Pinus virginiana 'Wate's Golden' / Wate's Golden Virginia Pine

Pinus virginiana 'Wate's Golden' is an irregular, slow- to medium-growing, somewhat scruffy looking, evergreen coniferous tree that is most noted for its outstanding golden foliage in winter. It typically grows to a mature height of 15 to 30 feet (5 - 10 m) tall in an open, somewhat pyramidal habit with spreading branching and a rounded to flat-topped crown. Features 1 to 3 inch (2.5 - 7.5 cm) long needles in bundles of two. Needles emerge yellowish green but turn a bright gold in cold winters. Spiny-scaled seed cones are up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) long and are usually not produced in the first 8 to 10 years.

This plant is easily grown in average, medium wet, well-drained soil in full sun. It tolerates a wide range of soil conditions including both heavy clay soils and poor soils. Prefers clay or sandy loam with moderate to good drainage. Although there are no serious insect or disease problems, there is some susceptibility to pitch canker.

[Chub Harper] - In Moline, Illinois and Clinton, Iowa this cultivar suffers from "winter burn" nearly every winter so therefore never really looks good most of the season. It also has not been a vigorous grower at these two Midwest locations.

This cultivar originated as a seedling selected by William Bennett, Christiansburg Virginia, sometime in the 1960s.

Pinus virginiana 'Wate's Golden' (Winter). Plant is about 8 years old. Photo taken in December 2003.
Photo by Bill Barger
'Wate's Golden' winter foliage. Close-up of foliage during winter. Golden color will remain as long as plant during entire winter.
Photo by Bill Barger
Pinus virginiana 'Wate's Golden' The light green needles on this cultivar turn a brilliant yellow in the winter. Guaranteed to brighten up a dull winter landscape.
Photo by Iseli Nursery, Inc.
Small 'Wate's Golden' in winter. Plant is about 6 years old. Photo taken in February.
Photo by Bill Barger
Pinus virginiana 'Wate's Golden' at The Gotelli Collection, the U.S. National Arboretum, May 2006, Washington, D.C. The "green" is returning when the photo was taken May 1-4.
Photo by Dax Herbst
No winter burn on 'Wate's Golden' here in Virginia. Planted as a new graft in 2013, mine is 8 feet tall and grows 10-12" per year in USDA Zone 7. Photo is from April 2017.
Photo by Bill Blevins
Pinus virginiana 'Wate's Golden' — seed cones on 12/06/2017. Planted as a new graft in April 2013. Virginia USDA Zone 7 so roughly 4 to 5 years old.
Photo by Bill Blevins