WSU Clark County Extension

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Ponderosa Pine

Scientific name: Pinus ponderosa

Type:Coniferous trees
Plant Requirements
Zone:3 to 8
Sun:Full sun
Plant Characteristics
Height:100 ft
Width:40 ft
Additional Characteristics



Wildlife value

Description Ponderosa Pine is distributed from southern British Columbia through Washington, Oregon and California, and east to the western portions of Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. In the forestry trade it is also referred to as Western Yellow Pine.

Ponderosa Pine,a Northwest native conifer,can grow to well over 100’ in height. Younger trees have a narrow crown but older ones can branch out to 40’ across.

Needles are borne in bundles of 2-3, with the latter more common. The needles are long (7” is common) and stiff. They are typically yellow green in color. They can survive for as long as 5 years before being shed.

Both male and female cones are borne. The former are orange and yellow and are borne in small clusters near the tips of the branches. The female cones are oval and woody. They are typically 4” long with a sharp prickle at the tip of each scale. Male cones release their pollen from April through June of their first year. The pollen is carried by the wind.

The bark of a mature tree is characteristically orange-brown with a scaly plate-like appearance.

This species needs full sun to prosper. It likes a well-drained moist deep site, but once established it can withstand drought. It prefers alkaline sites which are found all through the inter-mountain West.

Bark beetles are naturally present in all stands. Un-thrifty trees can be killed by heavy beetle infestations.
For assistance, contact Dr. Charles Brun (, (360) 397-6060 5701
Computing and Web Resources, PO Box 6234, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-6234