The Longleaf Pine Tree ( Pinus palustris) use to cover over 90 million square acres in the Southeastern U.S. but has only 3% of that amount remaining due to the logging industry and development of land by settlers. The Longleaf Pine Tree prefers sandy, dry and acidic soil. They need lots of sun to grow and can last up to three hundred years during their lifetime. The tree is an evergreen conifer that is named after it’s long needles which can grow up to 18 inches long. They produce pine cones with seeds which drop to the ground or are blown by wind to establish new trees. They have thick scaly dark trunks. A close relative to the Longleaf Pine is the Slash Pine which exists in large numbers in Florida and the Southeast U.S.
The wood from this tree was sought after to build ships and railroad ties in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s because of it’s sturdiness and resistance to pests. There has been a restoration effort going on to re-establish the Longleaf Tree forests. The Longleaf Pine tree also has excellent qualities to combat climate change because of their carbon dioxide absorption qualities. They are also resistant to wildfires and windstorms and after a natural event. It is common to see only these trees remaining after a wildlife.
I see Longleaf Pines in my area that have been planted in neighborhoods, county parks and other areas to keep out invasive trees and to improve the looks of the landscape. The Longleaf Pine in this photo was planted in a grassy area in my neighborhood. Birds like them to provide cover and to establish habitats.
More information is available about this tree at the National Wildlife Foundation website.