furrows and ridges.

  • Distribution: Distributed widely in the Rocky Mountains from Canada to northern New Mexico; found in northeast corner of Oregon. Usually found on dry, rocky ridges and peaks at 7700 to 11,500 ft. (2350-3600 m) elevation.

whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis)

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  • Size: Usually under 50′ tall and 2′ in diameter. Often distorted or shrub-like.

  • Needles: Occur in bundles of 5; 1-3″ long; faint, white lines on all surfaces.

  • Fruit: Small, woody cones, 2-3″ long; nearly round; thick cone scales with no prickles. Remain closed on tree even when mature; Seeds are unwinged and a rich source of food for animals.

  • Bark: Thin, scaly, and grayish throughout its life.

  • Distribution: Found in the high mountains of western Canada and the U.S. Grows at or near timberline from 7700 to 12,000 ft. (2350-3750 m) elevation.

For more information about these species, see “Trees to Know in Oregon”.

Plant Data Sheet

Pinus lambertiana Dougl., Sugar Pine

Range: West slope of the Cascade Range in north central Oregon to the Sierra San Pedro Martir in Baja California. Distinct populations also found in the Coast Ranges of southern Oregon and California, Transverse and Peninsula Ranges of southern California, and east of the Cascade and Sierra Nevada crests.

Climate, elevation: Cascade Range 1,100 to 5,400 ft

Sierra Nevada 2,000 to 7,500 ft

Transverse and 4,000 to 10,000 ft

Peninsula Ranges

Sierra San 7,065 to 9,100 ft

Pedro Martir

Local occurrence: No native populations exist in Washington state.

Habitat preferences: Relatively warm, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Summertime precipitation is less than 1 inch per month and relatively low humidity. Most precipitation occurs between November and April. As much as two-thirds of precipitation is in the form of snow at middle and upper elevations. Total precipitation ranges between 33 and 69 inches. Most soils are well-drained, moderately to rapidly permeable, and acidic. Grows best on south and west facing slopes.

Plant strategy types/successional stage: Rapidly grows a deep taproot to compensate for tissue intolerance to moisture stress. It is partially shade-tolerant and grows slowly when small until a gap in the canopy allows it to really take off. It is categorized primarily as an early-seral to seral species.

Associated species: In the northern part of its range, it is commonly associated with;

Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii),

ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa),

grand fir (Abies grandis),

incense-cedar (Calocedrus decurrens),

western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla),

western red cedar (Thuja plicata),

Port-Orford-cedar (Camaecyparis lawsoniana),

tanoak (Lithocarpus densiflorus),

Pacific madrone (Arbutus menziesii),

Greenleaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos patula),

deer brush (Ceanothus integerrimus),

snowbrush (C. velutinus),

mountain whitethorn (C. cordulatus),

salal (Gaultheria shallon),

coast rhododendron (Rhododendron californium),

gooseberries and currants in the genus Ribes.

May be collected as: (seed, layered, divisions, etc.)

Seed, cutting, graft

Collection restrictions or guidelines: Collect seeds in late summer.

Seed germination: Shows dormancy. Break dormancy with stratification for 60-90 days at 4 degrees Celsius or by removing seed coat and inner papery membrane surrounding the seed. Germination of fresh seed is uniformly rapid and high if adequately ripened, cleaned, and stratified. Only 20-25 percent of initial germinants may survive as long as 10 years.

Seed life: Maintains viability when stored frozen.

Recommended seed storage conditions: Deep freezing maintains viability. Storage above freezing temperatures is possible, but viability may decline rapidly.

Propagation recommendations: Seedlings must have an adequate tap root and capacity to regenerate vigorous new root systems in order to survive summer drought. Young trees can be rooted from cuttings. Other forms of plant material include bareroot, container, containerized seedlings, and grafts(donor of all ages). Sow seed in February or March.

Soil or medium requirements: Seeds germinate rapidly and grow a deep taproot when on bare mineral soil. Do not inoculate soil.

Installation form: Plant seedlings out into permanent positions when they are between 30-90 cm tall and protect them for a winter or two. When taking cuttings, take them from trees that are less than 10 years old and disbud them.

