Landowner Fact Sheets

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shortleaf pine Pinus echinata play

Shortleaf pine is an important commercial timber tree of the U.S. southeast. It is the least exacting of the the southern yellow pines regarding temperature and moisture. At one time it was considered the most promising pine for southern forestry. Shortleaf pine needles are 3 to 5 inches long, occuring in bundles of 2 or 3.

Click to see more images.range map wood grain

Shortleaf pine is shade intolerant. Clearcut and seed-tree methods work best. Shelterwoods and group selections have been used successfully by smaller landowners.

Shortleaf pine grows on many soils, but is most often found in mixed stands on dry uplands. Often it colonizes old fields.


A medium to large tree with a straight, well pruned trunk, able to reach over 100 feet tall; typically has a small, open, pyramidal crown.

Timber Value
Shortleaf pine is used for lumber, plywood, structural materials, and pulpwood.

Wildlife Value
The seeds are eaten by birds and small mammals. Red-cockaded woodpecker nests in older trees afflicted with heartrot.
Attracts bobwhites, turkeys, red-cockaded woodpeckers, squirrels

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
Shortleaf is utilized for a variety of wood products. A unique feature of shortleaf is the ability of young trees to sprout following fire. This sprouting ability is due to the development of a pronounced j-shaped crook at or below the ground surface. In the “crook” numerous dormants develop which allow sprouting if the top is killed.

Latin Meaning
Pinus: Latin name for pine from Greek "pitus" / echinata: Greek "echinos" (a hedgehog, prickly - a reference to the cone scales)

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Landowner Factsheets © 2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.