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Different Kinds of Pine Trees

By John Lindell ; Updated September 21, 2017

At least one kind of pine tree is native to every state in the continental United States, with the exception of Kansas. Many pine trees in North America are important species, as they produce lumber and pulpwood, while others are suitable for landscaping purposes. Pine trees in general prefer slightly acidic soil to grow in, and multiple species of pine will flourish in soil too poor for other trees to grow in.

Slash Pine

Slash pine (Pinus elliotti) grows throughout the entire state of Florida, along the Gulf Coast as far west as Louisiana and up the Atlantic Coast to South Carolina. Slash pine can grow to 115 feet high and have a 3-foot wide trunk. Slash pine usually grows straight and, in older specimens, lacks branches on the lower trunk. The needles of this species are from 5 to 11 inches long, states the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences website. The needles grow in bundles of twos for the most part, but may sometimes appear in threes. Slash pine features 5 to 8 inch cones and an orange-brown bark. Capable of growing with little trouble in full to partial sun in moist soil, slash pine makes an excellent framing tree and is no stranger to landscaping uses in the South. The species takes its name from the practice of slashing cuts across the trunk in order to collect the resin from the tree.

Virginia Pine

The Virginia pine (Pinus virginiana) is one of the smaller pine trees in the U.S., growing to a maximum height of about 40 feet. The needles are between 1.5 and 3 inches long and grow in twos on the branches. Virginia pine is native to southern states like Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi, but grows as far north as parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania. The species has great value as a Christmas tree in the South, with genetic enhancement to the Virginia pine creating hybrids designed specifically for this purpose. Virginia pine grows best in a dry loam and requires full sun. The tree has cones around 2 inches in length that have sharp prickles on them, making them painful to handle. Many types of woodpeckers will nest in Virginia pine, states the National Christmas Tree Association website, because fungal diseases soften the wood of the older trees.

Austrian Pine

The Austrian pine (Pinus nigra) is an introduced species of pine from Europe and northwestern sections of Africa, says the Floridata website. Austrian pine grows as tall as 60 feet with a 2-foot wide trunk and has very rigid green needles as long as 6 inches. Austrian pine possesses rough, dark grayish bark, and its cones are prickly and up to 3 inches long. Grown from seedlings or from seeds in full sun, the species tolerates many kinds of soils. The Austrian pine works as an ornamental for several reasons. The tree grows quickly, has handsome foliage and in an urban setting can withstand the effects of pollution. Austrian pine is also useful in windbreaks on your property or when planted as a screen tree to give you some privacy from your neighbors.


About the Author


John Lindell has written articles for "The Greyhound Review" and various other online publications. A Connecticut native, his work specializes in sports, fishing and nature. Lindell worked in greyhound racing for 25 years.