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What’s the difference between a loblolly pine tree and a longleaf pine tree?

A young longleaf pine tree is part of the scenic forest on the UNCW campus. StarNews file photo.

Physically speaking, there’s not a whole lot of difference. The biggest distinction between loblolly and longleaf pine trees are the size of their needles, said Mike Giles, coastal advocate for the N.C. Coastal Federation.

“Longleaf needles are very long and distinctive,” he said. “Loblolly are shorter.”

Years ago, Southeastern North Carolina was blanketed in longleaf pines, which were eventually cut down and replaced with loblolly trees. The loblolly grows faster, making it ideal for timber production.

“Most of the ones you see along the highways are loblollies,” Giles said. “But there is an ongoing effort to restore the longleaf pine habitat in southeastern North Carolina.”

RELATED LINKS:

Can pine straw used as mulch in planting beds pose a fire hazard?

Is it legal to rake up pine needles from a public place, such as a park, and take them home to put in my yard?

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Zack

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