The slash pine tree (Pinus elliottii) is native to the southeastern United States. Valued for its hard yellow wood, this tree is an important commercial product for that region of the country. Slash pine trees grow very quickly--up to 2 feet per year--and can live as long as 200 years. They are attractive trees and desirable to home gardeners for their ability to grow in just about any type of soil and provide quick shade. The tree can also be used to control erosion. Slash pines are not cold-hardy and can only be grown in climates with relatively mild winters.
Choose a planting site that is exposed to full sun. These trees prefer warm, humid weather and should have at least six, preferably eight or more, hours of sunlight per day. Slash pines should not be planted under other trees or near objects that will cast shade onto them.
Examine the soil by using a pH testing kit to make sure it is not too alkaline. While these hardy trees can grow in a wide range of soils, including sandy or clay, they prefer loose, loamy soils rich in organic matter and cannot tolerate salty soil. Soil that is consistently moist is best.
Plant the seedling by digging a hole as large as the root ball. Place the tree in the hole and backfill it with the removed soil. Tamp the soil down and water the tree thoroughly. The best time to plant these trees is in early fall. This allows their long taproots a chance to become established before they really start growing the next spring.
Maintain the area around the young trees. Water enough so that the soil is constantly moist during the tree's first year of growth. Keep it free of weeds. A layer of mulch (2 to 3 inches) will inhibit weed growth and maintain moisture. But do not let the mulch touch the trunk, as this can transfer any fungal disease that might be dormant in the mulch.