Landowner Fact Sheets

longleaf pine Pinus palustris play

Longleaf pine is common to the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains of the U.S. southeast. It is adaptable to both wet and dry soil conditions, and is useful for both timber and wildlife purposes. Longleaf needles are very long, 8 to 18 inches, and occur in bundles of 3.

range map Click to see more images. wood grain

Longleaf pine is shade intolerant; clearcuts and seed-tree methods work best. Shelterwoods and group selections also work, but growth of saplings is slower. Control of competition is recommended.

Longleaf pine is associated with drier sites and sandy acid soils or on flats that have a hardpan. Commonly found on sites subject to fire.


A medium sized to large tree capable of reaching over 100 feet in height, with a straight trunk, coarse branches and tufted needles at ends of branches.

Timber Value
Longleaf pine is used for construction lumber, plywood, poles, and pulpwood, distilled chemical extracts (naval stores), and "pine straw," an ornamental mulch.

Wildlife Value
Many species feed on the seeds. Rabbits, gophers, and hogs graze seedlings. Mature longleaf pines are choice habitat for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.
Attracts deer, squirrels, gophers, rabbits, various birds such as quail, turkeys, and red-cockaded woodpeckers.

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
Longleaf seedlings sit in a fire resistant grass stage for several years, during which time they develop a deep tap root. Upon emerging from the grass stage, growth is rapid. Once much more abundant, longleaf pine has had its range greatly reduced by logging and land clearing.

Latin Meaning
Pinus: Latin name for pine from Greek "pitus" / palustris: of swamps - Latin "palus" (swamp)

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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.