POI M21

Look Up, Way Up!

Towering high above is a giant White Pine. It is more than 100 years old, perhaps ignored by early loggers because it wasn’t perfectly straight or its lower trunk sported too many branches.

Plenty of wounds reflect this veteran’s tenacity for survival. The large excavations were made by Pileated Woodpeckers digging out colonies of Carpenter Ants, their main food.

Like most trees, the number of seeds White Pines produce varies from year to year. In some years, very few seed-containing cones are produced. Then, unpredictably, a massive crop, sometimes so heavy the treetops bend under its weight, is produced. In “mast” years, many seeds escape the efforts of Red Squirrels and other seed predators, resulting in a new generation of young pines.