Japanese black pine is ideal for coastal landscapes where it grows to heights of 20 feet (6 m.). When grown further inland, it can reach a remarkable height of 100 feet (30.5 m.). Read on to find out more about this big, beautiful tree.
What is a Japanese Black Pine?
Introduced from Japan, Japanese black pine trees (Pinus thunbergii) tolerate sandy, salty soil and salt spray much better than native species. This makes it a valuable asset to coastal landscapes. If you’re growing it in an inland setting, give it lots of room because it grows much larger. The average height of a mature tree is about 60 feet (18 m.) but can grow up to 100 feet (30.5 m.) tall in the ideal setting.
One of the first things you’ll notice about this tree is the white terminal buds that contrast beautifully with the thick masses of dark green needles. The needles are typically about 4.5 inches (11 cm.) long and bundled in pairs. The tree grows into a conical shape that is tight and neat while the tree is young but becomes loose and more irregular with age.
Japanese Black Pine Planting Information
Japanese black pine care is easy. Make sure you have an open site with lots of sunlight. The branches can spread as much as 25 feet (8 m.), so give it lots of room.
You won’t have any trouble establishing a balled and burlapped tree in an inland site with good soil, but when planting on a sand dune, buy container grown saplings. Dig the hole two to three times wider than the container and mix the sand with lots of peat moss to fill in around the roots. Sand drains very quickly, but the peat moss will help it hold water.
Water weekly in the absence of rain until the tree is established and growing on its own. Once established, the tree is drought tolerant.
Although the tree adapts to most soil types, it will need a dose of fertilizer every year or two in poor soils. If you don’t have access to a fertilizer designed for pine trees, any complete and balanced fertilizer will do. Follow the package instructions, determining the amount of fertilizer by the size of the tree. Protect the tree from strong winds for the first two years.