Content Detail

Japanese black pine has a striking, irregular form accented by its dark, lustrous green needles. This Asian native is very tolerant of salt spray and soil salt, but It may be difficult to find in nurseries.

  • Family (English) Pine
  • Family (botanic) Pinaceae
  • Planting site Residential and parks
  • Tree or plant type Tree
  • Foliage Evergreen (foliage year-round)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Small tree (15-25 feet), Medium tree (25-40 feet), Large tree (more than 40 feet)
  • Mature height 20-80 feet
  • Mature width 20-35 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, Sandy soil, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Dry sites, Road salt
  • Season of interest early winter, midwinter, late winter, early spring, mid spring, late spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer, early fall, mid fall, late fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous
  • Shape or form Pyramidal
  • Growth rate Moderate
  • Transplants well Yes
  • Planting considerations Marginally hardy, May be difficult to find in nurseries
  • Has cultivars Yes

Native geographic location and habitat: 

Japanese black pine is native to Japan and Korea.

Bark color and texture: 

The bark is dark gray and broken into rough plates.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

Leaves are evergreen needles, two per bundle and 3 to 5 inches long. The needles are densely crowded and slightly twisted.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size: 

The male and female flowers are in separate structures on the same tree (monoecious) and are inconspicuous.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

The fruits are 2 to 3 inch long woody brown cones.

Plant Care:

Japanese black pine is tolerant of heat and drought.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

Pine wilt and Zimmerman pine moth are potential problems on this tree.

Majestic Beauty® Japanese black pine (Pinus thunbergii ‘Monina’): 

This full-sized cultivar matures to 40 to 50 feet high, has a dense habit, and very dark green needles.

Thunderhead Japanese black pine (Pinus thunbergii ‘Thunderhead’): 

A dwarf cultivar that grows to about 6 feet high in ten years.


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