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Author Topic: Drought and heat tolerance of white spruce and white pine  (Read 556 times)

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Offline saskatchewanman

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Drought and heat tolerance of white spruce and white pine
« on: July 02, 2019, 12:06:12 PM »
I am a bit of a tree geek and am thinking about converting some land containing poor quality aspen and pasture to conifers. The land is in central Saskatchewan. White spruce is native nearby but the location is marginal for white spruce with respect to moisture.

I've seen some reasonable specimens of eastern white pine (EWP) grown in yard situations and was thinking about trying a small planting with seedlings grown from NW Ontario or northern Minnesota seed sources. For those of you with experience in areas where the two species are present, which of two species is better adapted to drier, warmer sites?

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Re: Drought and heat tolerance of white spruce and white pine
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2019, 12:40:34 PM »
I can only talk about the white pine, and probably "western" white pine that is native here.  I have that, Ponderosa, Sugar and Incense Cedar.  With the long, sustained drought we had over the last 5 years, only the white pine was dying off (bugs).
John Sawicky

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Offline BradMarks

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Re: Drought and heat tolerance of white spruce and white pine
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2019, 02:25:37 PM »
ljohnsaw:  White Pine dying from beetles or Blister Rust?    Saskatch:  Pine would seem to me to be more drought tolerant. Only from my western US experience, I see Spruce (Engelman) in coastal regions and snowpack mountain areas, not what I call dry.

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Re: Drought and heat tolerance of white spruce and white pine
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2019, 02:41:48 PM »
I assumed it was bugs but I did see some big blisters full of sap on the thin bark way up top.  I smacked one with a branch and got sprayed with sap ::)  I just thought that was normal for them.  Never heard of that, will have to research.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Online btulloh

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Re: Drought and heat tolerance of white spruce and white pine
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2019, 03:03:01 PM »
Iíve got white pine growing in the piedmont of Virginia. Grows fine and doesnít mind dry weather.

If anything it grows too fast here. Needs to be managed because of the wide spread of the limbs. The wp that grows at my place is only good for paneling because of the lack of density. At 50-60 years old it needs to be harvested or it starts falling down in fairly mild wind. Just the way it works here in a warm climate.

Not the best yard tree because of limb spread. Good to a point but problematic when really big.
HM126

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Re: Drought and heat tolerance of white spruce and white pine
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2019, 03:10:49 PM »
I think those were just that, sap pockets. If you have dead needle clumps on the tree branches, if you can look close you will see "infection", possibly some white dry pitch. If the tree is in die off mode, almost always on the bole of the tree will be an area that has "collapsed" or "sucked in" (totally unprofessional description!). Look for currant bushes in your area - Ribes. They must be present if blister rust is present. Part of the carrier chain.

Offline saskatchewanman

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Re: Drought and heat tolerance of white spruce and white pine
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2019, 04:41:38 PM »
I forgot to mention that white pine is not native to this area. The area is in a transition zone between the boreal forest and warmer drier agricultural areas.

In general Saskatchewan landowners do not plant trees for forestry purposes. Although white spruce grows and reproduces, the area would not be considered suitable if climate gets even a little warmer and drier.

I have planted red pine and jack pine on another site that was formerly a sandy agricultural field. However this location is covered in aspen and willow and would need to be cleared first, something I don't want to do. It is currently excellent elk and moose habitat but I would like it  to evolve into something more valuable for my kids. I am too old to receive any economic benefit from my tree plantings.

I know pines in general are more drought tolerant than spruce but eastern white pine is a little bit different being able to reproduce (I have read not seen!) in a declining aspen overstory. I have land 200 miles farther south closer to the MT border and Ponderosa pine is by far and away the best adapted tree there. I guess a small scale limited test is the best action. Just interested in other's thoughts as I have no experience with white pine except for a half dozen yard trees.

Offline barbender

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Re: Drought and heat tolerance of white spruce and white pine
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2019, 05:07:44 PM »
I was going to suggest jack pine, but you're right, it is very shade intolerant.
Too many irons in the fire

Offline saskatchewanman

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Re: Drought and heat tolerance of white spruce and white pine
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2019, 06:37:03 PM »
I was going to suggest jack pine, but you're right, it is very shade intolerant.
Barbender, in your opinion which species does best on the drier Minnesota forest sites with respect to survival, growth and reproduction? I think I read something a while ago about white pine being favored on the drier aspen sites in a management plan for the White Earth Reservation which is probably what got me interested. White spruce in the area of my land is typically slow growing while the aspen are not commercial but not scrubby either, just diseased and of poor form. 

