Texas has seven main types of pine trees. These pines all fall into regions 5 through 7 of the USDA Hardiness Zone Map. Most require good drainage and low water to withstand the conditions in Texas. They all grow a deep taproot. The trees all produce cones and flowers in the spring.
Longleaf pines grow mainly in the east and withstand the diverse weather conditions there. Longleaf pine, longleaf yellow pine, southern yellow pine, hard pine, longstraw pine, hill pine, pitch pine and heart pine are the eight names these trees go by. Longleaf pines have the longest needles and have the largest cones of all Texas pines. They can reach 125 feet in height. A longleaf pine will remain small and seem not to grow for three to 25 years. During this time it is growing a deep taproot.
Shortleaf is another type of eastern Texas pine. It grows in slopes and hills or upland woods or fields. It won’t grow with the loblolly pines. It can grow to 100 feet in height. Shortleafs are the most cold-tolerant of the native pines.
Loblolly pines are the most common pine tree in Texas and found mostly in eastern Texas. However, insects and disease can harm this tree. They don’t require a lot of water and can withstand soil with a higher pH, as compared to most pines. They are the fastest growing pines in Texas though their needles are not long, only up to 9 inches in length. The loblolly goes by two names: loblolly and oldfield pine.
Ponderosa Pines and Southern White Pines
Ponderosas grow in limestone and other mineral-rich soils. They grow in the Guadalupe, Chisos and Davis Mountain Ranges in west Texas. Southern white pines are the loveliest but rarest Texas pine trees. They have silvery white bark. They grow to 90 feet in height.
Nut Pines and Pinyons
These trees grow in west Texas. They grow well in rocky soil and don’t need much water. They are not the same but are closely related. They both grow in a triangular shape. The nut pines grow to 70 feet but commonly reach only 20 to 30 feet. Pinyons have a more rounded crown while the nut pine has a conical crown. The nut pine produces edible nuts with hard shells.
- Photo Credit pine cone on a pine tree image by MAXFX from Fotolia.com