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How to Transplant a Japanese Umbrella Pine

By Larry Parr ; Updated September 21, 2017
The Japanese umbrella pine grows in an almost perfect pyramid shape.

The Japanese umbrella pine is not really a pine tree at all. It is an evergreen conifer that has survived virtually unchanged since the days of the dinosaur. The Japanese umbrella pine naturally grows at high elevations in Japan and is best suited to cool climates in the United States, primarily in zones 5 through 8A. The umbrella pine is a very slow-growing tree, which makes it ideal for small yards where a very compact, pyramid-shaped tree is desired. In 100 years a Japanese umbrella pine will grow to only about 30 feet tall and have a spread of approximately 15 feet. Because the Japanese umbrella pine is such a slow-growing pine, it transplants very well.

Find a healthy umbrella pine that is at least 9 inches tall. Dig out a large ball of earth, at least 18 inches in diameter, to get all of the root of the pine. Wrap the root ball in burlap and dampen. Transplant in the spring so the tree will have a full growing season to establish itself before winter.

Place the burlap-wrapped root ball in a large tub and soak with water for 24 hours.

Choose a location for your umbrella pine that gets only partial sun. Your umbrella pine will not do well in full afternoon sun, so choose the location for your tree with some care.

Dig a hole for your tree that is at least twice as wide as the root ball and approximately the same depth.

Carefully remove the burlap if possible without damaging the roots. Natural burlap does not need to be fully removed as it will disintegrate over time, but synthetic burlap will not and must be removed completely.

Stand your tree in the center of your hole and carefully pack a 50/50 mixture of garden soil and organic mulch around the roots of your tree. Once you have packed about halfway up your root ball, water with a garden hose to settle the soil and remove any air pockets. Continue filling the hole with your garden soil and organic mulch mixture until the roots are completely covered. Water thoroughly.

Keep the soil around your Japanese umbrella pine damp but not soaked. Your pine does not like drought conditions and grows best when kept watered regularly. Fertilize once each season with organic manure, watered into the soil.


Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Gloves
  • Organic compost
  • Water


  • The Japanese umbrella pine can grow to more than 120 feet tall, but this tree grows so slowly that after 100 years most trees are only 30 to 40 feet tall.

About the Author


Larry Parr has been a full-time professional freelance writer for more than 30 years. For 25 years he wrote cartoons for television, everything from "Smurfs" to "Spider-Man." Today Parr train dogs and write articles on a variety of topics for websites worldwide.