Pine Trees: Where Do They Grow?

Where Do Pine Trees Grow

Pine trees are a favorite landscaping plant because they give backyards and homes a peaceful, fresh ambiance. Also, their needles and cones give off a fresh, clean scent while improving air quality. 

In this article, we’ll tell you where pine trees can grow and what type of pine tree to plant in each habitat. So, keep reading to know where to plant a pine tree in your backyard. 

Where do pine trees grow?

Where do pine trees grow
Image: Earth Observatory

Pine trees are primarily found in the mountains, forests, coastal areas and deserts of the Northern Hemisphere, where they thrive in temperate regions. They are widespread in North America, China, Europe, Russia and North Africa. 

However, because of human intervention, some pine varieties have been developed and can now survive in the Southern Hemisphere or extremely hot climates. 

Why do pine needles help with the cold?

Why do pine needles help with the cold
Image: Treevitalize

Pine trees need help in adapting to cold environments due to water loss. Their needles have a small surface area, leading to faster water loss than other types of leaves.

Although pine trees have developed needles to help them thrive in cold, dry climates, they usually have difficulty absorbing water since most of the surrounding water is frozen in their habitat in the Northern Hemisphere. 

On the brighter side, the pine needles have a waxy coating to reduce water evaporation. The tree also has a deep and extensive root system, which allows the plant to reach for more water from the soil. 

How do you describe pine trees?

How do you describe pine trees
Image: The Swans Ebay

Pine trees are coniferous trees commonly found in cold, temperate regions. They produce cones and needle-like evergreen leaves, can grow beyond 200 feet, and live for over 1,000 years.

Pine trees are widely cultivated for commercial purposes, with their thick bark being a significant source of timber in the world. 

On the other hand, the pine tree’s evergreen feature adds to its landscaping value as it keeps those waxy needle-like leaves all year round. Its thick bark also helps protect itself from the cold and during forest fires. 

Pine trees are also versatile species as some grow to be large trees while others can be maintained as garden shrubs. It also has an iconic cone shape, which we easily recognize for Christmas trees.

Where are pine trees found in the US?

Where are pine trees found in the US
Image: National Park Service

Pine trees are found in all 50 states of the United States. They are common in rocky and Appalachian mountains and deserts, especially in the Pacific Northwest, Great Lakes, Great Plains, and Rockies.

There are 49 species of pine trees that are native to the mountain ranges of North America, and some of them are the following:

Common NameScientific Name
Loblolly pinePinus taeda
Pond pinePinus serotina
Coulter pinePinus coulteri
Limber pinePinus flexilis
Sugar pinePinus lambertiana
Bishop pinePinus muricata
Torrey pinePinus torreyana
Caribbean pinePinus caribaea
Herrera’s pinePinus herrerae
Patula pinePinus patula
Pringle’s pinePinus pringlei
Tropical pinePinus tropicalis
Egg-cone pinePinus oocarpa
Lawson’s pinePinus thunbergii
Durango pinePinus durangensis
Cooper’s pinePinus cooperi
Texas pinyonPinus cembroides
Monterey pinePinus radiata
Foxtail pinePinus balfouriana
Spruce pinePinus glabra
Red pinePinus resinosa

Types of Pine Trees and Their Habitat

We’ve listed the most common types of pine trees and their habitat. Read on to know where they usually grow and their best features.

1. Pinyon Pine Trees

Pinyon Pine Trees
Image: Dave’s Garden
Scientific namePinus edulis
Common namesPinyon pine, nut pine
FamilyPinaceae
Country or region of originSouthwestern United States
Growing location or countriesSouthwestern United States, Mexico
Height30-50 ft (9-15 m)
SoilWell-drained, sandy or loamy soil
LightFull sun
Growth rateSlow
MaintenanceLow

Pinyon pine trees are famous for their edible nuts, which humans and wildlife love. It’s used to make pine nut oil, which is widely used in culinary and medicine. 

Pinyon trees are indigenous to the southwestern United States and Mexico’s mountains, foothills and deserts. They are medium-sized trees, typically growing between 30 to 50 feet tall. 

They grow best in well-drained, sandy, loamy soil and tolerate drought and cold winters. These trees grow best in the southwestern United States, such as in Utah, New Mexico and Arizona, where they have hot, dry summers and mild winter seasons.

2. Sugar Pine Trees

Sugar Pine Trees
Image: UConn Today
Scientific namePinus lambertiana
Common namesSugar pine
FamilyPinaceae
Country or region of originWestern United States
Growing location or countriesWestern United States
Height150-250 ft (46-76 m)
SoilWell-drained, sandy or loamy soil
LightFull sun
Growth rateSlow
MaintenanceHigh

Sugar pine trees produce large, edible cones that weigh up to 5 pounds. They’re a favorite wildlife snack, while its seeds are extracted for pine nut oil. 

