Ponderosa pine trees are well known throughout the western regions of the United States where they survive drought and thrive in mountainous conditions. They are hardy to USDA zones 3 to 7, regardless of altitude. Though often found in the mountains, these evergreen trees do well in urban environments when given the overhead space they need. Ponderosa grow quite high, reaching mature heights of 100 feet or more. They grow at a medium pace and a grower can expect their ponderosa to grow between 13 and 24 feet per year. When you plant a ponderosa pine you can expect the tree to last for generations. Their recorded lifespan is up to 300 years. While alive, the evergreen trees display the expected needle-like leaves of most evergreen foliage. The needles extend up to 7 inches and persist for up to five years before dropping. The needles grow in clusters at the tips of bare branches that also produce cones. Often used as windbreak or for buffer strips, the tree is aromatic and attractive to birds and wildlife. Birds and wildlife feast on cones and needles. The tree itself is easy to maintain. Its deep taproot makes the ponderosa drought tolerant and sturdy while its self-pruning branches require little attention. The ponderosa's shape changes throughout its lifespan. When maturing, the tree has cylindrical, somewhat irregular shape. The mature tree forms a traditional pyramid shape often seen in holiday trees. Its bark is brown and patchy when young, but mature trees have a yellow bark that can be up to 4 inches thick. Along with the tree's needles, the bark is aromatic as well. Tall reaching ponderosa pines are a sight to behold in the winter months, when they are coated with snow. Even in drier and warmer climes, the ponderosa pine is a stately tree.