Ponderosa Pine

Ponderosa Pine Tree

Ponderosa Pine Tree

Scientific names: Pinus ponderosa

Alternate Names: Western Yellow Pine, Blackjack Pine

Description: An evergreen, open-branched tree forming an open pyramid when young, becoming a short-conical head in age. It is native to western North America, adapted to well drained soils in Arizona and New Mexico. It occurs as dominant trees in mixed coniferous forests or as open pure stands. Ponderosa is intolerant to the heat and wind of the desert, but its adaptability and drought tolerance have brought it wide use in shelterbelts and ornamental plantings. It is moderately slow-growing, especially in early years, but is very long-lived. It has a root system with deep taproot, therefore is windfirm.
Cones: Reddish to yellow-brown elliptic cones, 3 to 8 inches long, scales thick at apex with a definite prickle.

Seeds: winged, brown-purple.

Needles: In fascicles of 2 to 5 (usually 3)

Ponderosa Pine Needles

Ponderosa Pine Needles

Bark: Brown-black and deeply furrowed when young, becoming cinnamon red-brown, irregular plates in age.

Elevation: Up to 9,000 feet

Height: 45 to 150 feet

Zones: 5 to 9

Water: 13 to 16 inches precipitation equivalent, drought-tolerant but will not tolerate high water table.

Uses: It is among the most important timber trees of the west. Its lumber is especially suited for window frames and panel doors.

Ponderosa Pine Cones

Ponderosa Pine Cones

Also widely used as a landscape tree and as the central rows of windbreaks and screens.

Wildlife: Of some importance as food and cover for many birds and small mammals, occasionally including whitetail and mule deer. Chipmunks store the cones in caches, thus aiding dispersal.

Management and Care: There are no known serious disease or insect problems, although pine tip moth and mountain pine beetle could become serious pests. Not good in desert heat & wind.

Ponderosa Pine Bark

Ponderosa Pine Bark

8 comments “Ponderosa Pine”

I have a question. Are you aware of any studies about the seasonality of ring (cambial) growth on PP in New Mexico? When does ring growth initiate in the Spring (I know it varies with soils moisture etc., but are there any ballpark studies?).

Pretty interesting facts about the ponderosa pine tree, I my self have been up at tent rocks in new mexico, and witnessed this beautiful tree.

Tips on transplanting ponderosa seedlings, please.

My family took in an excursion in Flagstaff, AZ.
The guide taught us to press our noses into the 
deep furrows of the bark where there is sap.
It smells of butterscotch!

Hi Andrew Ponderosa pines come in butterscotch, strawberry, chocolate and vanilla depending on age and condition. Pretty neat huh?! Thanks for visiting TNM! Sue

Wonderful, so glad you got to see it! Thanks, Sue

Hi Ron, sorry not that we are aware of. Thanks, SUe

Jim, Depending on the size, water the soil before you dig. You should try to dig as big of a rootball as possible to get as much of the root system as possible. Transplant as soon as possible. Thanks for visiting the TNM website, Sue

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