In the United States, telephone poles are most frequently made out of Southern pine, red pine, lodgepole pine, Western red cedar and Douglas fir trees. In the early 20th century, American chestnuts were also popular for building poles, until the species was almost wiped out by chestnut blight.
These specific trees are preferred over other species for several reasons. Their trunks grow particularly straight and taper very little from base to tip. The wood from these trees is resistant to rot and has few defects and knots, and they grow tall enough to sling wire at heights appropriate for housing and other buildings.