Longleaf pine is an evergreen that received its name for possessing long leaves. The leaves come in clusters of three, going up to 18 inches long. Mature trees grow up to 100 feet. The single trunk, which is covered in scaly, thick bark, goes close to three feet in diameter. The trees naturally trim their lower limbs and grow practically straight. Contact an arborist from Tampa Tree Care for a tree inspection if your tree is growing in crooked.
The historic range of the longleaf pine once went from Florida to Virginia, west through east Texas to Louisiana. Currently, the trees are only seen within little patches of this range. Most importantly, longleaf pines can live in a variety of habitats. However, they prefer acidic, sandy, and dry soils going in height from sea level to over 2,200 feet. They are biased to shade and necessitate sunlight to flourish.
Longleaf pine seeds grow in cones and are spread by wind. They must come in contact with soil to develop when they fall to the earth. When fire is suppressed, ground cover pile up stops seeds from getting to the soil. Because of this, they can’t grow. The seeds that can take root endure an exciting life cycle that differs from most other trees. Rather than growing in height the first year, the longleaf pine has a grass stage.
From the surface, the grass-stage plant looks to be a huge bunch of needles that thrives a little. However, the real work is going on under the earth. In the grass stage, this tree type begins to form its central root, referred to as a taproot which flourishes up to 12 feet.
A longleaf pine tree starts to develop in height after going through the grass stage. Both grass-stage types and mature trees are fire-resistant. The lifeline of a longleaf pine goes many centuries. These slow-flourishing trees live for more than 300 years. The tree might take up half and they may take up to half the time to get to its full size.
Longleaf pines, at one point covered over 85 million acres. Unfortunately, they now cover under 3% of their original range. This tree was so plentiful at one point that it seemed like an unlimited resource to early settlers. Longleaf pines forests were cleared to created space for agriculture and development. The lumber, which is of high-class quality, was used for constructing railroads and ships.