Norway spruce and white pine were planted in large blocks through the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation and around reservoirs in Lewisboro by the Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C) during the Great Depression of the 1930’s.
Why? They are planted around reservoirs because their evergreen needles continue to intercept rain and prevent soil erosion throughout the winter months after the deciduous trees have lost their leaves. In other places they were planted for wildlife because of their sheltering ability in winter months and to stabilize soil that had been degraded by over-farming and over-grazing.
White pine are especially adept at growing in poor, sandy soils. In a few instances, red pines where also planted.
The problem- The drawback of tree plantations is that they consist of only one species (‘monoculture’) allowing a single disease or infection to kill an entire grove, as was the case with red pine. Another detriment is that the trees are all the same age (‘even-aged’). When even-aged stands are reaching maturity, as they are doing now after 80 years of growth, they become vulnerable to ‘blow-downs’ and no other young trees are there to fill the gaps created. This is especially problematic now as winds are stronger and occurring more frequently.
Look out for
These pines at the Cross River Reservoir.
What you can do
Evergreens are excellent trees for homeowners to plant. In addition to their wildlife value, evergreens can provide shade for houses in the summer and can protect homes from cold wind in the winter.