What is it like to live amongst pine trees?

Christy BellFebruary 8, 2013

We are looking to move to a home that we really like, but is among a lot of pine trees. The home is on 37 acres in Colorado and close to town so the location is stellar, but we are moving from the plains of Colorado where the only trees are the ones you plant. The house is not in the mountains, but would certainly give you that feel - in the city. I'm trying to get a feel for what living in pine trees would be like. I know we would have shade, peaceful, pine beetles to keep on top of, pine needles (but I'm looking for a lot less upkeep on a yard so that's not a big deal to me), snow stays longer.

Anything else you love/hate about living in pine trees?

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Christy Bell
    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:24AM
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Other than the threat of wildfires and dealing with dead trees due to pine bark beetle, pine trees are great. They buffer sound and usually mean less yard maintenance as grass won't grow if there's not enough sun filtering through. The smell is also great. If you're allergic to pine pollen, you'll have a couple of miserable weeks in the Spring.

In drought years, pine trees are matchsticks and fire spreads very quickly, so you need to be prepared, but that's not really different from other natural disasters.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 12:09PM
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Very pretty! I don't have much to add, though we were once considering relocating to the Colorado springs area and if I recall correctly there was an area to the north that looked like what you pictured. I could be wrong, but I remember it as being a windy place...I could be mixing it up though.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 12:15PM
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Christy Bell

olivesmom - you are probably thinking of a similar area. This area is north of Colorado Springs and wind is always present in Colorado! I'd look forward to not as much in the trees, at least having a wind break of some sort and the sound of wind through the trees is soothing.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 12:39PM
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Pine needles and "husks" that track into your living areas. Your pine needles look longer than mine though, so you probably really only will have husks tracked in (I don't know if they are really called husks--but the brown part at the base of the needles that likes to slip off the needles...)

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 1:01PM
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I just have 1 big spruce next to my house. Dont live in CO but know it fairly well. Pros outweigh the cons I think...

Pros: beautiful after a snowfall, the sound of the wind moving thru pine branches, the smell of pine on a warm sunny day. Cons: my big spruce drops all kinds of needles that clog the gutter and can be a PITA to remove because its all stuck on with pine sap.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 1:10PM
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Lived part time in the Sierras for a bit. Needles in the gutters were a constant pain. Needles on the driveway and walks were a pain, and slippery when wet. Biggest hazard were the giant pine cones, upwards of 12". Don't know if they were unique to the area, but they dropped out of nowhere, without warning... could cause a concussion, for certain, if hitting just so!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 1:35PM
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Fori is not pleased

You almost have to wear shoes outside.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 2:11PM
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Biggest concern is fire. Check how easy to get out and insurance rates.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 6:47PM
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We're in the midwest so your drought and fire issues are not something we deal with but we do have pines of a few different types on and around our property. They do shed needles, some types more than others (white pines are our worst for that) and the amount varies year to year. The ones closest to the house are a gutter issue on their own, but we also have oaks and the needles spear through the leaves and clog gutters even more as a result. We've tested different types of gutter control systems but none of them work really well with our needle/leaf/acorn combo.

And then there's the sap. If you plan to have any outdoor furniture it will have to be a considerable distance from any pines (or under roof) otherwise you're going to be sitting and eating on sticky stuff. It doesn't just fall straight down but does travel a bit with wind. Pets can track it in on their paws, you'll track it in with needles on your shoes.

I actually told my husband that I'd never move to another house with white pines unless they were on the edges of large acreage or we'd have to remove them!!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 7:46PM
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We used to live among fir trees and as others have said the needles are annoying! When DH cleaned the gutters it was a big job because they were always full of needles. I think if you could take down trees that are close to the house it would help some. I would check too about fire in that area and you may have to take more trees down to be safe against fire.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 8:58PM
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The pollen in the spring makes everything schoolbus yellow. For several weeks. Coated like paint. The needles get everywhere and nothing really grows under them except things you don't want to grow. The sap. Yes, the sap. Everything under the trees is sticky and yucky and has to be washed off before you can use it.

The wood is weak and windstorms always leave a few branches for you to deal with. Large windstorms mean snapped in half trees. If they are close to your house, that may mean periodic roof damage. I still have some trees from the Great Ice Storm of 94 that were young at the time and were pretzeled into some interesting contorted shapes by the ice. They are off in the back pasture so I leave them be. Sorta like full sized bonsai trees. If the lot were smaller or they were closer to the house, they would have had to be removed. You'll need to be comfortable owning and using a chain saw or you'll go broke dealing with them.

