The loblolly pine is native to the southern United States and is famously used for timber and turpentine as well as for its beauty in the landscape. It’s also called the Frankincense pine because of the fragrance of its bark.
The loblolly grows to between 90 and 100 feet tall with a 45 to 50-foot spread. It is usually shorter when it’s cultivated and may only grow to around 50 feet tall. It is a fast grower and can grow as much as 25 inches per year. It does best in hardiness zones 6 to 9. It is a hardy tree and can be seen taking over land with poor soils.
Like other pines, the loblolly is an evergreen, which means it does not drop its needles all at once in the fall. The needles of this beautiful pine come three to a sheath and are 6 to 9 inches long and bright green. They are just slightly twisted and have tiny teeth. They have resin canals and come to a point. The cones are oval, 3 to 5 inches long, light brown with a substantial base and slightly bent prickles. The seed the cones produce is 1/4 inch long, dark brown and mottled with black with 1/4 inch long wings.
The younger branches of the loblolly are yellowish brown and ridged, and the bark is reddish brown or grayish with irregular fissures. The trunk is straight, and as it grows the tree loses its bottom branches. The crown is dense and round.
The loblolly needs full sun, heat and high humidity. It likes wet soil and is an excellent specimen to plant in a rain garden. It gets its common name from a sailor’s term for a water spoon or the southern term for a mud hole. Since the loblolly pine keeps most of its leaves throughout the year, it provides color to a garden in winter. It also tolerates deer. Our company is pleased to sell bare root specimens of this magnificent tree.