Winter Tree Study – Our Ponderosa Pines!

“Of all pines, this one gives forth the finest music to the winds.” John Muir

Ponderosa Pine Winter Tree Study

Our local forest is populated with predominately two different pines: the lodge pole and the ponderosa. Of the two, the ponderosa is my favorite! When the forest is cleared, either by man or fire, the ponderosa pines are so beautifully placed just like in a park. They give each other enough room to grow and flourish. Their colorful bark is highlighted especially with snow on the ground. We decided it was about time we took a closer look at this special tree.

Ponderosa Pine in the snow

In the winter season, with a proper frosting of snow, the ponderosa pine is like the quintessential pine of your imagination. It grows with a beautifully colored straight trunk with limbs reaching out at just the right intervals. Plus the needles are long and bundled and the cones are just the right size for holding in the palm of your hand.

ponderosa pine cones at tahoe

Image from my archives – Fun day at Tahoe

I remember learning that little trick to identifying the cones….palm size = ponderosa.

So, using our field guide, we set out to learn some new facts about the ponderosa pine. What an incredibly important tree here in Oregon! Not just for lumber but also as a part of the habitat for many birds and animals.

La Pine State Park big tree

Big Ponderosa Pine at La Pine State Park, Oregon

We just happen to have the largest ponderosa pine in Oregon not far from our house and it’s a pleasant stroll out into the forest to see it.

Ponderosa Pines in the snow

I love the habitat of the ponderosa pine and the creatures that live there. Some of my favorite family times hiking have been under these amazing trees not just here in Oregon but in California, Utah, and Nevada.

Ponderosa Pine nature journal


You can read our ponderosa pine cone study here: Ponderosa Pine Cone. You can download the printable notebook page here: Winter Cone Study.

If you would like to complete your own winter tree study this year, you can click the button below for suggestions using the Handbook of Nature Study.

“At least one pine tree should be studied in the field. Any species will do, but the white pine is the most interesting.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 674


Do you have a pine to study this season?





Here are two books I own and love. Please note they are affiliate links.

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