Q: I have several pine trees on our property. Some have pine cones… but others do not! The trees here are side by side. Can you explain the difference?
A: Pine cones don’t all drop in the fall. In fact, they take two years to mature while hanging on the tree. Pollen released in spring from the male flowers fertilizes the female pine flowers, which develop into cones that bear seeds. The seeds mature and fall next year. After a cone opens and releases seeds, it remains on the tree until the short stem holding it deteriorates enough for it to fall to the ground.
I’m sure there is genetic variability in the strength of the connection between cone and branch…and that explains why some trees have cones now and some don’t!