Loblolly pine, or Pinus taeda, is native to North America and one of the classic southern yellow pines. It is usually seen from 50 to 80 feet tall with a 30-foot- spread though it is capable of reaching more than 150 feet in height. It is also extremely fast-growing, and pyramidal when young, which makes it perfect for a quick screen. In maturity, the lower limbs thin and it becomes a towering evergreen ideal for underplanting. Azaleas, rhododendrons, and camellias are especially well-suited.

This imposing pine is best suited for larger properties and does well as a stately specimen, or a grove. The six to nine inch long needles are dark green in sumer turning light green winter. The decorative cones are three to six inches long, reddish brown, with sharp spines. They mature in autumn and may persist on the tree for years and produce seeds that are a favourite food for squirrels, making it a wildlife friendly choice. The beautiful bark of Loblolly Pine is thick, colored black and grey, and deeply ridged and especially dramatic in a grove.

The name Loblolly has a Yorkshire origin that came to refer to a thick porridge, the sort served in the Royal Navy. In time, English settlers referred to pasty, thick soils as loblolly. And that is the native environment of the Loblolly pine. This pine tolerates wetter conditions than most any other pine which makes it especially useful in areas that may be periodically inundated. It also tolerates acidic soils particularly well. But damp conditions are not required and Loblolly pine, once established, is quite drought tolerant.

This pine will grow well across most of the southern half of the US, but will also grow in the warmer parts of the UK, New Zealand and is especially suited to sub-tropical Australia. As usual, this special tree will not be found in the popular landscape nurseries but more likely in a specialty, or mail-order plant nursery.


Loblolly pine

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