Offline Clark

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Re: Drought and heat tolerance of white spruce and white pine
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2019, 07:32:50 PM »
While I am sure you are familiar with the different species, letís start with some basics. In order of increasing shade tolerance, our native pine species rank like this:

Jack pine
Red pine
White pine

In their ability to tolerate dry sites the order is the reversed. With that said, it seems like white pine is only excluded from the driest of sites when there is no soil present. NE MN has lots of bedrock and on these bedrock knolls it is often jack pine forests but even a small pocket of soil can provide enough habitat for white pine. Consequently some very interesting trees grow up there...24Ē DBH white pine that is only 62í tall. Down the slope 100 yards the same diameter tree will be 90í tall.

In your situation I doubt white pine will do poorly but then again, one never knows until you try it.

If the site has sandy enough soils, mixing in some jack and red pine would not be bad. If the aspen are short and deformed I think the pine will overcome it in due time. Prepping the site would be key. Around these parts if you cut aspen at the end of June through the beginning of July it takes a serious hit on itís ability to regenerate.  Depending on the size of the aspen, cutting it right now (possibly spraying, too) and planting with containerized seedlings could give enough advantage to the pine. Some follow-up would undoubtedly be helpful, and yes white pine would do best under the shade, but it could work. I donít know your conditions well enough to implement that strategy but on our prairie edge I can see something like this working.

Clark
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Offline barbender

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Re: Drought and heat tolerance of white spruce and white pine
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2019, 11:45:18 PM »
I'd go with what Clark said😊 It seems to me that Jack pine outcompete everything else on the really dry, sandy sites.
Too many irons in the fire

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Re: Drought and heat tolerance of white spruce and white pine
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2019, 12:02:40 PM »
Thank you everyone for your replies.

Clark, the site is actually a fertile loamy soil. If it were not for issues with stoniness and potholes it would likely be a canola field now. Not really a jack pine or red pine site and would need to be cleared prior to planting those species.

White spruce would be the safest species to plant but as it is on the southern drier area of its range it may become marginal in a scenario of a warming and drying climate. White pine is not native anywhere near me or is it planted. Seed source would be critical. It is very difficult to source seedlings of any type in Saskatchewan. PRT in Dryden, ON sometimes has surplus white pine seedlings for sale.

Red pine is not native either but is now being planted to a limited degree on jack pine sites where the incidence of dwarf mistletoe is high. The plantings are apparently doing quite well.

As I said earlier I am a bit of a plant geek. Natural Resources Canada has a site where species where they run species adaption through a variety of climate change models and try to predict future ranges. Would also like to try a variety of hardwood species if I can source seeds or plants from the right locations. I like asking questions, unfortunately most of the answers will take a couple of decades to obtain! Private forestry in Saskatchewan is virtually non-existent, typically trees are "harvested" with a bulldozer on the way to becoming an agricultural field or pasture.

I am trialing a couple of seed sources of interior Douglas Fir at the moment as well. Too soon for any real info yet. Weather wise the last 3-4 years have been a bit wild. Even the old tried and tested species have been damaged. Very hard on newly planted seedlings but older trees are coping.

Thanks again everyone.


Offline OntarioAl

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Re: Drought and heat tolerance of white spruce and white pine
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2019, 04:18:02 PM »
Patterson Arboretum in Saskatoon
lots of information and species
Cheers
Al
Al Raman

Offline BaldBob

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Re: Drought and heat tolerance of white spruce and white pine
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2019, 04:13:12 AM »
I forgot to mention that white pine is not native to this area. The area is in a transition zone between the boreal forest and warmer drier agricultural areas.

In general Saskatchewan landowners do not plant trees for forestry purposes. Although white spruce grows and reproduces, the area would not be considered suitable if climate gets even a little warmer and drier.

I have planted red pine and jack pine on another site that was formerly a sandy agricultural field. However this location is covered in aspen and willow and would need to be cleared first, something I don't want to do. It is currently excellent elk and moose habitat but I would like it  to evolve into something more valuable for my kids. I am too old to receive any economic benefit from my tree plantings.

I know pines in general are more drought tolerant than spruce but eastern white pine is a little bit different being able to reproduce (I have read not seen!) in a declining aspen overstory. I have land 200 miles farther south closer to the MT border and Ponderosa pine is by far and away the best adapted tree there. I guess a small scale limited test is the best action. Just interested in other's thoughts as I have no experience with white pine except for a half dozen yard trees.
If there is not enough milling quality timber in your area to support a mill that is geared to producing siding and shop grade lumber coupled with the fact that few people in the area are planting trees for timber, any White Pine you plant will have little or no economic value for your kids no matter how well they grow or how good their quality.  They may however have significant aesthetic value as well as giving you a sense of accomplishment.
Just noticed that you say that particular area is excellent Moose and Elk habitat. For some reason antlered animals - Moose especially - love to use White Pine for rub trees.


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