Virginia Pines are messy. Just generally messy lookin’ trees. Walk through the woods, see a pine, think it needs some trimming’, it’s probably a Virginia Pine. Unlike the other three common Piedmont Pines, they don’t self prune, meaning that they keep their lower branches even after they’ve stopped being of any use and are in fact dead. It’s really the easiest way to ‘id them.
The cones look similar to a Shortleaf’s, and they have two needles per fascicle, also like a Shortleaf. But Shortleaf are generally neater looking trees, with a nice bare trunk. So go with that.