In 1945 the legislature resolved, “That the white pine tree be, and hereby is, designated the official tree of the State of Maine.” The availability and high quality of white pine lumber has played an important part in the history, development and economy of Maine since 1605, when Captain George Weymouth of the British Royal Navy collected samples here and brought them back to England for display.The shortage of ship masts in Europe led to England’s Broad Arrow Policy in 1691 whereby pines 24 inches or more in diameter within 3 miles of water were blazed with the mark of the “broad arrow” and reserved for use in the Royal Navy.Those contracted with Great Britain to harvest the pines often smuggled some of their stock into the marketplace for profit, or cut down specimens in such a way that they knocked down extra trees as they fell. Except where otherwise noted, the content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0 License.Thanks to wording within the acts that excluded trees found on lands divided among towns and on privately owned lands under development, colonists kept many of the trees for themselves by playing loosely with the definition of “under development.” Ultimately, the American Revolution brought an outright break between the colonies and Great Britain and placed the harvesting demands for white pines in the hands of the commercial market. Being relatively resistant to rot, soft and easy to carve, and reaching up to 250 feet tall and five feet in diameter, white pine trees became sought-after specimens for use as masts on Royal Navy ships.
Therefore, it is no coincidence that Maine is known as the “Pine Tree State.” Recognizing its importance, in 1895 the Maine Legislature designated the “Pine Cone and Tassel” as Maine’s official floral emblem.Foreshadowing colonial responses to the Stamp Act, Sugar Act, and numerous other regulations that (decades later) prompted the start of the American Revolution, reaction to the White Pine Acts incited organized protests as well as localized acts of resistance.In Middletown, for example, when Daniel Whitmore found Daniel Blake (a deputy surveyor of His Majesty’s Woods) searching his mill for illegal tree specimens in 1753, Whitmore promptly threw Blake into a millpond, nearly killing him.My Dad always said the pine needles "sour" the soil, but the in-between areas were good because a few pine needles hold the ground moisture better than other areas. Whether it be along yards or meadows, or at the edge of woods, where the pine needles mingle with the other humus I often find greys and yellows.
Also, in older stands of pines where the pines are mixed with raspberry vines and other trees I have found them under the pine stands themselves.Standing as ancient sentinels high atop the White Mountains of the Inyo National Forest, the Great Basin bristlecone pines rank as the oldest trees in the world and have achieved immense scientific, cultural and scenic importance.