How to Grow Pine Trees in Eastern South Dakota


Pine trees belong to the Pinaceae family. The most prolific pine in eastern South Dakota is a native of the area, the Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa). Although East River areas boast fertile soil, the Ponderosa pine thrives in a variety of soils and is drought-tolerant in maturity. The U.S. Department of Agriculture claims that the Ponderosa pine will reach a height of 165 feet and can live from 300 to 600 years. Keep this in mind when choosing a planting location for your pine tree.

Step 1

Collect the pine cones in October and November. The U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests placing them on a canvas tarp in a well-ventilated area to dry. Seeds will drop from the dry cones. Researchers at the University of Washington state that freshly collected seeds have no dormancy and may be planted immediately. This is especially true if planting the Ponderosa pine in eastern South Dakota.

Step 2

Pull all weeds from within a five-foot radius of the planting site. This area will need to be kept weed-free for the first three years of the tree's life.

Step 3

Loosen the soil in the planting area by digging into it with the gardening fork and turning it. Dig down to a depth of 10 inches and crush any big clumps of dirt.

Step 4

Sow the seed, two inches in depth. Tamp the soil with your hands.

Step 5

Place a three-inch layer of mulch over the planting area. You may also want to mark the area so that you will remember where you planted the seed.

Step 6

Water the area well and allow the seed to overwinter in the ground. When temperatures in the spring have warmed to at least 65 degrees F, the seed will germinate.

Step 7

Replace the mulch when the sapling is five inches in height, but keep it two inches away from the bark. One to two inches of fresh mulch, completely surrounding the tree, is sufficient.

Step 8

Keep the sapling moist at all times. There is generally adequate rainfall in eastern South Dakota in the spring, but the tree may require supplemental irrigation in the heat of the summer.

Things You'll Need

  • Canvas tarp
  • Gardening fork
  • Mulch


  • U.S. Department of Agriculture: Ponderosa Pine
  • South Dakota Department of Agriculture: Pines of South Dakota
  • ‭Landscape Management:‭ ‬Planting and Maintenance of Trees,‭ ‬Shrubs and Turfgrass‭; ‬James R.‭ ‬Feucht and Jack D.‭ ‬Butler‭; ‬1988
Keywords: pine South Dakota, pines South Dakota, plant pine trees

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations, worldwide. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.