Found in high and dry mountain habitats from Pennsylvania and New Jersey south through the Blue Ridge Mountains in Tennessee, the Carolinas and Georgia, Table Mountain Pine (Pinus pungens) is a common tree of rocky ridges and dry outcrops and areas routinely hit by forest fires. There are substantial table mountain pine groves in the Great Smokies, on exposed southern and western slopes over dry sandstone and granite rock.
Table mountain pine tolerates the driest sites of any Eastern pine, commonly growing in stands on dry, nutrient-poor granite and shale rock. On these sites, table mountain pine remains a small tree, bushy and gnarled from the exposed growing conditions. However, planted as an ornamental in richer loam soils, table mountain pine can grow into a very large tree - Some have been recorded nearly 100 feet tall with 2-foot diameter at breast height.
Needles of table mountain pine are typically a light green cast. The needles grow 2 to a bundle and are 2-4 inches long and are noticeably twisted, with a pleasant tangerine scent. Large, stout prickly cones remain firmly attached to the branches for years, and often appear when the tree is very young. A strongly fire-adapted tree, table mountain pine's cones will usually remained closed until hit by heat from a fire, which opens the cones and causes the seed to scatter. For propagation, the cones can also be opened in a warm oven at about 150 degrees.
Table mountain pine is a highly ornamental native pine - Trees become twisted and gnarled with age, especially in exposed locations, almost looking like natural bonsai. The trees are resistant to deer and rabbit damage, due to the long, sharp needles. Though susceptible to the native pine bark beetle, Table Mountain pine is resistant to the diseases that plague the overplanted Scots and Austrian pines, making it a good replacement in the East.
Here in the Lower Midwest, Table Mountain Pine has proved to be hardy and adaptable, taking our occasional droughts and high winds with ease. They are excellent mixed in with Pitch and Virginia Pines for reforesting degraded land with shallow, dry soils. Table mountain pine is a good replacement for Red Pine, as well, which doesn't take the heat of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic very well.
Table mountain looks great planted on a hillside in wide groves - Mix it with Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum) and Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) for a highly ornamental yet native planting. Young pine forests attract all kinds of birds, and are especially favored by Ruffed Grouse.
Plant table mountain pine in rich, well-drained soil for best growth - Good companion plants are Scarlet Oak, Chestnut Oak, Sourwood, Mountain Laurel, Carolina Rhododendron, Southern Bush-Honeysuckle, Wintergreen, Trailing Arbutus, Galax, and Appalachian Sedge. Once established, table mountain pine can grow 2-3 feet per year in good soils, often less than 6 inches per year in very poor, dry soils.
Full sun is a must for good growth, as table mountain pine is not shade tolerant at all. For very hot, windy exposed sites where little else will grow, table mountain pine is an excellent choice. Planted in groves, table mountain pine gives off a nice piney scent in the warm sun.
This year's stock comes from seed gathered in the mountains of West Virginia.
Our Table Mountain Pine Seedlings are grown in Quart SuperPlugs - They average 12 inches tall, and have excellent root systems for quick establishment.
|Common Name:||Table Mountain Pine|
|Botanical Name:||Pinus pungens|
This is not an easy species to find for purchase! The seedlings were beautiful. Very healthy.
Trees were very green without dead needles. Root growth was fantastic.
Only place I could find table mountain pine. Pine were packaged well and arrived in good shape. Soil was still moist. Would buy from Greentec nursery again.