Ponderosa PinePinus ponderosa
The Ponderosa pine is a large, straight trunked tree with a wide, open, irregularly cylindrical crown. The narrow to broad pyramidal crown on young trees flattens out on old trees with lower branch loss. The bark on the young trees is blackish or dark red-brown and furrowed, and on mature trees yellow brown to russet broken up into scaly plates separated by deep, irregular fissures. The thick bark makes it very resistant to wild fires. Dark gray-green, olive or yellow green needles are in threes, rarely two or five. The reddish brown or tan cone scales have prickly tips. This is a yellow pine with yellow or light brown heartwood. The root system is wide spreading with a deep taproot. Moderate to rapid growth rates vary within the species. Ponderosa pine grows best in full sun and deep, moist, well drained soil, but will adapt to a wide range of soil and growing conditions including alkaline, dry, low humidity, wind,and high elevation. It is highly drought tolerant once established. It is damaged by late frosts and is intolerant of shade. Under cultivation it grows 60'-100' with a 25'-30' spread, and 150'-230' in the wild.