I collected this pine a little over a year ago on my parents’ property in the Texas hill country. An arborist told my dad he had a few Loblolly pines growing there, so I’ve assumed it to be a Loblolly all this time.
In a recent Forum Q+A post, it was noted this may, in fact, be a different species, citing its “smooth bark” and “long spindly buds”. I’ve since read that a Loblolly rarely has two needles per fascicle. My tree is a two-needle pine. Here are a few pictures, please let me know what you think. I can provide more if it will help. Thanks in advance!
I think it could be a mountain pine (pinus mugo) that sometimes has such a smooth bark, but I can’t say for sure
I think we can rule Mugo out, I wouldn’t expect to find those in the Texas wilderness.
I commented on the forum Q&A post since I grow Loblolly and I’m going to post some pics for comparison. Your tree almost looks like my Eastern White pine, but the 2 needle growth throws that out. I would have suspected Southwestern White pine based on your location had it not been for that. Needles are also too long and delicate for any of the Pinyon types. There are some varieties of Mexican pine, but I think those are mainly 3 needle based on what I could find from Google.
Once the buds form, try to get close up pics so we can see size, shape, and coloration of the bud. A cone forming would also go a long way in helping to identify.
Here are some pics of juvenile Loblolly in their 3rd season:
You can see the bark is already getting flaky and rough:
Close-up of the growing tips:
And a needle bundle:
Yes, that’s certainly true in Texas, the mugo certainly doesn’t grow I’m sorry, I only saw the trunk and the long needles because I thought it looks like my pinus mugo
Here is a pair of photos of new growth, though I’m not sure they’re buds? Maybe this will help
Have you tried this Texas A&M Forest Service - Trees of Texas - List of Trees or some Texas pine trees dictionary?
I think you’ve got an Afghan pine on your hands. It’s a two needle variety that starts with the same smooth grey bark, has the same bulbous buds with red striping, and branches that pop straight out of the trunk at 90 degrees like EWP. It’s grown in Texas as Christmas trees and there seem to be several large nurseries that grow them.
That’s the closest match I can find.
@CoffeeCherry , yes I’ve read about a few species there but didn’t conclude anything. Just now I used their ID by Leaf feature and narrowed it down to a Loblolly or Slash pine.
The Slash is a two-needle pine, so that checks out. But I’ve read the Loblolly can be a two-needle pine on occasion. What keeps tripping me up is the bark. I’ve googled for young, nursery pine trees of different species and so many have brown, mature-looking bark, like what @chuckwheat shared above. Perhaps the tree is too young to compare bark, but I’ve not seen anything like it.
@chuckwheat , thanks for the note! I was typing my reply at the same time you posted yours, I didn’t see it beforehand. Interesting find. A quick Google search found this video of an Afghan pine. That’s the closest thing I’ve seen to the right bark, but the needles are very short compared to mine. The tree in the video is quite a bit older and the needle length could be a result of its progression as a bonsai. Reading more about them now… could be!