The benefits and importance of trees cannot be overstated. Trees provide habitat and food for animals; they shade and cool outdoor spaces and remove carbon from the atmosphere. Trees are the planet's original critical infrastructure. It is impossible to imagine a world without trees. And so, we recognize the Japanese Black Pine as the January 2021 Plant of the Month.
This East Asian tree is a classic specimen used in Bonsai, thanks to its interesting structure and coloration. It requires little water and does fine in containers. As such, the Black Pine is appropriate in a variety of situations. Irregular and asymmetrical as it grows, this tree can be a focal point if standing alone. Grouped or along borders, the dense foliage creates effective screening and windbreaks. Being native to coastal areas of China, Japan, and Korea, this tree tolerates salt spray and is at home in seaside landscapes, Japanese gardens, with succulents in a rock garden, and in ranch and woodland landscapes. There are very few places on the Central Coast where this tree does not fit in. The Japanese Black Pine is a moderate-growing tree and can reach 6 feet high in containers up to 100 feet high in optimal conditions. Neutral to slightly acidic soils and some feeding in poor soils will keep it happy and healthy. Take a look at Water Smart Gardening for more information on this and other trees.