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.
Here's the tree after just one day of damage. It went dry very quickly:
Of those 75, 19 have died leaving 56 trees still alive.
Six growing seasons (this being REALLY early in the season):
56 trees alive/6 growing seasons = 9.33 trees on average survive each season.
Here's the full accounting:
1. Flowering Pear in backyard on north side.
3. Japanese flowering cherry
4 and 5: 2 Lindens that I espalier'd and placed by the south fence line near our kitchen windows.
7. Nat's Saucer Magnolia in our front yard
2018 (17 planted. 6 Dead):
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
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.
33. My new Weeping White Spruce that will only grow about 4' wide placed near the fence line alongside the espalier'd Lindens.
46. A small Northern Red Oak tree - our first Oak tree planted.
49. A tall(ish) London Plane tree that suffered some transplant and frost shock, but seemed to recover.