This page is a reference for information about Ponderosa Pine and their design uses. We have also provided links to local design codes and guidelines. If you have any links or topics you think should be added to the page to make it more useful to you and your design staff, please let us know by email at mail@spokaneponderosa.com.


Advantages of Incorporating Ponderosa Pine into Your Local Designs:


Enhances environmental sustainability:

  • Ponderosa Pine is Spokane County’s Primary Native Tree.
  • Thrives in our environment.
  • Ponderosa Pine provide the advantages of a large tree species without supplemental watering, fertilizer, or insecticides once established.
  • Drought resistant species.
  • No irrigation required after two years on new trees.
  • Ponderosa Pine provide food and habitat for native wildlife.
  • Approved for storm pond and swale planting in the city of Spokane.
  • Approved City of Spokane street tree.
  • Provides erosion control.
  • Improves our water quality.
  • Fire resistant.
  • Few Pests.

Contributes to economic sustainability and benefits:

  • Ponderosa Pine reduce long term landscape maintenance, increasing long term project profitability when compared to non-native tree species.
  • Recent surveys show that 9 of 10 real estate appraisers believe trees boost sales and add value. Large trees = 3% to 15% increase to home value.
  • Commercial areas with trees have higher occupancy & rental/lease rates.
  • Increased consumer patronage and spending. People travel farther for shopping areas with a tree canopy.
  • Storm water absorption of Ponderosa Pine alone in a study of public trees saves the City of Spokane $210,149 per year in mitigation through rain interception and storage.
  • Adjacent trees provide a reduction in building heating and cooling cost.

Promotes public health and well-being:

  • A mature tree canopy reduces our urban heat island.
  • Health benefits include a faster recovery time from illness and surgery when viewing trees.
  • The root systems of Ponderosa Pine stabilize soil thereby protecting our rivers & streams.
  • Ponderosa Pine absorb air and soil pollution.
  • Our urban forest helps our air quality through the absorption of CO2.

Builds community:

  • Ponderosa Pine contribute to the unique look of Spokane County.
  • Incorporating existing trees into site plans provides a feeling of establishment.
  • Many of Spokane County’s most popular residential areas retained Ponderosa Pine.
  • Retaining and planting Ponderosa Pine in development projects ties the project to the area’s unique look and local feel.
  • Local projects that remove or otherwise have no Ponderosa in their plant pallet typically look like they could be from any city in the country (“Anywhere USA”).

Encourages landscape awareness/stewardship:

  • Ponderosa Pine are a well loved feature in, and around, many of the public parks and open spaces in Spokane County.
  • Many areas have community groups that take personal ownership in the pine trees in their neighborhood parks (e.g. Manito Park in Spokane). These groups are very defensive of their trees.

Offers aesthetic and creative experiences:

  • Spokane County is home to a myriad of recreation opportunities in our indigenous pine forests and open spaces.
  • The Ponderosa Pine is synonymous with the region and its native beauty.


Enables people and communities to function more effectively:

  • Ponderosa Pine require less water than non-native tree species freeing up our aquifer for other uses.
  • Research shows a 10 year increase in asphalt pavement life when shaded.
  • Our Ponderosa Pine urban forest provides environmental, economic, and health benefits that improve productivity.


Suggested Specifications:


  • Specify Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa, Douglas ex C. Lawson - (North Plateau Ponderosa Pine).
  • Specify plant stock grown in the Inland Northwest from local seed.
  • Specify and verify that the root ball diameter and root structure quality meet American Standards for Nursery Stock.
  • Specify that at no time will the root ball be allowed to dry out after digging by the grower. Require a written watering schedule for stockpiled trees be included as part of the submittal package from the Contractor (already required for projects at WSU).
  • If you’re not 100% certain that wind won’t be an issue specify staking.
  • Soil amendments can be specified for Ponderosa. Fertilizer, when used, should be added to the surface, not directly in the hole.
  • Supplemental watering is a must for Ponderosa larger than seedling plug size. Supplemental watering should be for at least two years. Professional arborists suggest a minimum of three years and an additional year for every two inches of caliper.



Municipal Guidelines:


City of Spokane:


City of Spokane Valley:


City of Liberty Lake:


Spokane County:

Continued Education Slide Presentation


Ponderosa Pine, Sustainability, and Public Welfare, Spokane Ponderosa, January 4, 2013 ()


Evergreen Planting Detail:


See an example of an evergreen tree planting detail here.


Useful Links:


American Standard for Nursery Stock

American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

Washington State Chapter of the ASLA

State of Washington Department of Licensing


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