The Magnificent Loblolly Pine Tree
One of the fastest growing southern pines is the Loblolly Pine, Pinus Taeda, that 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 as well as 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 all the way to the west coast and up to Washington State. The Loblolly which is an Evergreen not only loves full sunlight but is able to 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 a beautiful noise, wind barrier, as well as, a wonderful 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 a 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.
The Loblolly is also a wonderful habitat for many animals from the enchanting white-tailed deer, wild turkey, gray squirrels, to rabbit, quail, 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 birds that frequent 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. There are also two endangered species that use these pines, the fox squirrels, who eat the cones, and the red-cockaded woodpeckers, who will nest in old growth trees.
Loblolly means a depression, and the tree received this name by growing in the river bottoms. The pioneers knew this tree by many other names among them is 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 exceptionally large, strong trunks, hence “Bull.” The Loblolly was once an important lumber tree due to its abundance and is being studied as a possible alternative source for energy today.
Black Pine Tree
The iconic Black Pine Tree can grow to about 80 feet tall at maturity under the appropriate conditions and expands to a width of up to 40 feet sideways, its trunk takes on a silvery black color, and the foliage is a deep green color forming needles that give it a look dense and bushy. Young trees have a unique density and foliage, and cones appear early in the spring.
Like most pines, the Black Pine Tree withstands different to extreme temperatures but acquires its perfect conditions in hardiness zones 7-8. One of the virtues of this tree is its relentless heat tolerance during hot summers, and the resistance it has to cold winters and high winds.
This tree grows strong and lush in any well-drained soil. Good dose of free sun is necessary for a good development. Its fame has gone around the world to be the most desirable variety of pine tree for its high tolerance to varied temperatures and terrains. You not only see the Black Pine Tree in the forests and mountains, but have become valuable ornaments for private gardens too.
Although these trees are happiest in zones 7-8, they can also grow successfully in zones 4-6 with little maintenance. It is important to plant this tree in a spacious and sunny place to give freedom to show off their wonderful shape, and amazing size.
When you go to plant a young tree be sure to cut a hole in the ground large enough to double the size of its existing roots, is critical to ensure its early growth, that the roots get enough water during the first weeks of planted, this will cause the tree to develop excellent root system, strong and embedded. Young trees grow fast during the summer seasons and they release seeds during the winter time.
Although they thrive in virtually any terrain, the terrain of preference is a little more acidic and sandy soils, this is why we see this variety near the coasts as well. Black Pine Tree does not require much maintenance after planting, pruning and fertilizing comes naturally, but a little pruning while growing will reward you with an outstanding perfect shape when mature.
The beauty of the Black Pine Tree has led many gardening lovers to create bonsai of this wonderful dark pine. So have managed to do thousands of enthusiasts gardeners planting in gardens and landscapes the iconic tree, conditioning it through pruning to develop a dwarf specimen, or much smaller than normal size, achieving a state of art piece that turn all looks for its majestic presence.
The Black Pine Tree is one of the most resilient trees that exist in the world, which is why they can survive under hostile conditions.