Typical growth rates may not hold true .
|Ponderosa pine needles|
(2 or 3 per bundle) and cone
I read an extreme illustration of this fact in the October, 2001, Nebraskaland magazine (Volume 79, Number 8). The article, "How Nebraska Has Changed" by James Stubbendieck, showed vintage photographs and modern photographs of the same scenes. In a comparison of two photographs of Harrisburg in western Nebraska, the author comments,
"The ponderosa pines on top of the butte have had limited growth. One of the pair of trees on the left side of the 1911 photograph remains alive, while both trees on the right side of the photograph are still living. One tree is about 12 inches tall in the 1911 photograph... It is growing in a crack in the rocks and the lack of moisture and nutrients available has resulted in the tree growing only an additional 18 inches in 87 years."
As a general rule, the ponderosa pine would grow to 75 feet in height, perhaps even 100 feet, and its spread at the crown might be 50 to 75 feet. However, the stress of this particular ponderosa's extreme circumstances has dramatically stunted its growth and will probably also dramatically shorten its life!