The bark contains tannin and has occasionally been exploited commercially. The needles contain a substance called terpene, this is released when rain washes over the needles and it has a negative effect on the germination of some plants, including wheat. This species is the most resinous pine in Canada. Oleo-resins are present in the tissues of all species of pines, but these are often not present in sufficient quantity to make their extraction economically worthwhile. The resins are obtained by tapping the trunk, or by destructive distillation of the wood. In general, trees from warmer areas of distribution give the higher yields. Turpentine consists of an average of 20% of the oleo-resin and is separated by distillation. Turpentine has a wide range of uses including as a solvent for waxes etc, for making varnish, medicinal etc. Rosin is the substance left after turpentine is removed. This is used by violinists on their bows and also in making sealing wax, varnish etc. Pitch can also be obtained from the resin and is used for waterproofing canoes, containers etc, as a wood preservative etc.Wood - light, hard, very close grained. It weighs 30lb per cubic foot. Tree trunks in dense stands are almost free of knots. The wood is largely used for construction, piles etc and as a source of pulp.
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The red pine is often cultivated as a timber crop in Europe. It is used as a re-afforestation tree in Canada. Slow growing when very young, though it speeds up and new shoots of 60cm a year have been recorded. It takes 20 - 25 years before reliable seed production begins, good crops are then produced every 4 - 5 years. This tree does not seem to be long-lived in Britain and is only found in the south-east of the country, though it should succeed elsewhere. Leaf secretions inhibit the germination of seeds, thereby reducing the amount of plants that can grow under the trees. Trees have a fairly thick bark and this helps to protect them from heat of forest fires. The cones are 5 - 6cm long, they take 2 years to ripen then open and shed their seed whilst still attached to the tree. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus. The resin from broken shoots has a strong scent of lemon balm.Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.
Problems, pests & diseases
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