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Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.
Robert A. Heinlein

Ponderosa

Ponderosa in native habitat. Due to it's drought tolerance, Ponderosa is the lowest band of trees as you go up a mountain side. It's thick bark gives it good resistance to grass fires. It has good tolerance of rocky soils.

Ponderosa

These are the male pollen cones. Typically these are in the lower half of the tree. The female cones are in the top third. Since wind doesn't travel up, this reduces the chance of self fertilization

Ponderosa

These are the seed cones. They stay on the tree until the seeds are released -- unless taken down early by squirrels.

Ponderosa

A young tree growing on a south facing slope. The trees lower down are probably Douglas Fir, Spruce, or Western Larch. This slope is too dry for them.

Ponderosa

Pondies get big. Don't hold your breath though. That one is likely 400 years old.

Ponderosa

Wouldn't you like to have this one in your back yard when you were a kid. What a great climbing tree or place for a tree fort.

Ponderosa

Ponderosa Grove

What more reason than this do you need to plant pondies?


Ponderosa Pine

Pinus ponderosa

Ponderosas are the reason I got started in trees. I wanted a couple for the yard, and I couldn't find one at any garden centre. Indeed, all the trees in garden centres seemed to be for wussy little city yards where there's not room to swing a cat. (Not sure why you'd want to. I'm sure most cats would object. Both of mine certainly would.)

Pine in yard

Young ponderosa in my yard. The carpet surpresses weeds. I can mow right over the edge of the carpet. (It's spiked to the ground. You don't want to run carpet through your lawn mower. I know)


Driving around the acreages I saw how the developers did it. They would start by dozing everything down to subsoil. Plant their mushro ... houses on the naked dirt, and let the new owners buy dirt and start from scratch. Acres and acres of lawn.

I figure that these people are going to get sick of mowing lawn. And some of them will realize that they don't have to have trees that look like decorations from a model railroad.

So I started growing ponderosas. And black poplar. And white pine. This year I've got weeping willow coming in. It's just a bit too cool here for Sequoia or western red cedar.

Ponderosa Pine

Batch of ponderosa in the pot yard.


Ponderosa Pine

20 inch or so ponderosa in 2 gallon Stuewe pot.

Anyway, I'm getting side tracked. Ponderosas start slowly, only about 6-8 inches a year for the first 10 years. Then they take off, and will grow about as fast as a white spruce.

Needles are long, 5-6 inches long. Branches on the lower part of the tree self prune so that after the tree is 40 feet or so high, only the top half to two-thirds has branches. Bark on older trees forms large rusty coloured plates separated by dark grooves.

Zone: Reportedly zone 4. I've been growing them here in zone 3. City of Edmonton has a grove in Mill Creek Ravine, and in a small park at the corner of University Ave and 112 Street (Braithwaite Park)

Sun: Full sun.

Soil: Well drained gravely/sandy soil. Glacial till is ideal.

Water: Water monthly while getting established.

Fertilizer: Light feeder. Use 1/4 to 1/2 standard dose.

Notes: Because this tree gets to house crushing size, recommend that you keep it away from the house. Good boulevard tree for either side of driveway, or as a pair of sentry trees at your entrance.


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Sherwood's Forests is located about 75 km southwest of Edmonton, Alberta. Please refer to the map on our Contact page for directions.