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Loblolly Pine Pinus taeda

Description

Pinus taeda is one of the most common pine species in North Carolina, growing throughout the Coastal Plain and Piedmont.  A type of yellow pine, it typically grows to 40-50’ in cultivation but may reach 90’ tall or more in the wild.  This tree is particularly noted for its straight trunk.  It loses its lower branches as it matures, gradually developing a dense oval-rounded crown.  It sometimes grows in pure stands and commonly spreads into old fields by self-seeding.  Its scaly gray-brown bark develops furrows with age.  This easily transplanted tree has the most rapid growth rate of all pines. 

The loblolly pine will grow in medium to wet soils in full sun. Prefers moist, acidic soils with poor drainage. No tolerance for shade. Performs best in climates with hot and humid summers and mild winters.

This is an important timber tree whose wood is used for pulp, plywood, and general construction.  Its wood value and rapid growth lend its use towards forest management.

The common name of loblolly means "mudhole" in reference to the swampy areas where this tree often grows in the wild.

 

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:  The loblolly pine is susceptible to southern pine beetle and pine engraver beetle. Fusiform rust and rots may occur. Winter hardiness is a problem in the St. Louis area.

Cultivars:
  • 'Dixie'
  • 'Nana'
Tags:
#butterflies#evergreen#birds#wildlife plant#poor drainage#conifer#tsc#host plant#seeds#squirrels#mammals#wet sites#winter cover#self seeding#cpp#deer resistant#screens#wet soil#lumber
Cultivars:
  • 'Dixie'
  • 'Nana'
Tags:
#butterflies#evergreen#birds#wildlife plant#poor drainage#conifer#tsc#host plant#seeds#squirrels#mammals#wet sites#winter cover#self seeding#cpp#deer resistant#screens#wet soil#lumber
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Pinus
    Species:
    taeda
    Family:
    Pinaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Timber tree
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeastern United States
    Wildlife Value:
    It provides winter cover.  It is also a host plant for the Eastern Pine Elfin butterfly.  Squirrels and birds eat the seeds.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Enhancement
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    This tree is moderately resistant to damage from deer.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 40 ft. 0 in. - 90 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 20 ft. 0 in. - 40 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Horizontal
    Pyramidal
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Length:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    The stalkless, oval-cylindrical, obling cones (3-6” long) with sharply-spined scales appear in groups of 2-5. They release their seeds from fall to winter and stay on the tree for a year before dropping.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    In the spring, the loblolly pine has red to yellow male flowers and yellow to purple female flowers.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Prickly
    Leaf Type:
    Needles
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Other/more complex
    Leaf Shape:
    Acicular
    Leaf Margin:
    Denticulate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    The loblolly pine has dark yellow-green needles (5-10” long) in bundles of three (infrequently in bundles of two). They are finely-toothed, stiff and slender. They drop during the tree's third year.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Red/Burgundy
    Surface/Attachment:
    Ridges
    Bark Plate Shape:
    Irregular
    Bark Description:
    It's scaly gray-brown bark develops furrows with age. The plates are broad and flat.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    The upper branches tend to curve upwards while the lower branches droop, eventually falling off the tree as it ages.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Screen/Privacy
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Wet Soil