We have been faced with such a cold and intense winter that it is nice to see Spring finally peeking through. During the leafless months of dormancy, many trees tend to fade into the monochrome background of the winter landscape. In these times, evergreen species such as loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) greet us with their canopies of green needles.
Whether Loblolly pine is used as a towering shade tree or as part of a screen, there are so many features to enjoy about this tree. Pinus taeda is a fast-growing species, adding as much as 24 inches in height per year. This coupled with its 25–35 foot mature spread makes it a great option for providing quick shade for a backyard or house. Loblolly pines have dark yellow to green needles arranged in fascicles of 2 or 3. These 6-10 inch-long needles love to soak up sun and generally require at least 6 hours per day for the tree to thrive.
Many birds find these pines a great place to take up residency, and the seeds, which are produced from a 3–6-inch oval cone, provide a nice food source. Before your eyes make it to the canopy of this grand tree, your attention may likely be first caught by the distinctive, thick, dark-red to brown bark that forms flaky plates with deep fissures between them.
Loblolly pine requires relatively little maintenance, since it self-prunes its lower branches as it grows taller. Adaptability to many soil conditions, including the occasional flooding, and a fast growth rate make loblolly pine a great tree for yards with room for the height and spread of a large species.
If you are enticed by the loblolly pine and think you would like to try your hand at growing one, seedlings will be available through participating Downtown Edmond Business Association businesses during Arbor Week, beginning on March 22nd. For more details, view the Arbor Week page.