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Publication #ENH-637

Pinus taeda: Loblolly Pine1

Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson2


Loblolly pine is a North American native which is usually seen from 50 to 80 feet tall with a 30-foot-spread though it is capable of reaching more than 150 feet in height. This extremely fast-growing pine is pyramidal when young making it ideal for screening but loses its lower limbs as it grows older becoming a tall, stately specimen, windbreak, or dappled-shade tree. The six to nine-inch-long evergreen needles turn light green to brown during the winter. The often-paired cones are three to six inches long, red/brown, and have very sharp spines. They persist on the tree for several years and mature in the fall. The bark of loblolly pine is very thick which helps make this tree very resistant to fire in the wild.

Figure 1. 

Mature Pinus taeda: loblolly pine


Ed Gilman, UF/IFAS

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

General Information

Scientific name: Pinus taeda
Pronunciation: PIE-nus TEE-duh
Common name(s): Loblolly pine
Family: Pinaceae
USDA hardiness zones: 6B through 9B (Fig. 2)
Origin: native to North America
Invasive potential: weedy native
Uses: screen; reclamation; specimen; shade
Availability: not native to North America

Figure 2. 


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]


Height: 50 to 80 feet
Spread: 30 to 35 feet
Crown uniformity: irregular
Crown shape: oval
Crown density: open
Growth rate: fast
Texture: fine


Leaf arrangement: alternate (Fig. 3)
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: needle-like (filiform)
Leaf venation: parallel
Leaf type and persistence: fragrant, evergreen, needled evergreen
Leaf blade length: 4 to 8 inches, 8 to 12 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: no color change
Fall characteristic: not showy

Figure 3. 


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]


Flower color: yellow
Flower characteristics: not showy


Fruit shape: oval, cone
Fruit length: 3 to 6 inches
Fruit covering: dry or hard
Fruit color: brown
Fruit characteristics: attracts squirrels/mammals; showy; fruit/leaves a litter problem

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: branches don't droop; not showy; typically one trunk; thorns
Pruning requirement: little required
Breakage: susceptible to breakage
Current year twig color: brown
Current year twig thickness: thick, medium
Wood specific gravity: 0.51


Light requirement: full sun
Soil tolerances: clay; sand; loam; acidic; occasionally wet; well-drained
Drought tolerance: moderate
Aerosol salt tolerance: moderate


Roots: can form large surface roots
Winter interest: no
Outstanding tree: no
Ozone sensitivity: sensitive
Verticillium wilt susceptibility: resistant
Pest resistance: resistant to pests/diseases

Use and Management

Pines are often grouped together in a landscape and they are becoming more popular for planting in parks and in commercial landscapes. They create a light shade which allows grass and other plants to easily grow beneath the canopy. People often complain about the dropping needles, but these may be the same people who complain when it rains.

Loblolly pine should be grown in full sun on well-drained, acid soil. It is drought-tolerant once established.

The cultivar 'Nana' reaches only 8 to 16 feet in height making it ideal for use as a specimen or screen. It has a dense, rounded silhouette and may become popular, especially for small-scale landscapes, once people discover it.

Propagation is by seed. Young trees larger than four feet tall are very difficult to transplant.


Some of this tree's pests are pine bark beetle, borers, pine tip moth, and sawflies.


Loblolly is susceptible to fusiform rust and heart rot.



This document is ENH-637, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Revised December 2006. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at


Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; and Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Agricultural Engineering Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.