Pitch pine (Pinus rigida) is one of the most interesting trees on the Shawangunk Ridge. Got to see them again last weekend on a short excursion. Pitch pine on top of the ridge is “dwarfed” since the soil is next to nothing up there. Down below in deeper sites, it can grow over 60 feet tall. But on top, they are less than an averaged sized man, but much older. Some apparently date back to the 1800s! The soil there isn’t deep enough to set a tent stake into; Just duff. But that doesn’t seem to stop pitch pine from growing. Every so often, are rocky openings where not even pitch pine can grow. In these clearings are stacked rocks that have probably been there since the 1940s or before by blueberry pickers who used to burn this mountain frequently. Their burning perpetuated lowbush blueberry and inadvertently, the pitch pine too that can withstand fires. Just look at the serotinous cones of this sucker that are waiting for a fire to open up. Amazing!

May the Forest Be with You,


Ryan Trapani

Director of Forest Services

Catskill Forest Association