The red pine grows naturally in the north-east of the United States and in eastern Canada, as well as around the Great Lakes, areas climatically similar to Finland; it is one of the most promising exotic pine species. The red pine doesn’t grow particularly large but is extremely beautiful. The trunk is reddish, like the native species P. sylvestris, whose common name Scots Pine is rather misleading; the needles are very much longer, up to 15 cm, and persist four to five years.
Efforts to grow the American red pine in Europe have a long history but have usually ended in failure. Heavy losses among the seedlings occur in their first winter, when snow mould (Monographella nivalis) destroys them almost totally. This was also the result of Mustila’s early attempts to grow the species, and again quite recently. Climatically the species is hardy, as witnessed by the handsome young specimens growing at Helsinki University Botanic Garden.