Pinus contorta

Lodgepole pine

Family: Pinaceae

Origin: North America

Lodgepole Pine canopy with cones.
Fast growing pine in NZ that can form dense mono-culture forests. Can out-compete native trees.
Photo credit: Jeremy Rolfe

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • National Pest Plant Accord Species
  • Whole region — Sustained control

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Shrub to medium-sized tree. Mature cones persist on the tree. Seeds are winged.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell lodgepole pine. As lodgepole pine is a National Pest Plant Accord species, these restrictions apply within the Auckland region and across the whole of New Zealand.
  • You must not plant lodgepole pine within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • You must destroy any lodgepole pine on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.


Open habitats, grassland, shrubland.


Seeds dispersed by wind.

Impact on environment

Forms dense stands. Reduces species richness and facilitates non-native dominance of soil fungal communities. Affects light-demanding short-stature plants by altering vegetation structure from open habitat to forest.


Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out.

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds.

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical. Stems can be left but can occasionally resprout.


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications: Cut stump and paste freshly cut base of stems with metsulfuron gel.

Basic Growsafe certified: Cut stump and spray freshly cut base with 1g metsulfuron-methyl per 1 L of water.

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user: Drill and inject trees with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 1L of water if safe to do so. Drill 18mm holes (tangentially angled downwards) in a spiral up the trunk.

For 50mm stems drill one hole. For 100mm stems drill two holes. For larger stems drill holes 150mm apart. Foliar spray seedlings with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant.

Safety notes

Large trees must not be drilled that are closer than 1.5 times the height of the tree from paths, walkways and property.

Trees over 4 metres in height should be treated and then removed by a qualified arborist.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Close up of Lodgepole Pine anthers.
Pines produce pollen in anthers, that are moved by wind to female stigmas. Stigmas develop into cones protecting immature seeds.
Photo credit: Jeremy Rolfe
Lodgepole Pine trunk.
A fast growing pine from North America. Cones remain on the tree and release winged seeds.
Photo credit: Jeremy Rolfe
Lodgepole Pine anthers.
A smaller pine tree that can sometimes only be as tall as a shrub. Symbiotic fungi grow with the pine, changing the soil fungi communities.
Photo credit: Jeremy Rolfe
Lodgepole Pine branches with immature cone.
Cones mature and open in the heat of summer, releasing seeds. Winged seeds float on the breeze to a new location to germinate.
Photo credit: Jeremy Rolfe