Our Trees

Scenes from Thorndike

Native Conifers

Balsam Fir

This is a great native conifer that is easy to grow, has soft needles, and, of course, has the desirable balsam smell. It is our experience that it is the best tree to grow as a christmas tree and is a great specimen tree. It can be grown in a variety of sites and likes to grow in Maine. We also grow canaan fir and fraser fir. Canaan fir  is largely indistinguishable from balsam, but has a later bud-break and tolerates wet sites.

Canadian (Eastern) Hemlock

We grow thick, bushy hemlock that are great for tall hedge or visual screening purposes because it responds well to shearing.It is one of the few conifers that grows well in shady areas. It is superior to the use of cedar-type plantings for hedges in places frequented by deer because deer love cedar and aren't so fond of hemlock.

Eastern red cedar (Juniperus Virginiana)

We grow this as our only native cedar because eastern white cedar, the most prevalent native cedar, usually gets destroyed by deer. As you can tell by the Latin name, it is actually a juniper but has scale-like needles similar to cedar, and other qualities similar to cedar. As the tree matures, it is likely to develop small blue cones that look like berries. It prefers sunny, dry areas and is good windbreak tree.

Jack Pine

Jack pine usually does not have a nice conical shape, but don’t be fooled by its scraggily appearance – it’s supposed to look that way.  It does not reach the size of white or red pine and It is native to Maine, but found only in limited areas on the downeast coast such as the Schoodic Peninsula and in northwestern Maine near Jackman and Lobster Lake. Not common at nurseries, jack pine is a distinctive and hearty tree  to purchase, especially for areas where it grows naturally.


Larch, also known as hackmatack, is the only Maine conifer that loses its needles. They are nice to plant as a grouping to achieve a natural look and provide a unique fall color as the needles turn a golden shade of yellow before dropping. Larch likes to grow in sunlight in most soil conditions but is one of the few conifers that tolerates a wet site.

Red Pine

This an under-appreciated, quick growing pine with relatively deep green needles. It generally keeps its conical shape better than white pine because it is not susceptible to the white pine weevil, an insect that loves to eat pine leaders.  We have a row of 25 year old red pine that still have the desirable conical shape.

White Pine

This is the prevalent native Maine pine found throughout the state. It has soft, light green needles, tolerates varied sites, and grows incredibly well here. It is useful grown on its own, as part of a grouping or in line to create a tall screen. Noted tree expert Michael Dirr describes a well grown white pine as being without equal among the pines, spruces and firs.

White Spruce

A workman-like tree that is easily grown and transplanted. It is not fussy about site or soil type and often attains a bluish color, although it has shorter and somewhat softer needles than the blue spruce. This is the most commonly sold spruce in the area.

Non-native Conifers

Concolor (White) Fir

The concolor fir is native to the western United States and achieves a conical shape similar to balsam, but less uniform. It has soft, bluish-green needles that give off a lemony aroma when broken. This tree is very picky about site, which must be relatively dry and not composed of heavy clay.

Blue Spruce

Although some are bluer than others, a properly selected and grown (aluminum sulfate helps) one can be quite blue. Although the color can be overwhelming in a grouping, it is a desirable specimen tree that can add color to the green landscape.

Fraser Fir

Fraser is also similar to balsam and is a great specimen tree. It is native to the North Carolina mountains, but does well in Maine. Some view it as the best christmas tree, but it's hard to beat balsam for that purpose. It has more upright branching than balsam, does not have the balsam aroma, and needs a dry site.

Korean Fir

This tree has the conical shape and flat needles of other firs, but the underside of the needles have a silver hue, which provides an interesting appearance. They appear to transplant readily and are well adapted to our Maine climate.

Norway Spruce

A very attractive spruce tree that is a fast grower. It has attractive deep green foliage and its needles are not as stiff and sharp as blue spruce. This is the most attractive spruce at maturity because of the visual effect of its drooping branches.

Serbian Spruce

One of the better non-native conifirs. It is similar to the Norway spruce in that both develop attractive droopy branching, but the Serbian spruce has an attractive blue tint to the underside of its needles, is generally narrower but not as adaptable to different soil and lighting conditions.

Western Red Cedar (thuja plicata)

This is a vigorous cedar that grow well in this eastern part of the country. Shears well, so it is ideal for a hedge or visual barrier, and if left unsheared, it becomes a tall screen or wind break. Western red cedar and hemlock are the best trees we sell to use as a hedge or a screen.