Not everyone can distinguish conifers from each other, since they have common features and can be very similar, especially at a young age. For those who want to decorate their plot with pine or cedar, before choosing a suitable tree, you should definitely study the difference between these species, paying special attention to such signs as height, needles, tree life, and flowering. All these and other nuances that make the difference between spruce and pine will be described in detail in this article.
Differences in height
The first sign to help determine whether a cedar or pine is in front of you is the height of the trees. The height of an adult cedar is quite impressive and can reach 50 m. At the same time, the height of a pine tree averages 40 m and only rarely reaches higher values. In general, more diverse heights are characteristic of the pine, since there are more varieties of these particular trees - about 200.
Some pines look like shrubs, while others are very massive and have a spreading crown. If you consider the seedlings of these trees, you will notice that they can be different in height, but in both cases it is important that they do not exceed 80 cm . Otherwise, it will be quite difficult for a young tree to take root.
The life span of such conifers is determined by the specific variety. This plant lives on average for 150 years, however, there are some types of cedar trees that have a longer lifespan. An example is the Siberian cedar, which lives up to 300 and even up to 600 years. However, the Lebanese variety is capable of living for over 1000 years.
If we consider pine, then the ordinary species of this tree usually lives up to 300 years. Such species as Siberian cedar can live for 500 years, and European cedar - up to 1000 years. If we correlate these features, then, in general, the life span of cedars is longer than that of pines. However, according to the average life expectancy, the pine is in the lead.
Differences in the appearance of wood
If we consider the structure of tree bark, then by its appearance it is also possible to distinguish cedar from pine. A significant advantage of cedar is the presence in its wood of healing useful components, which are released into the air over time. Pine does not have this property.
Also, pine bark dries out much faster than cedar. Because of this, the indicator of its strength is less; when it dries, a relief in the form of deep grooves begins to appear on it. The bark of cedar trees is able to maintain its original appearance for a longer time. However, the wood of both of these conifers is quite actively used as a building material.
What is the difference between needles?
Another criterion for distinguishing between pine and cedar is their needles. The needles on cedar trees are arranged in a spiral, while combined into bundles, each of which contains from 30 to 40 needles. The color of the needles is emerald, but it has a steel sheen. If we consider a separate needle, then you can see that it is tetrahedral or triangular.
In pine, the needles are arranged in bunches of 2-5 pieces, they can be either long or short, depending on the type of tree. If the tree is damaged, a rosette may form in this area, from which short needles will grow. As for the color of the needles, it can be different and usually depends on the place in which the pines grow.
There are trees with a lush green crown, as well as with almost gray needles.
Difference in the size and shape of the buds
The cones of these two trees, first of all, differ in shape. If pine has oblong outlines, then in cedar they resemble a barrel. At the same time, pine cones usually hang from the trees, and cedar ones stick out like candles. The width of cedar cones (in particular, in the Siberian cedar) is from 5 to 8 cm, and the length reaches 13 cm. Cedar seeds (pine nuts) are contained in each cone in an amount of 30 to 150 pieces.
A distinctive feature of pine cones is their healing properties, which are actively used in medicine. On the basis of biologically active compounds found in young pine cones, medicines are made for purifying the blood, relieving inflammation, and choleretic effects.
Differences in flowering time
The pine usually blooms from late May to early June. The monoecious flowers of this tree are collected in oval-shaped cones (females) or spikelets (males). During the flowering of this tree, the needles bloom. The flowering period of the cedar begins a little later than that of the pine. In this case, fertilization occurs almost a year after pollination of flowers. During the flowering process of their males, orange-crimson inflorescences are formed, gathered together at the base.
Flowering occurs across the full width, with the bottom layer creating a growth tier.
What is the best choice?
If you want to choose one of these trees for planting near your private house, then it is better to pay attention to a number of nuances, based on which it is more advisable to choose a cedar or pine.
- In terms of growth rate, with proper care, pine often overtakes cedar tree. If in a year the cedar can add 30 cm in height, then the growth in some species of pine is 1 m.
- Both trees in the first years of life on the site must be shaded, however, the cedar is still very whimsical to the soil composition.
- A bonus of growing a cedar tree is the ability to feast on nuts.
You can learn how to properly care for conifers by watching the video below.