Arkansas State Tree
Pine (common name)
genus Pinus (scientific name)
Arkansas has designated the "pine tree" as its official state tree. The 1939 resolution cites pine timber resources as a great source of wealth for the state and a renewable resource that will continue to be important to Arkansas in the future.
There are four species of pine native to Arkansas. Among them, the loblolly pine, also known as the Arkansas pine, often is cited as the state tree of Arkansas. Shortleaf pine is more common in Arkansas than loblolly pine. The other two pines native to Arkansas are much rarer.
Loblolly pine can reach heights of over 100 feet. It loses its lower branches with age, opening the crown.
Loblolly pine is a medium- to large-sized native, evergreen conifer with flaky bark and a long, straight, cylindrical trunk. It's a resinous, and fragrant tree with a rounded crown of spreading branches. Cones have short, stout, triangular spines. Loblolly pine grows rapidly, reaching 90 to 110 feet (27-34 m) in height and 24 to 30 inches (61-76 cm) in diameter at maturity.
Shortleaf pine is a medium-sized, native, evergreen conifer with relatively short needles and thin, flaky black bark that becomes reddish brown with age. Shortleaf pine attains a height of 100 feet (30 m) and a diameter of 24 to 36 inches (61-91 cm).
Height: 50-110 ft (15-34 m)
Diameter: 1.5-5 ft (0.4-1.5 m)
Bark: gray and scaly
Seed: egg-shaped cones, 2 in long with flexible scales
each with a small, sharp, central prickle
Leaves: flexible, dark-green needles 3-10 inches long, in groups of 2-3
Pines can live for over 75 years, often developing heart rot at that age. The endangered red-cockaded woodpecker nests in the cavities created by heart rot.
Loblolly pine grows in the coastal plain and Piedmont region from southern New Jersey to central Florida, in Texas, the north Mississippi Valley, extreme southeastern Oklahoma, central Arkansas and southern Tennessee. It grows in sandy or gravelly savannas and hilly woodlands.
Shortleaf pine has the widest geographic range of any pine in the southeastern United States. It grows in the Atlantic Coast States from southeastern New York to northern Florida, throughout the Gulf States, and inland to western Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Illinois, southern Missouri, eastern Oklahoma, and eastern Texas. Arkansas contains more shortleaf pine than any other state. It thrives in dry, sandy, acidic soils of rocky, wooded ravines, bluffs, and upland plains.
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE
Small mammals and a wide variety of birds eat shortleaf pine seeds. The rare red-cockaded woodpecker nests in old-growth shortleaf and loblolly pine. Older loblolly also provides nesting sites for ospreys and bald eagles and attracts squirrels, deer, bobwhites, turkeys, and various smaller birds such as warblers, nuthatches, red crossbills.
OTHER USES AND VALUES
Shortleaf pine is an important timber tree, but loblolly pine is the most important commercial timber species in the U.S. southeast. Both are used for lumber, plywood, structural materials, and pulpwood.
Loblolly pine is typically regenerated by clearcutting followed by planting with genetically improved seedlings. Shortleaf pine is shade intolerant. Clearcut and seed-tree methods work best.
Shortleaf pine begins producing seeds at 20 years of age. Seeds are equipped with wings and are dispersed as far as 200 to 300 feet (61-91 m), although most fall close to the source tree. If the crown is damaged or killed, shortleaf pine up to 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) in diameter sprouts vigorously from dormant buds.
Shortleaf pine commonly grows on old agricultural fields. It has great adaptability, but grows best on moist, well-drained, deep, sandy or silty loam and floodplains.
Loblolly pine can grow on a wide variety of soils, but does best on moderately acidic soil with imperfect to poor surface drainage. It thrives in areas with plentiful annual precipitation and 6 to 10 frost-free months.
Different species of pine grow in all 50 states except Kansas. Pine also grows in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Shortleaf pine is native in 21 southeastern states. Loblolly pine is native in 15 southeastern states.
Shortleaf pine ranges in elevation from 10 to 3,000 feet (3-910 m), and usually grows on south- or west-facing slopes.
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U.S. Forest Service
U.S. National Arboretum
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Author: World Trade Press