COMMON NAMES: PONDEROSA PINE, WESTERN YELLOW PINE
Pinus ponderosa (PIE-nus pon-der-ROE-sah)
Pinaceae (Pine Family)
HEIGHT: 80 to 100 feet
SPREAD: 20 to 30 feet
FINAL SPACING: 20 to 30 feet
NATURAL HABITAT AND PREFERRED SITE: In Texas, growing primarily in the Chisos Mountains but there are some growing in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. It appears to be a tree that can adapt to a wide range of soils as long as the drainage as good.
IDENTIFICATION INFORMATION: This dramatic pine tree has a narrow, open crown, tall straight trunk and needles borne in tufts on the ends of branches. Distinctive bark.
FLOWERS AND FRUIT: Male cones are bright brown about 1 ½ inches long near the branch tips. Female cones are reddish and round about ¼ of an inch long. Fruit ripens in late summer to early fall. Short stalked cones approximately 3 to 5 inches, light reddish-brown, scales have small prickles.
BARK: Bark is dark brown, almost black when young, turns reddish with maturity and becomes deeply furrowed. A vanilla smell is detectable from close inspection of the bark.
FOLIAGE: Leaves are born in tufts at the end of branches. Needles in clusters of 2 or 3, sometimes as many as 5. Young foliage is dark green, older needles become yellowish to blue green, 4 to 11 inches long. Needles smell like citrus when crushed.
CULTURE: Ponderosa pine is usually found at high altitudes in western mountains but the tree does seem to adapt to well-drained soils in other parts of Texas.
PROBLEMS: Parasitic dwarf mistletoe is the most commonly mentioned pest but can be controlled with Sick Tree Treatment.
PROPAGATION: By seed.
INSIGHT: Seeds and young foliage are eaten by several species of wildlife.