Pine Management

Pine Trees – the Pioneers of the Forest

Young Pine

There are numerous types of pines throughout Virginia. Loblolly, shortleaf, white, and Virginia pine are the most common and the most commercially valuable. All of these pines are “sun-loving” trees that grow best when they have full sunlight. They grow fast and outcompete other trees in areas where there has been some sort of disturbance that causes an opening in the forest. This may be a natural event like a storm blowing down trees, or a forest management event like a tree-harvesting operation. Pine seedlings become established quickly, usually in large numbers, in order to occupy the opening. However, these “pioneer” trees that become established quickly and grow fast don’t usually live as long as seedlings that grow more slowly and take a longer time to become dominant trees in the forest. If they are left unmanaged, they will likely die and create smaller openings that will be filled with slower growing, longer-lived trees.

Professional foresters can manage these pine tree characteristics to grow trees more quickly and provide a renewable, sustainable, and valuable timber resource for Virginia landowners. While pines make up only 20% of the forests, they grow fast and produce approximately 45% of the annual wood volume harvested. A planned program of forest management practices selected to establish and grow the pine trees will greatly improve the long-term management options of the forest.

Pine Management Practices

  • Site Preparation – Preparing the land for planting tree seedlings
    • Using herbicides to remove competing plants
    • Using large machines to remove competing plants and clear areas to plant
    • Using prescribed burning to remove debris and competing plants
  • Planting – Planting tree seedlings
    • Hand planting
    • Machine planting
  • Release – Competition control
    • Mechanical
    • Herbicide
  • Thinning – Removing small and/or deformed trees
    • Pre-commercial
    • Commercial
  • Fertilizing – Feeding the trees
  • Natural Regeneration – Regenerating a stand of trees using seed from trees either on-site or nearby

Additional Resources

ImageTitleIDDescriptionContent TypeViewhf:tax:document-categoryhf:tax:Media
Growing Loblolly Pine for Profit - Productivity and Financial Implications of Three Pine Competition Control Prescriptions
Growing Loblolly Pine for Profit – Productivity and Financial Implications of Three Pine Competition Control PrescriptionsFT0033

Forestry topic information sheet provides information about growing pine trees for profit based on research, comparing three possible competition control scenarios, resulting volume growth, financial projections and the timing of the practices.

Pine Planting Guide
Pine Planting GuideP00117

Brochure illustrates and explains proper planting techniques for planting bare-root pine seedlings. Printed copies available.

Planting Instructions for Your Loblolly Pine Seedling Plug - Tips for Success
Planting Instructions for Your Loblolly Pine Seedling Plug – Tips for SuccessFT0030

Forestry topic information sheet provides instructions for proper planting of a loblolly pine seedling plug.

Protect Your Pine Forest
Protect Your Pine ForestP00114

Brochure educates landowners on options available to help maintain healthy pine forests and prevent bark beetle damage including cost-sharing pre-commercial thinning and cost-sharing longleaf pine restoration. Printed copies available.

Viewfinancial-assistance-forest-health forest-healthpublication
Reforesting Cutover Timberland - Pine… A Good Investment
Reforesting Cutover Timberland – Pine… A Good InvestmentFT0004

Forestry topic information sheet provides guidance to landowners about reforesting their cutover timberland, including planning, site preparation, planting, and checking survival. Printed copies available.

Seedling Price Guide
Seedling Price GuideP00139

Brochure provides a listing of seedling species available for sale at our state Nurseries and current pricing. For more detailed species information and to order online, visit our Web Store. Printed copies available.

The Value of Pine Production - An Analysis of Investment
The Value of Pine Production – An Analysis of InvestmentFT0021

Forestry topic information sheet discusses the value of producing pines, including starting with a plan, growing pines, pine as an investment, and getting started.