The Slash Pine is named after its unique, narrow leaf structure, which resembles pins or slashes. This evergreen, coniferous tree is indigenous to the southeastern United States. Reaching heights of 80 to 100 feet, Pine trees are moderately fast growers and need full sun and well-draining soil. Cold hardy and benefiting from wet summers and humidity, these trees thrive in the infertile soils of sandhills, flatwoods, and wet lowlands, such as swamps and ponds.
Some commercial uses for them include utilizing their heavy, strong wood for construction including railroad ties, pilings, turpentine, furniture, and rosin. It is typical to see Pine trees in reforestation projects. In the wild, they make great food sources for squirrels and wild turkey. They are also known to be bird sanctuaries; woodpeckers, owls, eagles, and egrets are most commonly found nesting in their branches.
Pines have an extensive root system, which is best left undisturbed. Its needle-like branches can grow as long as 5 to 11 inches, and grow 2 or 3 inches at a time from the fascicle. Its bark is scaly, yet durable and hard. Pines typically grow in a cone-like shape.
Swamp Pine, Cuban Pine, Yellow Slash Pine, Southern Pine, Pitch Pine
Hardy Range: 7 – 11
Mature Height: 75 – 100′
Mature Spread: 30 – 50′
Growth Rate: medium to fast rate, with height increases of 13 – 24” per year
Form: oval, pyramidal
Pines have a green, needle-like, leaf shape that may turn yellow in the fall. In spring, they have inconspicuous flowers. Their pine cones attract squirrels and other mammals. Pines tend to be considered messy due to their significant litter of fruit, twigs, and foliage. However, the fallen pine needles can be used as pine straw, a natural mulch for other garden areas.
Soil: acidic, loamy, sandy, well-drained, wet and clay soils
Exposure: full-sun to partial shade