Loblolly Pine, an evergreen conifer, has its natural range in the southeastern United States, comprising the Atlantic Coast and Gulf Coast states from New Jersey to eastern Texas, northward to Tennessee. However, it may be planted in the warmer climates of southern Ohio as a reforestation pine tree in old fields or completely cut-over forests.
In the southern United States, it is a major timber tree that is valued for its lumber and pulpwood, and is often planted along roadsides and property borders for erosion control and evergreen ornamental value and in plantations. Loblolly Pine grows to about 50 feet tall by 30 feet wide under Ohio conditions when found in the open, with a medium growth rate. In its native range in warmer winter climates, it has a rapid growth rate and usually grows to about 80 feet tall and 40 feet wide in an isolated situation. However, it is often planted in dense, pure stands and therefore has a columnar growth habit that it maintains until it is harvested.
Its natural shape is upright pyramidal in youth, losing its lower branches with age and having a rounded crown at maturity. An alternative common name is Old Field Pine, as it readily colonizes abandoned fields when cone-bearing trees are nearby. As a member of the Pine Family, it is related to other Pines as well as the Firs, Larches, Spruces, and Hemlocks.
Planting Requirements - Loblolly Pine grows best in moist, moderately-drained soils that are acidic and deep. However, it tolerates relatively dry soils, as well as those that are permanently moist, ranging from heavy clay to good topsoil. It thrives in full sun and aggressively invades barren embankments, abandoned fields, and neglected river bottomlands. It grows in zones 6 (or southern regions of zone 5) to zone 9 and therefore is best placed in the warmer areas of southern Ohio.
Potential Problems - Loblolly Pine is somewhat susceptible to pine beetle, especially when it is planted in pure stands. However, this pine is very tough in its adaptation to environmental stresses, including heat, drought, clay soils, and moist soils. However, it is at its northernmost "non-native" range in southern Ohio, where the winters are warm from a statewide perspective, but as cold as it can tolerate from the tree's perspective.