Can I start White pine seedlings in containers and winter them in my garage? If so, what is the best soil to start them in?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Kurt in Ohio: White pine (Pinus strobus) is typically propagated by seed. Cuttings do not have a high success rate. Some years are better than others in terms of seed production. Seeds can be harvested in the fall from mature cones. They will turn a yellow-green to light brown when ripe and the scales of the cone begin to open. If the seeds are not directly sown in the ground, they will need to be stratified for 60 days in a space where temperatures range from 33-41 degrees F. You are essentially creating an environment that is similar to what the seeds would go through if they were left alone in nature. They need to go through this dormancy period in order to germinate. It is best to use a good quality potting soil that is peat-based. Avoid topsoil and make sure the seed bed/container you choose has drainage holes. White pines are typically slow to get started but if given sufficient sunlight this conifer is considered a rapid grower. This native evergreen is tolerable of most soil conditions but does not do well in compact clay soil. If you are gardening in clay soil it is best to amend the soil before planting.