Whitfield Farms & Nursery specializes in growing containerized longleaf pine seedlings (pinus palustris). Our state of the art growing process contributes to a consistently high survival rate of trees. The nursery staff carefully monitors seedling growth and weather conditions every day. Nutritional additives are utilized to enhance the root system and increase the seedlings’ ability to acquire food and water. Every mature seedling is subjected to a Triple-Tier Grading System to ensure that every tree is of superior quality prior to shipping.

We have been growing all longleaf seedlings in 6″ deep cells, which are currently the deepest on the market. These have proven very successful for us over the years. However, we have designed and put into production a new 6.5″ deep tray that we think will give our seedlings a better head start. We have a limited number this year and in two years we plan to have all our longleaf grown in these new containers.

These 6.5″ deep containers have a cell capacity of 8.2 cubic inches and are lower in density per square foot.  With more room to grow, the seedlings will develop larger root systems and collar diameters. These benefits should allow the seedlings to have a much better survival rate compared to those with shorter plugs.

We use top quality seed from established pine forests.

Please see our order page for a downloadable contract form and for further information.

Atlantic Coastal Longleaf Pine – Pinus palustris

Description: Longleaf pine is an evergreen conifer that got its common name for having the longest leaves of the eastern pine species. The needlelike leaves, which come in bundles of three, can grow up to 18 inches long! Mature trees stand 80 to 100 feet tall. The single trunk, which is covered in thick, scaly bark, reaches up to 3 feet in diameter. The trees naturally prune their lower branches and grow nearly perfectly straight.

Typical Lifespan: The lifespan of a longleaf pine spans several centuries. These trees live for over 300 years, and they may take up to half that time to reach their full size.

Habitat: Longleaf pines can survive in a range of habitat types, but they prefer sandy, dry, acidic soils ranging in elevation from sea level to 2300 feet. They are shade intolerant and require sunlight to grow. When frequent fires sweep the forest, longleaf pines dominate and sometimes form pure stands.

Life History and Reproduction: Seeds develop in cones and are dispersed by wind. When they fall to ground, they must come in contact with soil to germinate. In historic times, leaf litter and debris were cleared away by forest fires that were sparked during lightning storms. When fire is suppressed, ground cover buildup prevents seeds from reaching the soil, and they can’t germinate. Those seeds that are able to take root undergo an interesting life cycle that differs from most other conifers. Rather than spending its first few years growing in height, the longleaf pine goes through a grass stage. From the surface, the grass stage plant appears to be a large clump of needles that grows very little. The real work, however, is going on underground. During the grass stage, the longleaf pine starts to develop its central root, called a taproot, which will be up to 12 feet long at maturity. After going through the grass stage, longleaf pines begin to grow in height. Both mature trees and grass stage specimens are fire resistant.



Triple Tier Grading

To ensure you receive the best containerized seedlings, Whitfield Farms & Nursery grades each plug on our Triple Tier Grading System. Our goal is to provide the best quality seedlings to ensure a superior stand of trees. Our grading system begins with harvesting the seedlings. We hand pull and examine each plug, looking for superior root growth, optimized root collar diameter, root color, Mycorrhizae, firmness, moisture, and evidence of any pests.

The second phase of our grading system is conveyor inspections. While the plugs roll in from harvest, our staff again examines each seedling. Any seedling not meeting our standards of excellence is removed from the conveyor belt and discarded.

Triple Tier Grading System’s third step occurs as the seedlings come off the conveyor. Our expert staff pulls the best quality plugs, counting each seedling and placing the appropriate number of seedlings per box.

Whitfield Farms & Nursery’s staff handles each seedling at least three times during the Triple Tier Grading System to ensure only the best plugs are delivered to our customers.

These three steps safe guard your investment by ensuring your order is top quality.