Sugar pines are native to the mountains, foothills and forests of the Western United States. They are the tallest pine trees in North America, reaching up to 250 feet high. 

They grow best in the western United States, such as in Oregon, Nevada or California, where they have cool summers and mild winters. They also prefer rich, well-drained soil.

3. Aleppo Pine Trees

Aleppo Pine Trees
Image: The Spruce
Scientific namePinus halepensis
Common namesAleppo pine
FamilyPinaceae
Country or region of originMediterranean region
Growing location or countriesMediterranean region, Middle East, China
Height50-80 ft (15-24 m)
SoilWell-drained, sandy or loamy soil
LightFull sun
Growth rateModerate
MaintenanceLow

Aleppo pine trees are famous for their fragrant needles that are extracted to make essential oils. They are also tolerant of drought and salty or acidic soil. 

These pine trees were first found in the Mediterranean region, such as Morocco and Turkey. Later on, they were introduced to Australia, Mexico and China.

They grow between 50 to 80 feet tall with a long, straight trunk and an irregular crown. It cones, on the other hand, take 2 to 3 years to mature fully. 

Aleppo pine trees are best grown in the Mediterranean region because it prefers hot and dry climate. You can also plant them in coastal areas since they are salt-tolerant.

4. Austrian Pine Trees

Austrian Pine Trees
Image: Signals AZ
Scientific namePinus nigra
Common namesAustrian pine
FamilyPinaceae
Country or region of originCentral and Eastern Europe
Growing location or countriesCentral and Eastern Europe, China, Canada
Height60-100 ft (18-30 m)
SoilWell-drained, sandy or loamy soil
LightFull sun
Growth rateModerate
MaintenanceLow

We know Austrian pines as our Christmas trees but they’re so much more than that. They’re also known for being cold and wind-resistant, making them a good choice for windbreaks. 

Austrian pines are native to Central and Eastern Europe, particularly Austria and Russia. Later on, they were naturalized in China, the United States and Canada. 

The wood of this pine tree is commonly used in making flooring and furniture, while its bark is used in tanning leather. 

Austrian pine trees grow best in Central and Eastern Europe, China and Canada, with cool and temperate climates. They also generally prefer well-drained soil but can tolerate almost all soil conditions.

5. Bristlecone Pine Trees

Bristlecone Pine Trees
Image: Wikipedia
Scientific namePinus longaeva
Common namesBristlecone pine
FamilyPinaceae
Country or region of originSouthwestern United States
Growing location or countriesSouthwestern United States
Height200-300 ft (61-91 m)
SoilWell-drained, sandy or loamy soil
LightFull sun
Growth rateSlow
MaintenanceLow

Bristlecone pines are one of the oldest living trees on Earth where some live for over 5,000 years old. They’re indigenous to the Great Basin of Nevada and the White Mountains of California. 

Bristlecone trees usually grow between 20 to 60 feet tall and have a twisted trunk with a sparse, conical crown. They grow best in high-altitude environments and can tolerate both hot summers and cold winters. 

6. Canary Island Pine Trees

Canary Island Pine Trees
Image: The Spruce
Scientific namePinus canariensis
Common namesCanary Island pine
FamilyPinaceae
Country or region of originCanary Islands
Growing location or countriesCanary Islands
Height100-150 ft (30-46 m)
SoilWell-drained, sandy or loamy soil
LightFull sun
Growth rateModerate
MaintenanceLow

Canary Island pine trees are easily identifiable for their long, drooping needles. As its name suggests, this type of pine tree is native to the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa. 

These pine trees grow between 70 to 80 feet tall with a long, straight trunk and a conical crown. They’re a popular ornamental tree and useful in reforestation activities. 

They grow best in warm, dry climates, even in coastal areas, since it’s wind and salt-tolerant. 

7. Chir Pine Trees

Chir Pine Trees
Image: Wikipedia
Scientific namePinus bungeana
Common namesChir pine
FamilyPinaceae
Country or region of originChina
Growing location or countriesChina, Japan, Korea
Height60-100 ft (18-30 m)
SoilWell-drained, sandy or loamy soil
LightFull sun
Growth rateLow
MaintenanceLow

Chir pine trees are drought and heat resistant varieties that are widely-cultivated for their timber. They are found in the Himalayas spanning from India, China, Bhutan, and Nepal to Afghanistan. 

They are large trees with a conical crown, typically growing between 60 to 100 feet tall. They also produce cylindrical cones that mature within 3 to 4 years. 

Chir pine trees grow best in warm, dry climates in Asia as they can tolerate drought and heat. They can also withstand cold winters and thrive in the Himalayan mountains.

