Update on Pinus Parviflora 'Glauca Nana' - Japanese White Pine - Zone 5 - June 2022

Earlier this Spring, I received a few comments on a post from last year where I talked about after some hemming-and-hawing, I brought home and planted a special tree: a Japanese White Pine - Pinus Parviflora 'Glauca Nana'.  Below are a couple of them - that are similar:  

"I saw this tree and I'm intrigued.  How is your's doing?"

I replied back in the comments with my thoughts (more on that below), but I thought this might deserve a full post.  First....about the tree.  It has a siren call.  You can't NOT notice it amongst the pallets upon pallets of Arborvitae and Boxwoods.  And, I have to admit...I saw the exact same thing that the two commentors had - at the Big Box Orange nursery this Spring.  Here's the beauty that was calling me to bring it home from back in May:

So, I won't waste time.  My tree didn't make it.  My Japanese White Pine - Glauca Nana - went brown in Winter and got worse as time went on.  When Spring came, it was crispy, had no green needles left and all of the limbs had no life left in them.

I pulled it out before I mulched the beds in May.  Here's what it looked like:

The tree didn't even last a year.  I planted it last Summer.  In that post, I talked about what this tree *actually* was - in terms of species or cultivar.  I had concerns that MOST Japanese White Pines are (broadly speaking) cold-hardy down to just Zone 6.  I'm in Zone 5b, so part of me wonders if this tree just isn't cut out for Zone 5b.  

Or, was it something else?  I kept it (mostly) watered well.  But, I planted this thing at the end of July - right in the worst part of the dry, Summer heat here in Northern Illinois.  Couldn't be a WORSE time to plant a tree.  Did this suffer from drought impact?  Maybe it never could get established due to the high heat and me, unknowingly, not giving it enough water?  

I suppose the only way to really know that is to either give it ANOTHER shot.  Or learn from someone around here who's successfully grown one.  If that's even possible.

For now, I have other priorities, so I'm not going to try again.  One of the things that most gardeners learn - and I've adopted as a rule - is to not fight the conditions.  If something doesn't work, then I move on.  This, unfortunately (for now, at least) feels like one of those times.  I would love nothing more than a cloud-pruned Japanese White Pine in our garden. Just doesn't appear to be in the cards.  For now.


The last tree that I planted and documented was last month when we planted the small Saratoga Ginko tree in our front yard.   I'll cross this one off the 'alive' list below.

While I'm here, though...there are a few other trees that I should address.

First, #53: A tiny bareroot Shagbark Hickory from the Benet Academy Environmental Club planted in the backyard. That one has totally disappeared. It was just a 12" trunk, so I'm pretty sure the rabbits gnawed it down to the ground. That one is now crossed out below, too.

Second, #47. A 'decapitated' Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud that I planted on a whim. I moved this tree to around the fire pit last year and it was doing really well. In fact, back in mid-May it flowered and put on a nice, pink show.  That one was, well...'decapitated' once again.  This time by accident.

ComEd had a crew in the way back part of our yard trimming tree limbs that are close to the overhead power lines.  As they were bringing down some larger limbs, one of them flew a bit too far away and cracked this Weeping Redbud right off at the ground.  

Here's the tree after just one day of damage.  It went dry very quickly:

And, below...is the 'why' it went so fast:  a clear snap all the way across the thin trunk.  Only some bark hanging on:

Below is a photo of the crew trying to 'tend' to the tree after the broke it.  Unfortunately, this requires a ComEd damage form to be filled out and claim filed.  I'm not hopeful.  

So, that's three trees that were - up until now - on the list that need to come off. 

Using the list from the Saratoga Ginko tree post, here's the new summary.

This is the seventh tree of the season. There are now, 75 trees planted in our yard.
Of those 75, 19 have died leaving 56 trees still alive.

Six growing seasons (this being REALLY early in the season):
75 trees planted/6 growing seasons = 12.5 trees on average planted each season.
56 trees alive/6 growing seasons = 9.33 trees on average survive each season.

