Japanese umbrella pines are hardy from zones 5 to 7, so are best suited for use in the cooler parts of Arkansas. Light shade from pine trees or afternoon shade is preferable, but they will grow in full sun so long as they remain well watered during summer droughts. They grow best in rich, fertile sites with an acidic soil pH.
The umbrella pine is one of the “five trees of Kiso,” a selection of five species of coniferous forest giants made during the feudal period and used as plantings around shrines and important sites. One of these umbrella pines has been worshiped locally at the Jinguji Temple in Kyoto Prefecture since 1310.
Say thank you to my Japanese umbrella pine for holding up to 25 winters of uneasy snow loads and countless ice storms; not suffering winterburn in the spot I chose with no particular knowledge of the plant’s needs or the garden’s future direction; for settling in without so much as losing a needle (which apparently isn’t always the case I did some time ago). For looking handsome every single day of all those years.
I knew nothing at all when I heaved the then-very-rare, chest-high young Sciadopitys verticillata out of the ground in the borough of Queens in New York City, and plopped it unceremoniously into a bushel basket for the trip several hours north. I picked a spot for it when there was nothing but one giant rhododendron alone in the middle of the yard behind the house, connected to nothing. I made the umbrella pine its companion, and hoped they would get along.
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