Botanical Name: Pinus flexilis
Characteristics: The Limber Pine carries this name due to the limberness of the branches. It typically grows near timberline at an altitude of 5,000 to 12,000 feet. Its flexible branches make it durable against high mountain winds and snowfall. They are native to North America, mainly ranging in the Rocky Mountains, and they usually grow up to 25 to 30 feet in height, 12 to 30 inches in diameter (National Park Service). The Limber Pine tree has 3-10-inch-long needles that are in bundles of five, and does not produce flowers (National Park Service). It can be called “Vanderwolf’s Pyramid” due to their somewhat-triangular shape.
Requirements: The Limber Pine can grow in many soil types, even shallow soils like that of the high mountains it is accustomed to. The Missouri Department of Conservation’s Missouri Urban Trees says “…it grows best in deep, well-drained soils. It should be grown in full sun but will tolerate some shade” (The Conservation Commission of the State of Missouri 1997).
Hardiness Zone: 4b-7 (Missouri Urban Trees 1997).
Pest Susceptibility: The Limber Pine does not face serious pest problems in Missouri. It is susceptible to white pine blister rust, but that is not a common disease among pines in Missouri.
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Citations and References:
“Limber Pine,” Missouri Department of Conservation. Missouri Urban Trees. The Conservation Commission of the State of Missouri, 1997, p. 14.
“Limber Pine,” Missouri Department of Conservation. Missouri Urban Trees. https://mdc.mo.gov/sites/default/files/downloads/MissouriUrbanTrees.pdf. Accessed 27 Mar. 2019.
“Limber Pine.” National Park Service, National Park Service, www.nps.gov/brca/learn/nature/limberpine.htm. Accessed 27 Mar. 2019.
“Limber Pine.” The Gymnosperm Database, edited by Christopher J. Earle, The Gymnosperm Database, www.conifers.org/pi/Pinus_flexilis.php. Accessed 27 Mar. 2019.