Happy Thursday! Is everyone ready for this week's feature? It's gonna be big... "Bonanza" big! You may recognize the name, but no, I'm sorry it has much less to do with the Cartwrights and Virginia City than you think. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure the ranch had some of these trees hanging around. This week's feature is called the Ponderosa pine.
The Ponderosa pine is one of the Southwest's tallest and longest living trees, often living past 500 years old. Through the first 150 (ish) years of it's life, the pine's bark is nearly black and begins to turn a rusty-orange color as it matures. It's scaly bark has been rumored to smell like vanilla or butterscotch to some individuals.
Given full sunlight, the tree can grow 1-2 feet each year. It also develops a deep tap root which allows itself to stabilize and resist wind. Individuals often consider this tree when planning for windbreaks or buffer strips, not to mention planting for it's unique look as well.
The Ponderosa pine was also highly utilized by the Native American population. By tradition, most each part of the tree was used. From the outer bark to the inner gum, no part of the tree went wasted.
If a tree was cut to make a new canoe, the leftovers were carefully kept. The seeds of the tree were often eaten raw while the young cones were boiled for food. The outer bark of the tree was harvested in early spring as a sweet treat on special occasions.
Not only will it's lumber beautifully furnish your house, but it will also provide the planted area with stability and hardiness. What I find most interesting about this tree's stout persona is it's ability to withstand the worst conditions. Living in Minnesota, "the worst" seems common.
Once established, this tree can survive through most anything. It's drought tolerant and withstands plantings at higher elevations (thanks to it's mountain heritage), extreme temperatures, even wildfire!
Until next time, we hope to see you soon. Thanks for reading!