Planting a Loblolly Pine

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Loblolly pines abundantly grow and thrive in magnificent forests throughout the southeastern United States. Known to be fast growing with a regal presence, they make a wonderful landscaping enhancement. These trees are easy to plant and care for as long as you adhere to the following steps.

About Loblolly Pines

  • Native to the southeastern region of the United States, loblolly pines can reach a height of 100-115 feet high and is the largest of all southern pines. Fast growing, the loblolly pine is widely used for lumber and pulp fibers.

Landscape Requirement for Loblolly Pines

  • Because loblolly pines are fast growing and are an evergreen, they are ideal for a screen in landscaping. Loblolly pines require full sun and room to expand (they can reach 25-35 feet wide).

Preparations for Planting

  • Unlike many pines, Loblolly pines can tolerate and adapt to various soil types, though it prefers an acid based soil. Make sure there is adequate drainage to the soil where you wish to plant a loblolly pine.

    The hole that is dug for planting should be no deeper than to accommodate the length of the root tap or root ball with adequate space around the sides. Planting a pine too deep will slow the tree's growth.

    If the soil is of poor drainage composition or compressed, adding and working in a small amount of compost to the bottom of the hole is beneficial. This allows the roots to get more the nutrients and improve drainage. Too much added compost may inhibit the roots from eventually expanding into the surrounding native soil.

    Deep water the palnting area to ensure the area surrounding the roots is evenly moist. During the first few months, soil needs to be monitored to make sure it has constant moisture.

Planting

  • Because loblolly pines are extensively used for reforestation in the southern states, the pine can be found as sapplings or in small pots. It's also possible to purchase a loblolly pine with a burlap root ball. In that case, the burlap should be removed and the root ball expanded to allow the roots to grow into the surrounding soil of the planting hole.

    After placing the tree in the hole and making sure it's straight, fill the hole with soil half way up. Then, gently tap the soil with your foot to lightly compress it. While filling the hole with soil, check to make sure the soil does not have dirt clots. If you find clots, break them up, as clots will create air pockets that hinder the roots from establishing.

    Continue to fill the hole with soil until it's level with the surrounding ground. Lightly tap this soil with your foot to compress it.

    Water the planting and surrounding area thoroughly and deeply. Monitor the soil over the next few months to ensure it is kept consistantly moist.

Fertilizing

  • Fertilize with a slow release fertilizer with a 10-10-10 formula. Read and follow the instructions on the package. With proper planting and care, a loblolly pine will grow at a rate of 2 to 3 feet a year.

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