The native range of slash pine. The solid black line separates (northward) the typical variety from (southward) South Florida slash pine, Pinus elliottii var. densa. (From Little, 1971.)
"Within its natural range, the distribution of slash pine was initially determined by its susceptibility to fire injury during the seedling stage. Slash pine grew throughout the flatwoods of north Florida and south Georgia. It was also common along streams and the edges of swamps and bays. Within these areas either ample soil moisture or standing water protected young seedlings from frequent wildfires in young forest.
"With improved fire protection and heavy cutting of longleaf pine (Pinus palustris), slash pine has spread to drier sites, replaced longleaf pine in mixed stands, and invaded abandoned fields. This increase in acreage was possible because of slash pine's frequent and abundant seed production, rapid early growth, and ability to withstand wildfires and rooting by hogs after the sapling stage."
Soils and Topography
"Although slash pine is adaptable to a variety of site and topographic conditions, it grows best on pond margins and in drainages where soil moisture is ample but not excessive and the soil is well aerated. Growth is unsatisfactory on deep, well drained sands (sandhills) and on poorly drained savanna soils with high water tables (crawfish flats). Growth is intermediate on inadequately drained soils. Specific factors related to height growth, and hence to productivity, vary somewhat, but the most influential are those related to the amount of water or space available to tree roots."
"Because of this intolerance, even-aged management is usually recommended for slash pine. Either the seed-tree or shelterwood system of natural regeneration may be used. Exposed mineral soil is of primary importance in establishing natural regeneration. Overstory seed trees should be removed promptly after the new seedlings are well established. Failure to do so may retard growth in height, diameter, and merchantable volume of the next crop. An alternative to natural regeneration is to clearcut and establish a new stand by planting or direct seeding."
"In areas where the natural distribution of slash pine overlaps that of the other pines, natural hybridization is usually precluded by phenology. Sand pine (P. clausa) is the earliest flowering pine and is followed by slash, longleaf, loblolly, and shortleaf (P. echinata) pines, the later of which tend to shed pollen when slash pine strobili are no longer receptive. Late flowering sand pine or early flowering longleaf pine may hybridize with slash pine. Successful artificial hybridization depends on the choice of the female parent species. There has been more successful sound seed produced in the slash × longleaf cross than in the reciprocal and no sound seeds were obtained in the sand × slash pine cross.
"Slash pine has been artificially crossed with longleaf, loblolly, shortleaf, pitch (P. rigida), and Caribbean (P. caribaea) pines. None of the offspring show potential hybrid vigor. The longleaf × slash hybrid shows the most potential because height growth begins quickly; it grows almost as fast as slash pine, self prunes well, is fairly resistant to both brown-spot needle disease and fusiform rust, and resembles longleaf pine in form and branching habit. On swampy sites in Australia there is some indication the Caribbean × slash hybrid progeny show superior yield to either parent alone. Slash × shortleaf hybrids have up to 16 percent dwarfs with some polyploids and mixoploids."
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