We have about 6 pine trees (blue spruce) in our yard and we have noticed that this year they are loaded with pine cones. Does this mean anything? We have looked on the farmers almanac thinking that it must mean we are in for a hard winter, or something in that nature, but have been unsuccessful in finding the answer. Do you have any information why the trees are loaded with pine cones?



The amount of cones on trees are influenced by many factors. Climate, lack of moisture or excessive soil moisture, low temperatures.  There also is a genetic factor that may predispose cone production if any of those other factors may trigger it.   This can also be affected to insect feeding on female flowers that will become cones. Perhaps there was less feeding this year then in previous years but I can't give you a precise reason for why more cones were produced.  Just an interesting example is pinyon pine, which heavy cone production is valued because of the pinyon pine seeds that native American Indians would use for food.  They would move to where there was good cone and seed production, because it was unpredictable.

Posted on 30 Jul 2008

Maggie Shao
Horticulture Agent, Salt Lake County

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