Recommended planting density: Minimum of 430 and maximum of 1200 per acre.

Care requirements after installed: Protect from first winter or two and exclude competition from weeds with clean mulch. Water in summer if showing signs of stress in the first few years.

Normal rate of growth or spread; lifespan: Slow early growth but accelerates in the pole stage or when there is a disturbance in the canopy cover. It tolerates shade better than ponderosa pine but slightly less than incense-cedar and Douglas-fir. It is a seral species, becoming less tolerant with age. If overtopped, it will eventually die. Seedling establishment and growth increases with less brush cover. Sugar pines live to be 400 to 500 years old.

Sources cited:

Dendro photos. Gymnosperms, Conifer Terms. 12 April, 2006.


Oregon State University. 12 April, 2006. <http://oregonstate.edu/trees/con/spp/pinespp.html>.

Pinus Lambertiana Dougl., Sugar Pine. 12 April 2006.


USDA Forest Service. ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS SPECIES: Pinus lambertiana. 12 April, 2006.


USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Conservation Plant Characteristics for: Pinus lambertiana Dougl. Sugar pine. PILA. 12 April 2006.


Data compiled by: Linda Arnoldi 12 April, 2006

Sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana) is one of the great conifers of the western United States, if not the world, in stature (the largest of the pine genus) and usefulness. Early botanist David Douglas named the sugar pine in 1827 to honor British pine expert Aylmer Bourke Lambert (1761-1842). Its common name refers to the sweet, resinous sap it exudes from bark wounds.

Sugar pines grow along the west slope of the Cascade Mountains from the north-central Cascades of Oregon, south through the Siskiyou, Klamath, and Sierra Nevada mountains, to an isolated population in the mountains of Baja California Norte, Mexico.

Sugar pine grows in dry-to-moist mixed conifer forests from 1,100 to 10,000 feet elevation, depending on latitude—lower to the north, higher to the south. Large, individual trees usually grow in isolation scattered about the landscape. Because wildfires are largely suppressed, these giants are weakened by competition from smaller trees normally consumed by low to moderate wildfire. They are then vulnerable to white pine blister rust and attack by the native mountain pine beetle.

Historically, sugar pine grew to enormous size as the largest species in its genus. The Oregon champion in Josephine County is 217 feet tall and almost 6.5 feet in diameter. The largest known sugar pine in the world (209 feet tall and nearly 11.5 feet in diameter) is near Dorrington, California. Trees may reach an age of 400 years. Not only are the trees the tallest of the pines, their cones are the longest and may reach a length of more than 20 inches. As David Douglas wrote, the cones looked “like sugar-loaves in a grocer’s shop” dangling from branch tips high above the ground.

Native Americans used the sugar pine’s large, nutritious seeds for food and its sweet sap as a treat. It was also used as a remedy to treat stomach gas, loosen the bowels, or—mixed with milk—as drops for sore eyes. The “nuts” (seeds) were used as beads in jewelry. The sugar alcohol, pinitol, the sweet in sugar pine, is under investigation for possible insulin sensitizing and muscle-building properties. Soybeans are the modern commercial source.

Early European settlers discovered the value of sugar pine as a timber tree—enormous volume and light, straight-grained, knotless, easily worked wood that has no taste or scent. Many of the uses to which they put sugar pine are considered wasteful, such as making hand-hewed shakes and shingles, leaving huge trees—half used—to rot where dropped, or dropping large trees end to end to make livestock corrals and other enclosures.

Huge logs, once felled, were moved by immense wheeled contraptions to trains or trucks for transport to mills. Sometimes the mill was brought to the tree. It is not uncommon to see a huge stump with a pile of large decaying branches some distance away, evidence that a sugar pine was felled and milled on the spot, with sawn lumber hauled away, boards at a time.

Modern uses take advantage of the wood’s virtues by making storage containers for fruits or pharmaceuticals, wide knotless boards, foundry patterns, and piano and organ keys.

