Japanese Black Pine
COMMON NAMES: JAPANESE BLACK PINE
Pinus thungergii (PIE-nus thun-BERG-ee-eye)
Pineaceae (Pine Family)
Evergreen ornamental tree
HEIGHT: 30 to 60 feet
SPREAD: 20 to 30 feet
FINAL SPACING: 15 to 20 feet
NATURAL HABITAT AND PREFERRED SITE: Native to Japan and reasonably well adapted to Texas to the deeper soils - especially the acid, sandy soils.
IDENTIFICATION INFORMATION: Japanese black pine is an irregularly-shaped pine tree that is somewhat pyramidal when young but becomes more oval and unevenly spreading with age.
FLOWERS AND FRUIT: Female flowers are inconspicuous, male catkins are noticeable in the spring. It is monoecious – both male and female flowers are on the same tree. The fruit is a light brown woody cone 1 ½ to 2 ½ inches long.
BARK: Medium to dark brown with has a heavy texture.
FOLIAGE: Dark green needles that are 3 to 4 inches long in bundles of two. They are straight, rarely twisted and harsh to the touch.
CULTURE: Japanese pine is fairly easy to grow in deep soils but it particularly likes neutral to slightly acid soils. It does not do well over white rock and gets weaker every year in that situation. It does respond to fertilizer and moisture but is fairly drought tolerant.
PROBLEMS: Chlorosis in the alkaline soils, pine tip moth and other typical pine problems once the tree is in stress. Adding large amounts of compost, Texas greensand and lava sand can help reverse soil problems. Beneficial insects are effective control of insect pests.
PROPAGATION: From seed
INSIGHT: Japanese black pine is not quite as good a choice for alkaline soils in Texas as the Austrian pine but is better than the straight-trunked east Texas pines in those situations.