Landowner Fact Sheets

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jack pine Pinus banksiana

Jack pine is found in northern forests, primarily in Canada. It is the most northerly occurring pine species in North America (lodgepole pine is a close second). It is small to medium in size, with approximately one inch long needles occuring in bundles of two.

range map Click to see more images.

Jack pine is less shade tolerant than most of its associates. Clearcuts do best to imitate natural disturbances and exploit Jack pine's pioneering nature.

Jack pine pioneers poor, acidic, sandy soils that cannot support red or white pine, and can rapidly establish burned-over areas.


A small to medium sized tree up to 80 feet tall, with a small, irregular crown. Dead branches self-prune poorly. Cones are retained for several years, resulting in a coarse appearance.

Timber Value
Jack pine is used for lumber, round timber, and pulpwood.

Wildlife Value
Kirtland's warbler, a rare, endangered species, uses young jack pine stands for breeding.
Attracts voles, various birds, deer, elk, porcupines, snowshoe hare

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
The cones of jack pine often (especially farther north) remain closed until heated (serotinous). Following fire, the cones open and seed-in the burned, cleared area. Kirtland’s warbler and endangered bird depends on young jack pine stands for nesting areas.

Latin Meaning
Pinus: Latin name for pine from Greek "pitus" / banksiana: after botanist Joseph Banks

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Landowner Factsheets © 2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.