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Shortleaf Pine (Pinus echinata)

Short Leaf Pine The area currently occupied by the Arboretum was mainly farmland when the government took it over in the early 1940s. Shortleaf Pine and Virginia Pine (P. virginiana) were two of the trees that first invaded the abandoned farmlands. These pines grow in the open, where competition from other trees for light, moisture, and nutrients is limited. As the forest developed, deciduous species such as oaks, hickories, and tulip poplar, gradually became established and have become the dominant trees. Recent research at the UT Forest Resources Center in Oak Ridge and the Chuck Swan State Forest near Norris evaluated the historical development, current conditions, and future potential of the Shortleaf Pine resource and found that this species flourished in the past as a result of repeated disturbance from fire, logging, and clearing for farmland and other developments. However, these types of disturbances and associated reforestation patterns have been virtually eliminated in much of our region, so that little Shortleaf Pine regeneration occurs today. Although some older individual Shortleaf and Virginia pines are still present at the Arboretum, these trees are gradually dying out. Southern pine beetle infestations in recent years have hastened the demise of these pines, and remnants of their trunks are scattered through-out the forest floor.

Shortleaf Pine Bark Shortleaf Pine Cones and Needles Shortleaf pine can be recognized by its platy bark, straight needles (3-5 in. long) borne in fascicles (bundles) of 2-3 and a flat-topped crown. The seed cones, which mature in 2 years, are ovoid to conic in shape with stout, sharp prickles on the umbo (a knobbed protuberance on the cone scales). Shortleaf Pine is an important timber tree in the South-east, with its wood used for lumber, plywood, boxes and crates, and pulpwood.

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University of Tennessee - Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center
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