The only pine native to England is the "Scotch" (Pinus sylvestris) and it is no wonder that we waste thousands of dollars on it, for in its own country it is very lovely. It is a picturesque pine, but mildly so, as befits a mildly picturesque country. Its chief asset is its warm red bark. And since it is everywhere planted for timber it conspires with the brick cottages, tile roofs, and rosy cheeks of the people to make England seem the warmest and merriest place on earth. Fortunately, the tree is open enough to display the red bark to advantage. The metallic blue cast of the foliage is the third element of its beauty.
In America, the Scotch pine grows quickly but deteriorates or dies after twenty or thirty years. Our nearest approach to it is the red pine (Pinus resinosa) which agrees with the Scotch in having an open, roundish head when old, two leaves in a bundle, and, most important of all, red bark. But the red pine, is a better tree and it is strongly American. Its leaves are twice as long (four to six inches), it grows even higher than the white pine, and it is long-lived. The red pine is sometimes called the Norway pine — after Norway in Maine, not Norway in Europe.
The red pine is also superior to the Austrian, which is the gloomiest tree in England. But for wind-breaks we need a pine with dense bunches of long, coarse needles. Therefore the Austrian is much planted in America for shelter belts, especially along the sea-shore,, but it dies out after twenty or thirty years. As a lawn tree it is too coarse and dull and it is always shaggy with dead ones, whereas the Scotch pine has the neat habit of dropping its cones as soon as ripe. Whenever we want a wind-break we should plant red pine in preference to the Austrian; it will last longer and it makes cheerful groves because the trunks are red and the foliage, though dark, is lusty and brilliant.
I am glad the Scotch and Austrian pines are short-lived here, for we do not want our most conspicuous conifer to be like that of any other country. The white pine is our tree. Let us plant that everywhere and try to live up to it. The white pine (Pinus Strobus) is one of the most graceful pines in the world, because of its long, soft brushes, and it is certainly the cheeriest conifer we can have in the North because there is so much white in its foliage. I did not see a white pine in England worth the powder to blow it up. Some one told me there isn't a healthy white pine in England, but this a mistake.
When it comes to hundred-foot pines the East must own itself beaten by California and England. White and red pine have been known to attain one hundred and twenty feet in the East, but hardly in cultivation, and what is that compared with three hundred feet? — for that stupefying height is attained in California by the sugar and Western yellow pines (Pinus Lambertiana and ponderosa). England has at least one hundred-foot specimen of the latter.