I live on a piece of property where growing trees is a challenge.

That might be an understatement.  The sandy soil south of Lincoln is more conducive to growing sandburs rather than evergreens.  Still, every spring I find myself looking for the best deals on new trees that might grow in the giant sandbox of a yard that I live in.

I don't even want to think about all the money I have wasted on trees that have died.  Besides the poor soil, I also have to fight insects and spider mites which is yet another challenge.

Despite all of this I have learned a few things and I am making some progress with my trees. 

It's unlikely I will ever see tall Ponderosa Pines in my yard before I kick the bucket, but maybe they might reach Christmas tree height anyway.

It got me thinking one day, what trees live the longest in North Dakota and how about the oldest tree ever?

I came across an article on Farm Forum by Joe Zeleznik from NDSU Extention that had some interesting data on tree life in North Dakota

A very common tree in North Dakota that has a long lifespan is the Cottonwood.


I personally am not a fan of these trees.  They shed 3,4 times a year and have massive leaves.  You will be doing plenty of raking if you have a lot of these trees on your property.

The oldest cottonwood tree recorded in North Dakota was 383 years old near the Little Missouri River.

Another tree that will live a long life in North Dakota is the Bur Oak.

Rick Rider
Rick Rider

The majority of Bur Oak trees date back to settlement times in North Dakota.  Most were harvested by people needing them for building materials and fuel.

The oldest found Bur Oak was estimated to be about 450 years old in North Dakota.

That brings us to the OLDEST tree ever recorded in North Dakota.  The Ponderosa Pine.

Rick Rider
Rick Rider

Ponderosa Pines are native to southwest North Dakota. Two trees killed by a wildfire in 2004 dated back to the 1670s.

The oldest Ponderosa Pine ever recorded in North Dakota was estimated to be just over 500 years old making it the oldest tree in the Peace Garden State.

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