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pitch pine Pinus rigida play

Pitch pine is an eastern species commonly found on infertile, dry sites. Interestingly, it can also perform well on wetter sites. Pitch pine is considered to be one of the most productive timber pines on poorer sites. Pitch pine needles are 2 1/2 to 5 inches long, occuring in bundles of 3.

range map Click to see more images. wood grain

Intolerant of shade, pitch pine must be regenerated by clearcuts, seed trees, or spacious shelterwoods. Competition from hardwoods should be kept in check. Pitch pine recovers from injury well and produces stump sprouts.

In the north, pitch pine occupies dry, sterile soils. Pitch pine occupies the sandy loam soils of the pine barrens and may occupy drier ridges and slopes in the Appalachians. It frequently invades old fields.


Extremely variable; short and poorly formed on poor sites, but can be a straight, medium sized tree reaching 80 feet tall on better sites; epicormic sprouting is common.

Timber Value
Pitch pine wood is resinous and therefore resistant to rot. It is used for ship building, rough construction,, mine props, fencing, railroad ties, crating, pulpwood, and fuelwood.

Wildlife Value
Seeds are eaten by small mammals and birds. Rabbits and deer browse young sprouts and seedlings.
Attracts squirrels, rabbits, deer, quail, pine warblers, pine grosbeaks, chickadees

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
Pitch pine is extremely resistant to fire and injury, and is one of few pines that readily sprouts back after disturbance (especially fires). The vast pine barrens of New Jersey is almost exclusively composed of pitch pine.

Latin Meaning
Pinus: Latin name for pine from Greek "pitus" / rigida: rigid (leaves)

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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.