Pinus lambertiana – Sugar Pine

Next Plant ” ” Previous Plant Availability Shippable Sizes These plants can ordered online and shipped directly to you or picked up at the nursery. Most of these plants are shipped bare root, read about shipping methods
We don’t have fall availability counts of the shippable sizes for this variety yet. We are still grading and counting plants in some areas of our nursery. Notify me when it’s back!FREE Shipping!
On Orders Of $75 Or More
Shippable Sizes These plants can ordered online and shipped directly to you or picked up at the nursery. Most of these plants are shipped bare root, read about shipping methods
We don’t have fall availability counts of the shippable sizes for this variety yet. We are still grading and counting plants in some areas of our nursery. Notify me when it’s back! #landscape #conifer #drought #westernnative #heat #height=100 #hardiness=1- #sun=3-5 #habit=upright #branch=medium #spread=clumping #end Average Height: 30-70 feet in landscapes, 200+ feet in the wild.
Hardiness: Zone 6-8
Aspect: Sun or light shade
Plant Spacing: 10+ ft apart, 5′ spacing for solid screen Deer Resistance: 5/5 – Very deer resistant!
Leaves: Evergreen, softer needles than most pines. Bundles of five. Shipping Restrictions: Can not ship to California, Montana, or Hawaii A note about our seedlings for fall 2018: they are three years old and at a transitional age between juvenile foliage and true needles. The juvenile foliage (which is made up of single needles rather than mature bundled needles) drop off at this age as the new growth is pushing out. This is normal for this age and trees quickly develop a thick crown the following year.

The sugar pine is one of our personal favorite pine species because of its beautiful soft foliage and even growth. Mature trees are decorated with massive pine cones that hang from slightly weeping branches and drop large, edible seeds. Because of the open and drooping branching pattern, Sugar Pines are easy to spot growing on hot and dry hillsides in their native range.
In the landscape, Sugar Pines are very useful because of their drought and heat tolerance as well as slower growth compared to other pine species, which can quickly overshadow all the other plants in your landscape. Even though their eventual size is massive, they are well suited to smaller landscapes and are one of the most popular bonsai trees. Most trees will grow about six inches to one foot per year in height and take well to shaping and pruning in any style garden.
Sugar Pines are members of the White Pine group, which all have needles in groups of five.
Coming Across Massive Sugar Pines in the Wild After backpacking for several days in the upper drainage of the Applegate, numerous massive Sugar Pine trees started appearing alongside the (almost non-existent) trail that towered over even the largest trees of other species in the forest. This fact was made even more impressive by the fact that the average tree throughout this forest seemed to be at least 100 feet tall – seeing Douglas-fir with diameters of 5-6 feet was actually quite common. But some of these sugar pines seemed to match the size of many large specimens of Coastal Redwood common throughout the coast of Northern California, the tallest of which are famous for being the tallest trees in the world.
These sugar pines must have been larger than at least half of the Coast Redwoods I had ever seen, and the lowest branches of these behemoths didn’t start until well above the forest of Chinquapin some 40 feet above the forest floor. Piles of composted pine needles that surrounded the tree appeared to be up to three feet deep, the result of hundreds and perhaps thousands of years of needle drop. The trees truly seemed ancient, slowly growing and persisting through countless floods, droughts, and landslides. Hiking through these valleys for several days, a pattern seemed to appear in where these massive trees would grow. They were always in flat plateaus near the bottom of individual valleys but up against steep hills or cliffs. The steep terrain of the area protected these trees from logging, and the ample snow runoff during the summer months protected them from the severe wildfires common here during drought years.
For the fifteen or so giant Sugar Pine trees that can be found along the trail, these conditions must aligned perfectly to allow the trees to thrive and make a beautiful forest far more so. And after seeing specimens far more impressive than could be put into words, I ordered hundreds of seedlings to grow on and share with others, as well as plant around the nursery.
Sugar pine cones developing in mid-summer. Source: Wikipedia.
Sugar pine cones developing in mid-summer. Source: Wikipedia.
Sugar pine cones growing on a tree. Source: Wikipedia.
Sugar Pine trees produce the world’s largest pine cone! Source: Wikipedia.
Typical pine seedling for 72 cell plug size (fall 2019 crop)
Potted Sugar Pine seedling.

