Loblolly Pine is one of the fastest growing pines
The Magnificent Loblolly Pine Tree
One of the fastest-growing southern pines is the Loblolly Pine, Pinus Taeda, which grows to a magnificent 60 to 100 feet tall and from 25 to 35 feet wide. The Loblolly Pine can grow in acidic, drought tolerant, loamy (soil made of silt, sand, and clay), moist, sandy, well-drained, and clay soils at a fast growth rate. Growing best in the hardy growth zones 6-9, it is found throughout the US from New Jersey to central Florida, making a wide path across the mid-west to the west coast and up to Washington State. The Loblolly, an Evergreen, loves full sunlight and can adapt to various sites, including; fertile upland fields, moist forests, and grows well mixed with hardwoods.
This fast-growing member of the yellow pine group is an easy seeder and is planted to help stabilize soil, reduce erosion, and beautiful noise, wind barrier, and an excellent shade tree. The leaves are needle-like, 4 to 9 inches long and are in groups of three. The needles are slightly twisted and have a bluish-green tint, are stiff, and stay green all year round. The bark is thick, scaly, grayish-brown, and grows thick with layers. The flowers of the Loblolly are usually a yellowish-orange and give way to cones. The pinecones are 3 to 5 inches long, dull brown, and prickly.
Loblolly Pine is an excellent habitat for many animals
The Loblolly is also an excellent habitat for many animals, from the enchanting white-tailed deer, wild turkey, gray squirrels, rabbits, quails, and doves. Many songbirds love to feed on the seeds and help propagate the trees by spreading the seeds along with the deer and other rodents. The Red crossbill depends on the Loblolly pine seeds for up to 50% of their diet. Other frequent birds are the Carolina chickadees, warblers, Bachman’s warblers, northern bobwhites, and brown-headed nuthatches. Bald Eagles and Osprey have been seen to nest in the tall Loblolly trees as well. Two endangered species use these pines, the fox squirrels, who eat the cones, and the red-cockaded woodpeckers, who will nest in old-growth trees.
Loblolly means depression, and the tree received this name by growing in the river bottoms. The pioneers knew this tree by many other names. Among them are Rosemary, Old-Field, and Bull. The tree is wondrously aromatic, which is how it received “Rosemary,” has a strong tendency to take over abandoned areas, thus the name “Old-Field,” and has enormous, strong trunks, hence “Bull.” The Loblolly was once a critical lumber tree due to its abundance and is being studied as a possible alternative source for energy today.