Pine trees have lovely narrow leaves that reflect sunlight and make a relaxing sound when the wind blows through them. They can be planted close together and used for a screen or as a single specimen planting. Pine trees are evergreen so they cast dense shade throughout the year. Also, they produce seed structures, often referred to as cones, that litter the ground along with the pine needles cast off from the previous year's growth. Because of their dominant height in the landscape, up to 100 feet or more, pine trees often attract lightening and can blow over in very strong winds such as during a hurricane, a common weather event in East Texas.
Locate an area to plant pine trees that is at least 100 feet from a structure and receives six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day. Planting too close to a structure can mean a large mature pine tree falling into the structure during a high wind storm or a lightening strike.
Choose the right variety of pine tree that you would like to plant. There are several varieties of pine trees available that are suitable for East Texas, including slash pine, Loblolly pine and long-leaf pine. Long-leaf pine is the slowest-growing pine. It produces a rosette that stays very short for a number of years before growing into a tall pine tree. The Loblolly pine is fast-growing and has a desirable shape, while the slash pine is the fastest-growing, but has a rangier growth habit.
Decide how you are going to plant the pine trees. If planting in a straight line and want each one to develop into a full form but have a continuous line of shade, plant 30 feet apart. If planting for a thick screen, plant 15 to 120 feet apart. Pine trees can be planted as close as 10 feet apart, but they will grow tall and thin if planted that close together.
Dig a hole three times the size of the root ball or container in which the pine tree is planted. The hole should be deep enough to the pine tree will be planted at the same depth it was planted in its previous location or container. Look for a soil or water line at the base of the tree that is an indication of how deep the tree was previously planted if the tree is bare root or freshly dug. When refilling the hole, use only the soil that was removed from the hole with no amendments. Add water to the soil when refilling the hole to create a good seal around the roots of the tree and avoid creating air pockets that allow the roots to dry out.
Add a 1-inch layer of decorative mulch around the root base of the tree to conserve moisture. Leave a 1-inch space between the mulch and the trunk of the tree. This prevents any fungus in the rotting mulch from spreading to the newly planted tree.