|Pinus ponderosa is a very tall evergreen, reaching 60 to 100 feet in cultivation, up to 230 feet in the wild. The needles are in twos, sometimes threes, 5 to 10 inches long, dark green or yellowish green. The habit is narrow, columnar, with a narrow crown. Older trees will often be lacking branches on the lower half of the tree, exposing the beautiful scaly, red-brown bark. It prefers moist and well drained soil, but can take some drought. It needs full sun, intolerant of shade, and can do well in alkaline soils. A beautiful tree for shelter belts, mass plantings, but not recommended for areas outside of which it is native. Found in western North America from British Columbia to Mexico, east to Texas.
Pines are one of the most diverse groups of evergreen conifers, over 90 species are distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere.
Although most are large trees, they can take a low growing shrub form. Pines have been very important commercially, in timber production, as well as a variety of other manufactured products such as turpentine and rosin. They tend to be more tolerant of varying soil types and urban environments than either Picea or Abies. Pines tend to develop tap roots, so one should not attempt to transplant them from the wild. All species are grown from seed, with highly variable seed stratification requirements. They can be subject to many diseases, such as damping off, root rot, dieback, blister rust, canker, blight, scale, pine needle miner, pine weevil, bark beetles and pinewood nematode. Well situated plants should be relatively trouble free.
They suffer salt damage along highways and can get tip burn in areas of high sulfur dioxide or ozone.
In general they do not require fertilization, which can cause overgrowth.