Ponderosa Pine Care Sheet

Ponderosa pine (Blackjack, Bull, Western yellow pine) grow in the dry western United States.

Soil: Ponderosa pine can grow in both alkaline and acid soils -- pH 4.9 to pH 9.1 -- and on a wide variety of soil textures and types. This is the important part, the amount of water a tree can harvest from the soil depends on how well the roots grow. Ponderosa pine develops more roots in coarse- or medium-textured soils, rather than fine-textured clay soils. In clay soils, roots seldom go down more than 3 feet, while in open well-drained soils, roots extend for 6 feet or more. Ponderosa pines growing on clay soils are more prone to waterlogging problems because of poor drainage A.

Watering: Seedling ponderosa pines require regular deep watering through the first three years of their lives, especially during summer months. The young plants send out deep tap roots -- up to 20 to 30 inches long -- which help anchor them and enable them to use deeper soil moisture. They also develop a wide spreading root system closer to the soil surface. Supplement natural precipitation from May through the fall months to keep the soil moist but not overly wet. This allows proper root development A. Let the top of the soil dry out before watering again.

Sunlight: Ponderosa requires full sun.

Fertilize: When fertilizing overuse of nitrogen can cause the tree to push out weak growth and may lead to the trees death. Most recommendations are for use of organic fertilizers. There are manufactured conifer fertilizer. Most feedings are done from April to June when the conifers growth is most active.  

Note: We are striving for the ideal growing conditions. Ideal conditions for Ponderosa are very narrow. This is a tree for experienced horticulturalists.  

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