The southern yellow pine tree, also known as the longleaf pine, does indeed have very long needles, three to a bundle, that are often put to good use as Christmas decorations when cut.
Description of southern yellow pine tree: Young trees go through a long 'grass stage' in which they remain at ground level, with no trunk, until their long taproot is fully developed. They then produce a trunk and branches and, for another few decades, have a triangular growth pattern. At maturity, they lose their lower branches and form a rounded top on a straight trunk that reaches up to 80 feet in height. The persistent needles are striking in length: up to 18 inches long, although 8 to 15 inches is the average. The cones, up to 12 inches long, may remain on the tree for 20 years.
Growing southern yellow pine tree: The southern yellow pine prefers full sun and sandy soils with good drainage. It grows poorly in heavy soils and is difficult to transplant.
Uses for southern yellow pine tree: This tree is interesting for backgrounds and windbreaks.
Southern yellow pine tree related species: The pitch pine (Pinus rigida) has an appearance similar to the Southern yellow pine, but with shorter needles. It is a better choice for colder climates.
Scientific name of southern yellow pine tree: Pinus palustris