Shippable Sizes These plants can ordered online and shipped directly to you or picked up at the nursery. Most of these plants are shipped bare root, read about shipping methods
We don’t have fall availability counts of the shippable sizes for this variety yet. We are still grading and counting plants in some areas of our nursery. Notify me when it’s back!

How Your Plants Are Packaged And Shipped

A bare root Sitka Spruce
A 2 gallon Sitka Spruce with all the soil washed away Bare root and washed root are very similar but in the nursery trade typically bare root plants are trees which are grown in the field and dug up in the winter with no soil attached. These plants are typically cheaper due to lower growing costs and are popular for large projects where a large number of plants are needed. When the are dug they lose any roots that grew away from the main root ball and typically these plants will grow a little slower in their first year as they focus on producing new roots before returning to fast top growth. Despite the longer establishment period, bare root plants benefit from the root pruning and will produce a superior long-term root structure than washed root plants. Certain plant species and varieties that are prone to poor root system development are only available bare root for this reason. Bare root plants have high success rates but are not tolerant of planting directly into windy areas, especially with evergreen species as the remaining roots will not be sufficient to withstand drying winds. If you are planting in high-wind areas you should consider ordering washed root plants.
Washed root plants are grown in containers like one or two gallon pots in a standard nursery setting and can ship much earlier in the fall because we don’t have to wait for deep winter dormancy before handling the plants. For shipping the plants are removed from their containers and the soil is gently washed off of the roots, preserving most of the small feeder roots. We make minor root pruning cuts to elimate clumps of circling roots from some plants but typically don’t remove more than about 5-10% of the fine roots, compared to bare root plants which typically lose around 60-70% of the fine feeder roots. Washed root plants are much quicker to establish and are suitable for planting directly in windy locations but because of the higher growing costs and shipping weight will be more expensive than field grown bare root plants. Some plant species that are especially prone to root circling are not grown in containers but only in the field.
For most plant species we choose the growing method that has the highest success rate for that plant’s root structure but some plants can be grown just as well either way so both forms can be listed for sale at once. Under the “availability” section for each plant variety any plants listed by container size (such as 1 gallon, 2 gallon, etc.) are washed root plants while plants listed by height (such as 20-30 inches tall) or any listing saying “field grown” are bare root plants.

Packaging Plants For Shipping

Most plants are shipped wrapped in newspaper, then moistened. Large bundles of plants can be shipped in a single long box. Some plants, usually bamboo, are shipped in their container while others have their roots washed of soil and wrapped in damp paper and plastic. Most plant varieties can be shipped year-round, but sometimes certain plant species or large sizes do best when shipped dormant. You can order these to reserve yours during the summer and then they will be shipped in November when they are ready to go.
Your plants are placed in tight fitting boxes and strapped to the box so they don’t move around and sustain damage. These are 3′ tall Coast Redwoods.


We prune both the tops and the roots of our plants at least once per year while they are growing in our nursery to ensure they develop a strong, dense form. Regular annual pruning goes a long way to ensure a healthy branching structure and this is often a missed step in many nurseries. Pruning a plant back hard after it has been neglected pruning-wise often results in an irregular branch habit or multiple leaders. However, with annual pruning this is not the case and so it is important to start pruning even in the first year of growth. We also prune the roots of our plants every winter which causes them to produce a much more branched structure and helps to elimate tangled masses that hinder future development. Plants that have been root pruned establish themselves much more quickly than root bound plants. Generally, hardwood plants will be pruned in the winter and conifers will be pruned in the summer. Pruning conifers is a little bit trickier because it must be done while the new candles are still young, otherwise it can take an extra year to form a new upright leader bud which slows the next year’s growth rate down.

Pruning For Shipping

Before shipping plants we prune the tops and roots one last time. Conifers will usually have very little top pruning except to balance long branches. Shrubs are usually pruned to around 1-2 feet tall to encourage low branch development and small to medium sized trees are usually pruned to around 36-40 inches. Pruning trees at this height encourages dominant branches to begin forming around 3 feet from the ground which typically looks the best in most situations. However, if you want a tree to have branching start higher (some city codes require trees to not branch below 4 feet) we have longer boxes available. To request taller trees please contact us at least three days before your ship date. Depending on your location and the shipping routes there may be a fee for oversize package handling (usually about $15 for a 60″ box).

