Pinus strobus ‘Gitche Gumee’
About Pinus strobus ‘Gitche Gumee’, a columnar white pine broom, one of our favorite discoveries! While hiking the beautiful North Country Trail just outside of Marquette, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, we spotted a very dense columnar broom on a white pine high on a sandy knoll. This Pinus strobus broom, named from the classic poem by Longfellow, is located along the shores of Gitche Gumee (Lake Superior) next to the “Gitche Gumee” campground! The Ojibwe translation of “Gitche Gumee” loosely means “Big Sea”, referring to Lake Superior. Our friend, Brandon, in Marquette, Michigan, loves to climb trees, and he uses a method where he does not have to use spikes. This adventure to reach and harvest ‘Gitche Gumee’ branches was one of his more challenging Midwest climbs. Near the top of the tree, the broom gets battered by direct winds right off of Lake Superior. Parts of the broom looked freeze-dried from the subzero temperatures in the winter. The winds in this area can be fierce, reaching sustained speeds over 50 miles per hour! Some of the scions looked pretty shabby, but the grafts all pushed beautifully, with a nice blue-green color. And the new Pinus strobus ‘Gitche Gumee’ cultivars are keeping the unique upright columnar growth habit of the parent broom. A bonus attribute is that the new cultivars are producing paired miniature cones. We shared scions with Jason Hupp at Western Evergreen tree nursery, who also successfully grafted numerous scions. Another interesting white pine broom we found along the shores of Lake Superior was Pinus strobus ‘Nokomis’, also part of Davison Gitche Gumee collection.