8. Eastern White Pine Trees

Eastern White Pine Trees
Image: Sylvan Gardens Landscape
Scientific namePinus strobus
Common namesEastern white pine
FamilyPinaceae
Country or region of originEastern North America
Growing location or countriesEastern North America
Height70-100 ft (21-30 m)
SoilWell-drained, sandy or loamy soil
LightFull sun
Growth rateLow
MaintenanceLow

The Eastern White pine tree is best known for its tall trunks that produce soft, white wood used to make paper, furniture and other products. They are indigenous to eastern North America, from Maine to Georgia. 

These pine trees typically grow between 60 to 100 feet high. They can tolerate poor soil but generally prefer well-drained soil. 

Eastern White pine trees also love cool, moist climates, making them abundant in North America, such as Maine, Minnesota and Georgia.

Can pine trees grow in the tropics?

Pine trees do not generally grow in the tropics because they thrive in cool to temperate climates. But some pine tree species can tolerate warm temperatures: the Sumatran, Hawaiian, Araucaria and Casuarina Pine Trees. 

Read on to learn more about the four pine trees that can handle the hot, humid weather in the tropics. 

1. Sumatran Pine Trees

Sumatran Pine Trees
Image: Wikipedia
Scientific namePinus merkusii
Common namesSumatran pine, Merkusii pine
FamilyPinaceae
Country or region of originSumatra, Indonesia
Growing location or countriesIndonesia, Malaysia, Philippines
Height100-150 ft (30-46 m)
SoilWell-drained, sandy or loamy soil
LightFull sun
Growth rateSlow
MaintenanceLow

Sumatran pine trees are known for their resistance to heat and humidity, making them thrive in tropical countries in Southeast Asia. They are fast-growing trees, popular trees in timber plantations.

This pine tree was first discovered in the islands of Sumatra and Java in Indonesia. Later on, it was introduced to other Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia. 

Sumatran pine trees are large trees growing between 100 to 150 feet tall. Although they can tolerate heat and humidity, they still need cool winters to go dormant. 

2. Hawaiian Pine Trees

Hawaiian Pine Trees
Image: Hawaii Magazine
Scientific nameAraucaria heterophylla
Common namesHawaiian pine, Cook pine
FamilyAraucariaceae
Country or region of originHawaii
Growing location or countriesHawaii
Height60-100 ft (18-30 m)
SoilWell-drained, sandy or loamy soil
LightFull sun
Growth rateModerate
MaintenanceLow

Hawaiian pine trees are famous for their monkey puzzle shape. They’re resistant to wind and salt, making them a suitable pine tree for coastal areas. 

They are the only pine species native to Hawaii, typically growing between 60 to 100 feet tall. Its wood is soft and light, and its bark is used to make tannin for leather. 

Hawaiian pine trees are commonly used as ornamental trees and in reforestation activities on the island of Hawaii.

3. Araucaria Pine Trees

Araucaria Pine Trees
Image: Wikipedia
Scientific nameAraucaria araucana
Common namesMonkey puzzle tree, Chilean pine
FamilyAraucariaceae
Country or region of originChile
Growing location or countriesChile, Argentina, New Zealand
Height150-200 ft (46-61 m)
SoilWell-drained, sandy or loamy soil
LightFull sun
Growth rateSlow
MaintenanceLow

Aracuria pine trees are known for being drought and frost resistant, making them grow well in warm dry climates like the tropics.

They are indigenous to Chile, Argentina and other parts of South America. They were later naturalized in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. 

Araucaria pines are large trees, reaching 150 to 200 feet tall, with a distinct monkey puzzle shape. Their needles are arranged in spirals, producing large, woody cones that mature within 2 to 3 years. 

These pine trees grow best in warm and dry climates but still need cool winters to go dormant. They’re popular ornamental trees used for reforestation in South America.

4. Casuarina Pine Trees

Casuarina Pine Trees
Image: Wikipedia
Scientific nameCasuarina equisetifolia
Common namesShe-oak
FamilyCasuarinaceae
Country or region of originAustralia, Southeast Asia, Pacific Islands
Growing location or countriesAustralia, Southeast Asia, Pacific Islands
Height30-60 ft (9-18 m)
SoilWell-drained, sandy or loamy soil
LightFull sun
Growth rateModerate
MaintenanceHigh

Casuarina pine trees can withstand the salty environment and poor soil conditions. That’s why they can thrive in coastal areas or other harsh environments. 

These pine trees are native to India, Southeast Asia and Australia. They were later introduced to the United States, South America and Africa.

They are relatively small trees, growing between 30 to 60 feet tall, with a long straight trunk and a spreading crown. Casuarina pine trees are not only used as ornamental trees in the tropics but also as windbreaks and for erosion control. 

