Life History & Disturbance Response of Pinus elliottii slash pine
Guild: opportunistic, long-lived intolerant
Functional Lifeform: large evergreen conifer
Ecological Role: best growth occurs on deep, well-aerated
soils that supply moisture throughout the growing season; also successful
on drier sites if young trees are protected from fire; gradually replaced
by more tolerant hardwood species
Lifespan, yrs (typical/max): 150/200
Shade Tolerance: intolerant
Height, m: 24-30
Canopy Tree: yes
Pollination Agent: wind
Seeding, yrs (begins/optimal/declines): 10/20/150
Mast Frequency, yrs: 3
New Cohorts Source: seeds
Flowering Dates: early spring
Flowers/Cones Damaged by Frost: no
Seedfall Begins: early fall
Seed Banking: up to 1 yr
Cold Stratification Required: no
Seed Type/Dispersal Distance/Agent: winged/ to
100 m/ wind
Season of Germination: fall if moisture is adequate
Seedling Rooting System: taproot
Sprouting: does not sprout
Establishment Seedbed Preferences
Substrate: mineral soil
Light: overstory shade
Moisture: moist required
Fire: Slash pine thrives in a regime of frequent,
low-intensity fire. Before fire suppression, fires occurred once or twice
per decade, and were particularly frequent in the south Florida variety.
Fires were ignited by lightning in late spring and summer. These fires
reduced hardwood competition and exposed mineral soil, enhancing germination.
Slash pine is highly tolerant of crown scorch and has thick, platy bark
that dissipates heat. It is not susceptible to mortality from low- to moderate-intensity
fires at a very early age (5-6 years), although short-term growth reduction
may occur at high levels (>40%) of crown scorch. Seedling establishment
may occur from seeds of surviving trees onsite or from offsite seeds carried
by wind. Prescribed fire is an important tool in slash pine management.
It is used periodically at short intervals throughout the life of a stand
to reduce fuel hazards and competition from hardwoods, eliminate root rot
fungus, and to expose mineral soil for seedbeds.
Weather: Slash pine is susceptible to ice damage
and to windthrow on shallow soils.
Air pollution: Slash pine is intermediate in sensitivity
to ozone. Under controlled fumigation with ozone, slash pine seedlings
exhibited reduced height growth and biomass accumulation, but variable
change (some increase, some decrease) in photosynthesis rates.