By: Liz Baessler
Japanese red pine is a very attractive, interesting looking specimen tree native to East Asia but currently grown all over the US. Keep reading to learn more Japanese red pine info, including Japanese red pine care and how to grow a Japanese red pine tree.
What is a Japanese Red Pine?
Japanese red pine (Pinus densiflora) is an evergreen conifer native to Japan. In the wild, it can reach up to 100 feet (30.5 m.) in height, but in landscapes it tends to top out between 30 and 50 feet (9-15 m.). Its dark green needles measure 3 to 5 inches (7.5-12.5 cm.) and grow up out of the branches in tufts.
In the spring, male flowers are yellow and female flowers are yellow to purple. These flowers give way to cones that are dull brown and about 2 inches (5 cm.) long. Despite the name, the Japanese red pine’s needles do not change color in the fall, but stay green throughout the year.
The tree gets its name from its bark, which peels away in scales to reveal a showy red underneath. As the tree ages, the bark on the main trunk tends to fade to brown or gray. Japanese red pines are hardy in USDA zones 3b to 7a. They require little pruning and can tolerate at least some drought.
How to Grow a Japanese Red Pine
Japanese red pine care is relatively easy and is similar to that of any pine tree. The trees need slightly acidic, well-drained soil and will thrive in most types except clay. They prefer full sun.
Japanese red pine trees are for the most part, disease and pest free. The branches tend to grow out horizontally from the trunk, which itself often grows at an angle and gives the tree an attractive windswept look. Because of this, Japanese red pines are best grown individually as specimen trees, instead of in groves.
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List of Japanese Trees
Gardens have been an important part of Japan's history, with archaeological remains of sixth century palace gardens in evidence. Japanese gardeners developed many tree cultivars and hybrids during centuries of plant breeding, and they have been introduced to other countries. Native species of Japanese trees also grow in gardens worldwide. Japan has a mostly temperate climate, with U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones ranging primarily from 3 through 8, with some coastal areas in zone 9.
The jack pine (Pinus banksiana) reaches between 35 and 50 feet in height with spreads ranging from 20 to 30 feet. This pine variety prefers moist, loamy soils that receive full sun. It thrives in the cooler summers and cold winters of Northern Illinois. Jack pines feature slightly pyramidal forms and red-brown bark. Short, olive green leaves sometimes turn yellow during the winter. The pine cones frequently stay closed for more than 10 years. Jack pines planted in hot climates often suffer from rusts and needle casts. The jack pine budworm often feeds on the foliage. Gardeners frequently use this tree in windbreaks.
- Pine trees, evergreens in the Pinaceae plant family, typically feature needle-like leaves and pine cones.
- The jack pine budworm often feeds on the foliage.
Pests and Bugs
The 'Red Dragon' is generally a healthy plant without serious insect or disease problems. If you've planted it in poorly draining soil, you may see different types of fungal diseases or root rots. Your best bet is to transplant it quickly.
Potential insect pests include aphids and scale. Aphids are small, plump insects that suck juice from the leaves. You can usually wash them off by hosing them with water. Scale, including maple scale, form a cottony mass on the undersides of leaves. Control scales with horticultural oil sprays, being sure to spray the underside as well as the top of the foliage.