White Pine Musings

To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is
more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.  
Helen Keller

White PineIt’s fall and the time of year for the white pines (Pinus strobus) to drop their soft, golden innermost needles. These are the 3rd year needles that drop swiftly after yellowing and cover everything beneath. For me, it’s a welcome opportunity to do as I have always done as a Virginia gardener.  I rake piles and piles of needles and create the most beautiful mulch for borders.

pine needlesIn the spring new needles will replace the old on white pines and the annual needle drop will again be scheduled for next fall…. only there won’t be a spring or next fall for these old trees. The home association has voted to remove them all.

I understand some of the rational for removal. The trees are large, a soft wood growing too close to homes. I’ve seen pine trees snap in two and several pines uprooted around the yard during storms in Virginia. These pine trees shade several yards and homes including ours. We could use a bit of passive solar energy during the long, cold winters. Finally, mister gardener complains about not finding one single spot with enough sun to grow a simple tomato plant.

Still, I’m sad and sentimental when a tree goes. I may be the only resident who will miss the trees, but I’m sure my birds will miss them… and the squirrel that nests in the treetop will miss them. Insects like the two-spotted pine cricket will miss them. My connection to trees most likely comes from my childhood when there wasn’t a tree I couldn’t climb… limbs or no limbs. I loved the adventure of exploring the treetops of any variety of trees. (Yes, I have climbed these white pines, too, pruning out a truckload of dead limbs.)

Life will go on. I have a landscape plan for this area of the yard but plans will have to wait until the tree work is complete and I see just how much sun will come our way. Right now the area is a holding nursery for hostas that will find a permanent home elsewhere come spring. Sigh…

10 thoughts on “White Pine Musings

  1. Omigosh….this is such a pretty setting….I wasn’t ready for this sad ending, albeit a new beginning. Whatever you decide on will be right, however. The only constant in life is change, right?

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  2. This post struck a cord as I, too, am a tree lover. Whenever I see a large tree fall, I feel a pang in my heart. I hope you share some of the new beginnings you create in your garden this spring.

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  3. So sad to lose the beautiful soft needles. We love how the wind sounds different blowing through conifers and can’t imagine taking down a healthy pine. Of course, Mr. Gardner’s tomatoes are quite tasty…

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  4. O was that kind of tree climber too. In fact, I still climbed trees way into adulthood – just to remind myself that I could. Once you’ve climbed trees, you make friends with them and always see them in a special way. I’m sorry your trees will have to go.

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