Spotlight on Longleaf Pines

Forest Friends

Can you spot a longleaf pine Pinus palustris? They are the pines with super long needles (up to 18”!) that landscapers covet for mulching. They also have the largest cones in the Southeast (6-15 inches). Our neighborhood has remnants of the of an old longleaf pine forest that covered most of the southeast several hundred years ago before commercial lumbering reduced the stock to 3% or less of what it used to be

Our neighborhood is special – we still have some longleafs. Many yards in Sherwood Forest have a longleaf pine. See if you can spot them! Look for those giant cones and then look up for pom poms of very long needles. In the fall you can see the needles on the ground, too (they’ll be the length of your forearm, or more). Don’t throw them away – rake them up and use them around your shrubbery!

And treasure the trees. In addition to being great for mulch, longleaf pines have many other benefits. They have very deep taproots and strong wood, making them resistant to damage or toppling from storms. They are drought tolerant, and provide lovely filtered shade and habitat for a number of important species (including humans).

Visit this North Carolina State website for more information…

Let us know if you have a longleaf pine in your yard, and if you would like help with identification from the Forest Friends Committee, contact Valerie Marcil by phone at 803-331-1138 or email.