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Lawn & Garden

Longleaf pine, Pinus palustris

Long Leaf Pine

Common Name: longneedle pine

Type: conifer

Family: Pinaceae

Zone: 7 to 9     Find Your Zone

Height: 80 to 100 feet

Width: 30 to 50 feet

Sun exposure: full sun

Soil: adaptable, sandy loam, clay, acidic, dry

Leaves: evergreen


This tree is grows in flat, sandy to rocky soils of the coastal planes from Virginia, south to Florida and west to Texas. Its needles grow from 1 foot to 18 inches long and come in clusters of 3 and pine cones are 6 to 10 inches long. Because these trees grow slower than most pines, they are rarely propagated or sold by private nurseries. There are faster and better options for the landscape. Pine trees root systems consist of a tap root unlike hardwood trees that typically have a fibrous (shallow and wide) root system. This is why pine trees snap in wind storms and oaks uproot in wind storms.


With once having covered 90 million acres, these trees were the home to over 30, now endangered animal species. With now only covering 3% of that area, it seems that the tree that was once known for its exceptional quality lumber is being threatened as well. Reforestation of these magnificent trees is becoming a priority for the trees and the 30 endangered species that depend on it.

Southern longleaf pine is the state tree of Alabama.

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STEP 1: Digging the hole

  • Find a location that has suitable sun exposure for your particular type of plant.
  • Dig your hole an inch or two shallower than the rootball of the plant.
  • Dig the hole twice the diameter of the rootball.
  • Scuff up the sides of the hole with a shovel to help roots break through the native soil.

STEP 2: Putting plant in hole

  • When removing the plant from the pot, check to see if the roots were circling the pot.
  • If the plant is rootbound, gently break up the roots with your hands until loosened up.
  • Set plant level, in the center of the hole.
  • Make sure the top of the rootball is just above soil level.

STEP 3: Amending the soil and filling in the hole

  • Amend the soil with proper amendments for your soil type. 
  • Incorporate 50% native soil with 50% amendment soils like garden soil, composted manure or soil conditioner.
  • Make sure dirt clods are broken up or removed from hole along with rocks.
  • Fill the hole with soils to the soil level and pack down. Do not cover top of rootball with dirt.
  • Water in thoroughly to remove air pockets.

STEP 4: Mulching and fertilizing

  • Cover the planting site with at least 2 inches of the mulch of your choice (pinestraw, cupress mulch,etc.)
  • High Phosphorus root stimulator fertilizers like Quick Start from Miracle Gro are great to use at time of planting.
  • When planting trees, a tree stake kit may be required to prevent the wind from blowing over or breaking our newly planted tree until it becomes established.

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Posted 2015-10-11T16:16:39+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL Ingar_HD_ATL