The Conifer, Ponderosa Pine is the most widely distributed and one of the most abundant trees in the West. The trees themselves are stately and beautiful. Named for its ponderous size, this pine has a strong, tall trunk topped by an open, irregularly shaped crown. The bottom one-half of the straight trunk is typically without branches. The crown of ponderosa pine is broadly conical to round-shaped. Ponderosa Pine has a lush green color and pleasant odor that makes it popular for ornamental plantings. On hot days, the bark of adult trees can smell like vanilla. Mature Ponderosa Pines are easy to identify by their orange-brown bark, which appears as large plates that look like gigantic jigsaw puzzle pieces.
Birds and wildlife love the Ponderosa Pine. Look for western tanagers, chipping sparrows, mountain bluebirds, flickers, and great horned owls! The Ponderosa Pine has a long life span. Ponderosa Pine taproots can go down 30 feet to reach deep moisture, which makes it a good choice in a windy site. This long needled pine is most useful as a stately specimen or for windbreak. It is a very cold hardy and drought tolerant tree.