NDSU Extension - Williams County


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Ponderosa Pine Favored Over Spruce - Nourish Your Heart for Good Health

Published February 8, 2015.
Ponderosa Pine Favored Over Spruce - Nourish Your Heart for Good Health

Ponderosa Pine


Ponderosa Pine Favored Over Spruce

Last week I promised to explain why I prefer pine, specifically ponderosa trees over blue spruces.  The answer is they are more drought tolerant, native to parts of North Dakota, more specifically to the southwest.  Because of this, they are more commonly planted in the northern plains.

Ponderosa pine has similar growth patterns as compared to blue spruce.  They both can grow upwards of 50-70 feet and have a crown width of 15-30 feet.  The crown width of the spruce may tend to be a little narrower than ponderosa pine.

Another thing I like about ponderosa pine is its tap root which anchors it in the soil much stronger than the spruce.

As with other trees, ponderosa pine does have some pest problems.  There are some disease culprits but more are associated with high humidity during the growing season or when the trees are growing tightly with other trees preventing poor air circulation.

Often I receive calls from people who think their pines are dying from diseases or insects because needles are suddenly dropping to the ground.  This is not unusual for pines because needles that are 3-5 years old commonly drop, largely due to water or high temperature stresses.  Over time these needles inside the canopy all drop and the tree then look perfectly fine, especially after next year’s growth appear.

There are a number of possible insects which can affect pines including tip moth, sawfly and giant conifer aphid.  I find the pine needle scale to be the most prevalent evidence of its presence.  It looks like small white paint droplets on the needle.

Nourish Your Heart for Good Health

Nine years ago I was given an expensive taxi ride to a Bismarck hospital because my great family doctor said my heart was not operating like it should.  What a scary experience that was.  Upon arriving at the hospital late that Halloween night the heart surgeon indicated he might have to open me up.  Fortunately he solved the problem by inserting a couple of small tubes starting at my inner thigh and ending in an important vessel just in front of my heart.  This vessel was being blocked by what most of us know as cholesterol.

The reason I am giving you this personal history is because there are things we can do to reduce the risks for a heart attack and possibly a stroke that can be fatal or debilitating.

You can learn more about how to reduce risks of a stroke or heart attack by attending a special meeting titled “Nourish Your Heart for Good Health”.  This will take place Tuesday, February 17, at 12:10 pm at the Broadway Commons Conference Room, 302 East Broadway in Williston.

This class is part of NDSU Extensions Nourishing Boomers and Beyond program.  The program is designed to provide several North Dakotans age 50 and older with information and strategies to reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases.

-Warren Froelich

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