4 Distinct Types of Pine Trees in Colorado

Although Colorado is known mostly for its mountains, the state has a lot of different trees as well, ranging from firs and spruces to oaks and pines. Indeed, the state has the perfect weather for these and many other types of trees, making them easy to grow and perfect to dress up the area outside your home or commercial office or dotted across landscapes throughout the entire state.

It is easy to find out about all of the trees that do well in Colorado because the state itself has numerous websites that provide the advice and assistance you need to get started. Whether you want more trees planted in your backyard or in the front of your retail business or restaurant, you can get the help you need before you arrive at the nursery because the state is there to help make sure that you get something perfect every time.

Pine trees are evergreens and coniferous resinous trees that grow up to 260 feet in height, although the average pine tree gets to roughly 150 feet tall. They are able to live for anywhere from 100 to 1000 years, and they have four types of leaves, one of them being the needles. For more details on pines that are specific to Colorado, keep reading.

1. Pinyon Pine (Pinus edulis)

Pinyon pines Pinus edulis
GC NP Pinyon pines (Pinus edulis)

Also known as the pinyon pine tree, these trees are found mostly in the southwestern part of the United States. They have a pleasant aroma when the wood is burned and contain nuts that used to be a staple food for Native Americans. 

There are eight species listed under this category along with four species in Mexico. The nuts of the trees provide a lot of food for various wildlife, making this a very valuable tree indeed. The trees usually get from 33 to 66 feet in height and have stout needles that grow in pairs.

2. Limber Pine (Pinus flexilis)

Pinus flexilis Limber Pine
Laura Camp Pinus flexilis Limber Pine

This tree is sometimes called the Rocky Mountain white pine and gets up to roughly 65 feet high, although some of them get as tall as 80 feet in height. It has soft, lightweight wood and long, dark needles. It is found mostly in areas with high elevations. Limber pine nuts are also a great source of food for a lot of wildlife, including the red squirrel and American black bear.

In addition to areas such as Colorado, these trees can also be found in the northwestern part of the United States and into Canada.

3. Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa)

pinus ponderosa in summer
J Brew Pinus ponderosa (Ponderosa pine) in summer

This pine tree can get to over 230 feet high and can have a circumference of up to 27 feet. It is a very attractive tree that is often found in large public areas such as parks and gardens. In fact, the tallest Ponderosa pine has a recorded size of 268 feet in height, making it the second-tallest tree next to the sugar pine. 

With bright green needles and brownish-black bark, the Ponderosa pine is also a very attractive tree that will lend some ambiance to any outdoor area it is in.

4. Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia)

Lodgepole Pine Pinus Contorta Var. Latifolia
Matt Lavin Lodgepole Pine (Pinus Contorta Var. Latifolia)

Also called a shore pine or twisted pine, the lodgepole pine is characterized by its very resinous needles and cones that have prickles on the scales. These trees get to 130 to 160 feet and have very strong branches that are thick and hang down and are very difficult to break.

This type of pine wood has many uses, including the manufacturing of various timber products used in construction and for medicinal uses in some cultures. There are also four subspecies that fall under this category. It can even grow as a shrub that gets up to 10 feet high depending on the subspecies.