They also have seedlings everywhere that you have to deal with if you don't want to be dealing with them lifting your foundation a year later because it grew in a crack by the sidewalk and house.

I'd MUCH rather have deciduous hardwoods. They have stronger wood, the leaves aren't so insidious, and the leaves drop so that you can get some winter solar gain. Winter is dark and long enough without being in the constant shade of the pines.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 11:14AM
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Fori is not pleased

Ah yes. Sap.

But they are beautiful and full of birds and possibly worth the trouble.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 1:14PM
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"I think if you could take down trees that are close to the house it would help some. I would check too about fire in that area and you may have to take more trees down to be safe against fire."

Good points. You might look into how much it would cost to have any trees removed. We paid $1,600.00 to have two mature (infected) ash trees removed.

If you lived here and had a fire, could you see yourself creating a 'safe' place to go to if you were unable to evacuate?

A link that might be useful:


    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 1:45PM
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My fil planted pines all around his house. When he went to the nursing home, I got to help clean up the pine needles. We had 20 lawn bags and counting before we left. Fil had let it go before he got sick because it was so much work. SIL chopped down the shrubs in front of house because the needles always made them look messy. Pine trees are beautiful, but I would not want them right next to the house.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 2:19PM
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Christy Bell

Yes - I've been considering all this. I have a feeling the Homeowners Insurance will want the ones closest to the house removed, which wouldn't bother me at all. That would reduce the gutter issue and all the decks are already covered, so sap falling directly on them is not an issue - but can't control wind. We've been there several times and I don't ever see sap on the driveway or walking areas - not sure if there's a certain time of year they drop more sap or not? I actually wanted pines on this larger acreage so the workload of maintaining open pasture was reduced. We have horses and currently live in open land and it's a lot of work to maintain. I'm thinking we would pay a service to come in once a year to maintain the trees - trim, cut, etc. To me, a cost of living in the pines. They do give the house lots of privacy, which is a huge plus being closer to town. We actually made an offer on the house yesterday and was accepted this morning. We are thrilled to be closer to town and with the price we got.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 12:03PM
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Congratulations! But, as another poster said, maintenance on them isn't exactly a "yearly" thing. It's ongoing. You have a storm, and you'll have a few downed branches to deal with. All year long. The chainsaw, wood chipper, and tractor bit is just a part of owning property like that. I don't think the property upkeep chores are any less with trees over pasture. Just different. And in some cases, the chores are a lot more labor intensive or expensive. Riding a tractor with a bush hog to mow pasture is pretty easy. Taking down a 30' pine safely isn't.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 1:00PM
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Do you know people with horses on pine needles? I'd be worrried that they'd slip and get injured. Those needles can really slide around. It is hard to tell in the winter when they are frozen in place. So, I'd ask around what precautions you should do for your horses.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 2:27PM
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We live 4,000 feet above Denver near Conifer so we have pine and spruce AROUND the house, but Jefferson County requires cutting a firebreak perimeter around the house( as the insurance company also suggests). We have lots of squirrels and birds, also fox, mule deer and elk. Get southern exposure to melt the snow on the drive then blacktop it. You will need a snowblower and snow tires (Blizzaks) at 9,000 feet! snow on the driveway if possible, then blacktop it.

This post was edited by applecreeker on Sun, Nov 24, 13 at 22:54

    Bookmark   November 24, 2013 at 10:46PM
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We had 2 houses with a lot of pines. The negatives were lots and lots of pine needles. I mean lots. It does increase maintenance. The driveway for example gets covered with them. And they are just everywhere. Also pine cones, lots of them. On one house we had a pool and the constant pine needles falling in the pool was a major issue. We had to pay for help maintaining the pool (we had maintained our own pool at our before) because the constant pine needles in the pool made it really hard to clean and to balance chemicals.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2013 at 11:26PM
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We have plenty of pine trees but none close to the house. Even though the ones we have are far away the dogs still come in with little, sticky, brown pine pieces on their backs and I find pine needles in the house. I also find pine sap on my cars.

Today it snowed and the snow on the pines is so beautiful. I also like the fact that the yard is green year round. I am all for pine trees and the little nuisances they produce as long as they are not close to the house.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 9:47PM
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