How to Grow Japanese Black Pine


The Japanese black pine (Pinus thunbergiana) grows up to 25 feet in height with a spread of up to 35 feet. The tree produces irregular growth patterns that give it a unique appearance in the landscape. The evergreen needles appear dark green on contorted and twisted tree limbs. The needles measure 5 inches in length. Branches are tipped with new growth known as "candles" which look silver in color. The tree is exceptionally hardy and thrives in adverse conditions where other trees often perish or refuse to grow.

Step 1

Choose a planting location that offers full sunlight. The Japanese black pine will withstand salt spray and grows successfully along the ocean. It has been successfully grown to stabilize sand dunes because of its high tolerance for sand and salt.

Step 2

Space trees 10 to 20 feet apart when planting to produce a hedge, windbreak or privacy screen. Space trees at least 40 feet from any building or fence to offer the tree ample room to spread.

Step 3

Plant in well-draining soil. The tree will easily grow in a wide range of soils--even sand and clay with a pH of 8.0 have no adverse affect on the tree's growth. No additional organic material is needed.

Step 4

Dig a hole twice as large as the tree's root system. Plant the tree at the same soil level it was planted at in its nursery container. Tamp the soil down around the tree to remove all air pockets.

Step 5

Water the Japanese black pine tree weekly until established. Once established, the tree will withstand long periods of drought with ease.

Step 6

Prune the tree each spring by removing half of the candles that appear. Removing the candles will encourage the tree to produce side shoots, giving a fuller- and bushier-looking tree.


  • Floridata: Pinus thunbergii
  • University of Florida: Japanese Black Pine
  • North Carolina State University: Pinus thunbergii
  • University of Florida: Pinus thunbergii

Who Can Help

  • USDA: Pinus thunbergii
Keywords: Japanese black pine, black pine care, black pine planting, Pinus thunbergii

About this Author

Kimberly Sharpe is a freelance writer with a diverse background. She has worked as a Web writer for the past four years. She writes extensively for Associated Content where she is both a featured home improvement contributor (with special emphasis on gardening) and a parenting contributor. She also writes for Helium. She has worked professionally in the animal care and gardening fields.