Tall trees (Oaks, Ginkgo, large Maples, etc.) are pruned to 40″ to encourage crown development from about 36″ and up
Small and medium trees (short Maples, Redbuds, Stewartia, etc.) are pruned 10-20″ above the prune line from last year
Shrubs (Weigela, Hydrangea, Viburnum, etc.) are pruned to 18″ tall and root pruned one last time

Read More About How Your Plants Are Shipped

All Plants Are Guaranteed To Arrive In Good Condition

If you have any damaged plants please email us at [email protected] and specify which plants were damaged. Please keep all the packaging material in case it needs to be inspected by the shipping company.

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About Sugar Pine (Pinus lambertiana) 6 Nurseries Carry This Plant

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Pinus lambertiana (commonly known as the sugar pine or sugar cone pine) is the tallest and most massive pine tree, and has the longest cones of any conifer. It is native to the mountains of the Pacific coast of North America, from Oregon through California to Baja California. The sugar pine occurs in the mountains of Oregon and California in the western United States, and Baja California in northwestern Mexico; specifically the Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, Coast Ranges, and Sierra San Pedro Martir. The sugar pine is the largest species of pine, commonly growing to 40-60 meters (130-200 ft) tall, exceptionally up to 82 m (269 ft) tall, with a trunk diameter of 1. 5-2. 5 m (4. 9-8. 2 ft), exceptionally 3. 5 m (11 ft). Pinus lambertiana is a member of the white pine group, Pinus subgenus Strobus, and like all members of that group, the leaves (‘needles’) are in bundles (fascicles) of five, with a deciduous sheath. They are 6-11 cm (2. 4-4. 3 in)ch) long. Sugar pine is notable for having the longest cones of any conifer, mostly 25-50 cm (9. 8-19. 7 in) long, exceptionally up to 66 cm (26 in) long (although the cones of the Coulter pine are more massive). The seeds are 10-12 mm (0. 39-0. 47 in) long, with a 2-3 cm (0. 79-1. 18 in) long wing that aids wind dispersal. The seeds of the sugar pine are also a type of pine nut and are edible. Plant Description Plant Type Tree
Size 40 – 230 ft tall
Form Upright
Growth Rate Fast
Dormancy Winter Deciduous
Flower Color Brown
Flowering Season Spring
Wildlife Supported
Butterflies & moths hosted ( 2 confirmed , 90 likely * ) SHOW ALL Sequoia Pitch Moth Synanthedon sequoiaeSynanthedon sequoiae
Sugar Pine Tortrix Moth Choristoneura lambertianaChoristoneura lambertiana
* Pine White Neophasia menapiaNeophasia menapia
* Western Pine Elfin Callophrys eryphonCallophrys eryphon
* Polyphemus moth Antheraea polyphemusAntheraea polyphemus
* Brown-lined Looper Neoalcis californiariaNeoalcis californiaria
* Speckled Green Fruitworm Moth Orthosia hibisciOrthosia hibisci
Landscaping Information Sun Full Sun, Part Shade
Moisture Low
Ease of Care Moderately Easy
Soil Drainage Fast, Medium, Slow
Soil Description Prefers sandy or loamy soils. Does not grow well in clay soils.
Common uses Bank Stabilization, Bird Gardens
Maintenance Prune in winter when wood boring insects are less active.
Propagation For propagating by seed: 2-3 mos. stratification (USDA Forest Service 1974).
Sunset Zones 1, 2, 3, 4*, 5*, 6*, 7, 15*, 16, 17
Natural Setting Site Type Forests
Climate Annual Precipitation: 9.7″ – 155.6″, Summer Precipitation: 0.25″ – 5.84″, Coldest Month: 11.6″ – 54.1″, Hottest Month: 34.8″ – 79.3″, Humidity: 0.34″ – 25.81″, Elevation: 26″ – 13935″
Alternative Names Common Names: California Sugar Pine, Pino De Azúcar
Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the “About” section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from “Seed Propagation of Native California Plants” by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual “normals” at an 800 meter spatial resolution.
Links: Jepson eFlora Taxon Page CalPhotos Wikipedia Calflora

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