Here's the full accounting:

2017 (9 planted. 4 Dead. 5 of the original annual total alive now):
1. Flowering Pear in backyard on north side.
2. Flowering Pear in front yard by garage. (LOST and replaced)
3. Japanese flowering cherry
4 and 5: 2 Lindens that I espalier'd and placed by the south fence line near our kitchen windows.
6. A Dawn Redwood from Earth Day 2017 (LOST and replaced)
7. Nat's Saucer Magnolia in our front yard
8. A Corkscrew Willow all the way in the back (LOST)
9. A Crimson King Norway Maple near the trampoline

2018 (17 planted. 6 Dead):
10. Another flowering pear from Earth Day 2018
11. Red Maple Sun Valley tree from Earth Day 2018.
12. Weeping Cedar tree - our first evergreen.  (LOST)
13. The weeping flowering cherry tree that the Babe planted for Earth Day 2018.
14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21. These Frans Fontaine Hornbeams
22. A replacement Chanticleer Pear tree (3" caliper) out front by our garage
23. Our second evergreen - a short Fraser Fir Christmas Tree out by the trampoline. (LOST)
24. This Canadian Hemlock that is the first of nine that our landscape plan calls for in the backyard. (LOST)
25. Our replanted/replacement Dawn Redwood. Same spot as the first.
26. This teeny-tiny Bald Cypress that I planted in the front yard, in between our driveway and our neighbor to the north.

2019 (9 planted.  5 Dead):
27, 28, 29.  A set of three small Canadian Hemlock Trees in our far backyard. (Two Lost)
30, 31, 32.  This second set of three small Canadian Hemlocks along the north fence line. (One Lost)
33.  My new Weeping White Spruce that will only grow about 4' wide placed near the fence line alongside the espalier'd Lindens.
34.  A NEW Dwarf Alberta Spruce planted near the south fence line.  Our first "dwarf" tree.
35.  This new Hakuro Nishiki Willow (Dappled Willow) tree planted close to the flowering cherry on the southside.  LOST - October 2020.

37.  A very thin Lombardy Poplar tree - columnar form - in the way back wood chip area.  LOST - July 2020.
38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45.  These apple trees in a Belgian Fence espalier.
46.  A small Northern Red Oak tree - our first Oak tree planted.
47.  A 'decapitated' Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud that I planted on a whim.
48.  A replacement (from the nursery) Lavender Twist Redbud planted close to the brother.
49.  A tall(ish) London Plane tree that suffered some transplant and frost shock, but seemed to recover. 
50.  Our second contorted tree - this one inspired by Disneyland Paris: a Harry Lauder's Walking Stick tree.
51.  Our third contorted tree - but one that checks A LOT of boxes.  Deciduous conifer.  Weeping.  Contorted.  Japanese.  Planted behind the front Maple - the Horstmann's Recursive Weeping Contorted Larch.  LOST - Aug 2020.
52.  Via the Morton Arboretum Plant Sale - a columnar tree from Japan - the Red Fox Katsura Tree that I planted as an understory tree to the dying Chanticleer Pear Tree next to our driveway. 

2021 (16 planted and 14 alive):
53.  A tiny bareroot Shagbark Hickory from the Benet Academy Environmental Club planted in the backyard.   
55.  A large Weeping Nootka Falsecypress from Wannemaker's planted in the new bed on the northside. 
56.  A long-sought-after Emperor I Japanese Maple - our second Japanese Maple - that is now planted on the border near our new-to-be-created fire pit area in the backyard. 
59.  A dwarf Japanese White Pine - Pinus Parviflora Nana (or perhaps something else)
64.  A second, tiny Ginko tree - this was a replacement for #62 - planted 'ib2dw'.
65.  A small - and ALL Green - Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) planted in front of the back Yews.
66. 67. 68.  A trio of London Planetree 'Bloodgood' trees that are planted along the fence that I'm going to attempt to pleach.

2022 (7 planted and 7 alive):
69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. Six Green Giant Thujas trees planted as an upright evergreen layer in the backyard. Thuja standishii plicata.
75. A small Saratoga Ginko tree planted in our front yard by the front walk.


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