Forests & Forestry
Throughout the South the amount of timberland — about 182 million acres — exceeds the amount of cropland and pasture combined. Approximately one-third of all land in the South is covered with pine trees. Loblolly pine is by far the most abundant pine species. Its natural range in cludes the 12 southern states from Texas to Virginia, as well as Maryland and Delaware.
Loblolly pine has spread remarkably in the South east, growing quickly and forming pure stands in aban doned agricultural fields. For this reason, it is also known as “old field pine.”
The early colonists called a moist depression, swamp or mudhole a “loblolly.” Hence, pine that flourished in such an environment acquired this not-too-flattering name, even though it grows equally well on drier, inland soils.
There are several good reasons to consider a loblolly pine plantation. The soils of the Southeast are quite sandy and often low in the nutrients required for hardwood growth or agricultural crops. Loblolly pine grows well in such soils. Land suitable for loblolly often has few other profitable agricultural uses. Loblolly pine grows more rapidly than any other southern yellow pine species. On an average site, loblolly pine will reach 55-65 feet in 25 years.
Loblolly pine cannot compete successfully for sunlight, moisture and nutrients with hardwood species. However, in the South, fires are common, and the loblolly's resistance to fire damage gives it an edge over hardwoods.
Loblolly pine is grown for products such as sawlogs and pulpwood, and is the primary species used by the paper industry. More than half of U.S. wood pulp supplies come from southern pines, of which a large portion is loblolly.
"PB1466 Tree Crops for Marginal Farmland - Loblolly Pine," The University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service, PB1466-2M-3/99 (Rev) E12-2015-00-182-99, http://trace.tennessee.edu/utk_agexfores/4