‘Christmas Tree’ Japanese Black Pine (Pinus thunbergii ‘Christmas Tree’)


Pinus thunbergii ‘Christmas Tree’ is a grafted compact Japanese Black Pine cultivar developed by Coolwyn’s Nursery. It is commonly known as the Japanese Black Pine ‘Christmas Tree’, a striking evergreen pine that beautifies various landscapes.

This cultivar is a compact-slow growing specimen, reaching 1.5m in height and a spread of 1 metre in the first ten years. It produces beautiful candle growth that can be pruned to encourage a denser habit. Popular as a bonsai or Japanese ornamental, mature trees will develop a more irregular and picturesque form.

Japanese Black Pine is adaptable to various soil types but thrives in well-drained, sandy, or loamy soils. Good drainage is crucial for the tree’s health, as it helps prevent root rot. While it is versatile regarding soil texture, it generally prefers slightly acidic to neutral soils with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.5. Regular soil testing can help ensure the pH is within the preferred range for optimal growth.

This species is known for its adaptability to various climates. It thrives in areas with cool to mild temperatures and is well-suited to coastal conditions. Japanese Black Pine is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9, indicating its ability to withstand cold and warm temperatures. Its tolerance to salt spray makes it a suitable choice for coastal landscapes.

This remarkable specimen prefers full sun and should be planted in locations that receive at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. While it can tolerate some shade, exposure to full sun encourages optimal growth and the development of the tree’s characteristic form. Protecting from intense afternoon sun can benefit regions with hotter summers.

Proper watering is essential, especially during the tree’s establishment phase. The soil should be kept lightly moist but not waterlogged. Once established, Japanese Black Pine becomes moderately drought-tolerant, but regular watering during dry spells is recommended. It’s crucial to strike a balance, avoiding water stress and waterlogged conditions.

Fertilisation is generally not required in well-nourished soils. However, if the tree grows in nutrient-poor soil or shows slow growth and needle yellowing, applying a balanced, slow-release fertiliser in spring can support healthy development. Care should be taken not to over-fertilise, as conifers can be sensitive to excessive nutrient levels.

The Japanese Black Pine cultivar ‘Christmas Tree’ typically requires minimal pruning to maintain its natural form. Pruning can include removing candles and dead, damaged, or diseased branches and shaping the tree when it is young. Pruning is best done during the dormant season in late winter or early spring to minimise stress on the tree.

This excellent pine is highly valued for its ornamental qualities and is best used as a specimen in a courtyard, a zen garden, a rockery and larger Asian-inspired landscapes. Its unique upright form and dark green needles make it an attractive focal point.

Pinus thunbergii Christmas Tree is a versatile and visually striking evergreen conifer. Its adaptability to various soil types, climates, and distinctive forms makes it a unique choice for ornamental and functional landscaping. Whether used as a standalone specimen or integrated into a larger design, this tree brings a touch of elegance to diverse environments.


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