Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Tuesday's Trees- Virginia Pine
We have a Virginia Pine, Pinus virginiana on our street. Most of the pines are Loblolly so this one Virginia Pine stands out. This native tree occurs in a mixed hardwood/pine forest. Originally found in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is a moderately fast grower reaching its full height of about 50- 75 feet in approximately 50 years. It is a relatively short lived tree averaging 65- 90 years -- rarely seen beyond 150 years. It has a shallow root system which can pose a problem with high winds.
Needles are small and have a twisted appearance, two per fascicle. The needles are about 1- 3 inches long –easily distinguished from the Loblolly.
Like other pines, it is monoecious. When the cones are mature, they release their seeds. The Pinus virginiana is a prolific seed producer and most seeds are dispersed within 100 feet of the parent tree. The Duke web site has great photos of the male and female cones. Empty cones can persist on the tree for as many as 15 years!!
Pests for this tree are the southern pine beetle and Virginia pine sawfly. There are some cankers and fungal problems, you can read more about them in the Silvics resource listed below.
Uses for this tree surprised me. It is listed as a preferred Christmas tree. I suppose when it is young the shape is better. It is a tall slender tree as it matures. It is a food source for many small mammals and birds. It is also a nesting area for woodpeckers as the trees age and decay.
Silvics reference and another Silvics resource --both have lots of super information and lots of details.
Virginia Tech –brief easy to read reference sheet
The USDA site with range map and photos
A Champion Tree is shown on the Remarkable Tree site.
Have not decided on next week's tree -- it will be a surprise!
words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.