What habitat do pine trees live in?

What habitat do pine trees live in
Image: Gardening Know How

Pine trees are abundant in mountain habitats since they tolerate extreme cold and high winds, especially in upper elevations such as in the western United States or the Alps.

Pine trees can also tolerate poor soils usually found at high elevations. For example, the jack pine tree can grow in infertile soils while adapting to extremely high temperatures.

Can pine trees grow on mountains?

Can pine trees grow on mountains
Image: Freepik

Pine trees can grow in mountains as they prefer high altitudes and cool climates. These trees have developed features to adapt to the cold, such as needle-like leaves, a shallow root system and thick barks.

Their needle-like leaves help conserve water, while their shallow root system allows the tree to reach for moisture deep into the soil. Pine trees also developed thick barks to protect the tree from harsh winds and cold weather. 

Some pine trees that grow on mountains are the Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, Rocky Mountain white pine, Engelmann spruce, Subalpine fir, Brewer spruce, Shasta red fir and Lodgepole pine trees.

Do pine trees grow in forests?

Do pine trees grow in forests
Image: The Living Urn

Pine trees can grow in forests from the tropics to the Arctic region. They are well-adapted to forest conditions, given their needle-like leaves and root system to conserve and reach for water deep into the soil. 

Examples of pine trees that grow in forests are the ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, loblolly pine, eastern white pine and scots pine trees.

Why is there little vegetation around pine trees?

Why is there little vegetation around pine trees
Image: The Christian Science Monitor

There is little vegetation around pine trees because their fallen needles increase the soil’s acidity, making it difficult for understory plants to survive. It also provides a canopy preventing sunlight from reaching plants.

On the other hand, some plants will grow successfully under pine trees, such as the Silverleaf Oak, a shade-tolerant tree found in the mountain ranges of Arizona and Mexico.

How tall will a fully-grown pine be?

How tall will a fully-grown pine be
Image: Tree Journey

The average height of a fully-grown pine tree ranges from 50 to 150 feet, depending on its variety and growing conditions. 

Some of the tallest pine trees are the scotch pine, ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, loblolly pine and eastern white pine, which can grow between 100 to 300 feet tall. 

On the other hand, some of the shortest pine species include the jack pine, balsam fir, Sitka spruce, and Norway spruce, reaching only between 50 and 125 feet tall.

What are the ecological consequences of introduced pines?

What are the ecological consequences of introduced pines
Image: Earth

Introduced pines have provided food and shelter for wildlife. They also helped prevent soil erosion and became a valuable source of timber products. 

However, introduced pines can also outcompete native plants, even leading them to extinction. For example, the introduction of Monterey pine to California resulted in the decline of native redwoods in the state.

They can also alter the fire regime in an area, making it more vulnerable to wildfires. In Australia, Aleppo pine contributed to the decline of native plants and increased their risk for wildfires. 

Introduced pines can also introduce new pests and diseases and reduce an ecosystem’s diversity. For instance, in New Zealand, Douglas fir pine trees led to the decline of native forests and increased the country’s risk for erosion.

FAQs on Where Do Pine Trees Grow?

What climate do pine trees need to live in?


Pine trees prefer temperate to cold climates as they can tolerate temperatures between -40°F and 70°F. They also need an average annual rainfall of 20 to 40 inches and grow best in well-drained soil rich in organic matter. 

Where do pines grow best?


Pine trees grow best in temperate to cold climates and need an average annual rainfall of 20 to 40 inches. They prefer rich, well-drained soil and full sun to grow well. 

Do pine trees like sun or shade?


Pine trees prefer full sun, requiring at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. Besides converting sunlight to food, they also use sunlight to produce resin that protects them from pests and diseases.

How fast do pine trees grow?


In ideal conditions, fast-growing pine trees can grow between 1 to 3 feet annually. They include the loblolly pine, Douglas fir, jack pine, scotch pine and eastern white pine trees.

How many members of the pine family are there?


There are 75 species from the pine genus, including the Cedrus, Hemlock, Spruce, Fir, and Larch pine trees. 

Can I grow pine trees alongside other varieties?


You can grow pine trees alongside different varieties as long as their growing needs complement each other. For instance, you can grow the eastern white pine and Douglas fir together since they can tolerate various soils.

Can I plant smaller trees near an adult pine?


You can grow smaller trees near an adult pine tree as long as they are tolerant of shade and planted far enough so their roots will not compete for water and nutrients from the soil.

What Northern Hemisphere pine tree can grow in Southeast Asia?


The Sumatran or Merkus pine (Pinus merkusii) is a Northern Hemisphere pine tree that grows well in Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Indonesia. 

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