6 Types Of Pine Trees In Alabama (Pictures)

Alabama is generally hot and humid, which makes it the perfect climate for various species of trees. The average temperature during the summer is 79 degrees Fahrenheit, while winter rarely drops below 48.

While most people picture snow and icy conditions with pine trees, Alabama rarely sees snow. The average snowfall in Alabama is 1 inch and some years, snow does not arrive.

Alabama is home to other types of trees including maple, beech, cottonwood, and birch trees. Although there are other types of trees in Alabama, pines are the most common. 

Except for one, all pine species are found naturally growing in the northern hemisphere. They are evergreen trees since their needles fall every two years, but are quickly replaced.

Pine trees typically live longer than 100 years. The oldest pine tree ever discovered was Methuselah, a 4,789 year old bristlecone pine.

Here are 6 common pine trees found in Alabama:

1. Loblolly Pine (Pinus Taeda)

Average Size: 115 feet tall & 5 feet wide
Growth Rate: Quick (at least 2 feet per year)
Drought Tolerance: Yes
USDA Hardiness Zone(s): 6-9
Common Names: Bull Pine

Loblolly pine trees are common. They are the second most common tree in the United States and the first in Alabama.

Loblolly pines are tall trees, often growing up to 115 feet. In the best conditions, they can thrive and grow above 160 feet.

The needles grow in bundles of two or three and often twist together. Loblolly pines are between 4 to 9 inches long. They are a vibrant green but mature into a dark brown. 

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While they are common in Alabama, these resistant trees grow quickly almost everywhere in the South, including Florida and Texas.

2. Sand Pine (Pinus Clausa Chapm Ex Engelm)

Average Size: 65 feet tall
Growth Rate: Slow (less than 12 inches per year)
Drought Tolerance: Yes
USDA Hardiness Zone(s): 7-10
Common Names: Scrub Pine, Alabama Pine, and Florida Spruce Pine

Sand pine trees are native to Florida and Alabama. They have shorter lives than most pine trees, averaging about 65 years old. These trees typically grow on Alabama’s coast and Florida’s panhandle. 

It can withstand some of the worst growing conditions including infertile soil, well-drained, and sandy habitats. Needles grow in pairs between 2 to 3.9 inches long.

This plant naturally protects itself from wildfires. The pine cones remain closed until swept by a fire where the mature tree is killed and the cones reopen, spreading seeds.

Since sand pine trees bring a lot of shade and are one of the only trees to grow in sandy infertile conditions, it’s an important part of the ecosystem.

It provides shelter to many animals, including the endangered Florida Sand Sink.

3. Pond Pine (Pinus Serotina Michx.)

Average Size: 69 feet tall
Growth Rate: Slow (takes up to 18 years to reach maturity)
Drought Tolerance: Yes
USDA Hardiness Zone(s): 7-9
Common Names: Marsh Pine and Pocosin Pine

As the name suggests, pond pine trees typically grow in ponds or marshes. They are very common in Alabama, New Jersey, and Florida.

These trees are also easy to spot. They grow crookedly and bend at an angle.

The top is uneven when mature and the needles grow in bunches of three and four and reach 8 inches long. The branches typically droop down.

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Interestingly, the cones have spiky scales and require fire for germination. These trees are highly flammable.

While pond pine trees can grow past 95 feet, it is rare. They also easily live past 100 years old.

4. Longleaf Pine (Pinus Palustris Mill.)

Average Size: 115 feet tall & 18 inches wide
Growth Rate: Quick (Between 18 to 24 inches per year)
Drought Tolerance: Yes
USDA Hardiness Zone(s): 7-10A
Common Names: Southern Yellow Pine, Longleaf Yellow Pine, and Pitch Pine

Native to the Southeastern United States, longleaf pine trees grow abundantly in Florida and Alabama, although you can also find them in East Texas.

On average, these trees grow up to 115 feet tall, but before excessive logging, they easily surpass 154 feet.

Longleaf pine trees are Alabama’s official state tree. It’s easy to spot since its bark is red and dark brown.

The needles grow in bunches of 2 to 4 and are often twisted, measuring up to 17 inches long.

These pine trees are fire resistant, but also require fire for successful germination.

Longleaf pine seedlings are everywhere and more closely resemble small grassy bushes for 5-12 years. They grow quickly shortly after.

5. Eastern White Pine (Pinus Strobus L.)

Average Size: 80 feet tall & 40 feet wide
Growth Rate: Slow (less than 12 inches per year before 15 years of age and after 45, during its peak growing season it can grow up to 3.3 feet per year)
Drought Tolerance: Yes
USDA Hardiness Zone(s): 3–8
Common Names: Northern White Pine, White Pine, Soft Pine, Weymouth Pine (British)

Although rare in high elevations in Alabama, Eastern white pine trees grow well. They can also be found as far north as Canada and as South as Georgia.

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This tree is nicknamed the “Tree of Peace” by the Native American Haudenosaunee.

While some Eastern white pine trees grow in the U.K., they are not native and were brought to the region in 1605 from Maine by Captain George Weymouth of the British Royal Navy.

Eastern white pine trees grow up to 164 feet tall. Before the exploitation of these trees, they easily grew past 200 feet tall.

These trees also have long lifespans, averaging about 250 years. Some have been dated to be over 400 years old in the best growing conditions (New York).

6. Shortleaf Pine (Pinus Echinata Mill.)

Average Size: 65-100 feet tall & 4 feet wide
Growth Rate: Slow (less than 12 inches per year)
Drought Tolerance: Yes
USDA Hardiness Zone(s): 6A-9
Common Names: Yellow Pine, Southern Yellow Pine, Shortstraw Pine

No two shortleaf pine trees look identical. Some are straight, while others grow crookedly with a giant bend and irregular crown. Shortleaf pine trees are between 65 to 100 feet tall but rarely reach past 100.

The needles grow in bunches of two or three and sometimes twist. Shortleaf pines are small with thin scales and a slight prickle.

Shortleaf pine trees are common and grown throughout North America, stretching from New York to Florida. They are native to 21 states.

In Alabama, you can find this pine tree in rocky regions, sandhills, old open fields, and thick woods. It is used for many things including as a construction material and pulpwood for barrels.

Shortleaf pine trees are considered one of the hardiest and most adaptable pine trees in North America.

James Ball

James has had a lifelong passion for animals and nature, tracing back to his childhood where he first began fostering intimate knowledge and connection with pet frogs and snakes. He has since honed this interest into a career as a trained Wildlife Biologist, specializing in Biogeography, sustainability and conservation. In addition to his professional pursuits, James maintains an active lifestyle, regularly indulging in outdoor activities such as hiking, and musical pursuits like playing piano and swimming.

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