One of the most prevalent varieties of pine trees in New Hampshire is “Pinus strobus,” commonly known as the Eastern White Pine. This pine tree is tall – growing quickly to a height of up to 100’ – with a full crown of dark needles and pinecones that drop every year. If you haven’t noticed the pinecones on the tree, you’ve certainly noticed them on the ground! Especially this year. Have you ever wondered “why are there so many pinecones this year?”
It boils down to survival. Trees have different reactions based on the climate and weather around them. In years with a healthy amount of rain, the tree will focus more on growth and less on seed production. However, in years where there just isn’t enough rain (like this past summer) the tree will compensate by producing an abnormal number of seeds (to encourage propagation). On a pine tree, these seeds are found in pinecones that will eventually drop to the ground.
Aside from weather-related stresses, botanists have speculated that heavy pinecone production may also be a defense mechanism that the tree uses to prevent insect infestations. Insects prey on the seeds dropped by trees and will “camp out” beside a dubious source of sustenance. There will be generations of insects every year, causing harm to the tree – possibly even killing it.
Starve the pests. As a tree care service in New Hampshire, we know that one of the best ways to control pests naturally is to remove their food source. Providing an inconsistent food supply inhibits generations of overwintering insects who return every year to harm the tree. Apparently, the Eastern White Pine had already figured this out. Think of it as a pine tree’s built-in Integrated Pest Management program!
Hopefully, this answers your question “why are there so many pinecones this year?” But knowing this doesn’t solve the problem of pinecones in your yard! Groundhog Landscaping can help. Our landscape maintenance crews are doing fall cleanups until the snow flies (and sticks around for good.) Give us a call, and we’ll get your yard pinecone-free in no time!