Helping You Become a More Successful Gardener
James H. Schutte
Pinus thunbergii 'Thunderhead'
Japanese Black Pine
This is a contemporary cultivar that improves on the signature pine of old Japanese gardens. The parent species is a native of eastern Asia and has been in cultivation since antiquity. Its incredible sculptural form on the windswept shores of Japan gave rise to the art of bonsai pruning, and trees are typically trained into contorted, naturalistic forms. But if grown in the average garden it takes on a rounded bushy shape, growing more irregular with age to expose its picturesque twisting branches. This pine bears its dark gray-green needles in pairs on branches bearing dark purplish gray bark.
In spring ‘Thunderhead’ produces upright, silvery, new shoots, displayed like white candles against the dark foliage. These later produce long brown cones. This tree grows in a wide range of soil types, provided they are well-drained. Like all Black pines, ‘Thunderhead’ tolerates a warmer climate, is not as drought- tolerant as many other species, and grows best with moderate moisture. It tolerates salt air and spray in coastal conditions but can be damaged by snow loads. This essential of the Asian garden belongs in all residential landscapes within its range, serving as a shrub or small tree, left natural or pruned in the Japanese style.
8 - 5
5 - 8
3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
Needled or Scaled Evergreen
5'-10' / 1.5m - 3.0m
5'-8' / 1.5m - 2.4m
Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline
Clay, Loam, Sand
Drought Tolerant, Average Water
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Feature Plant, Foundation, Screening / Wind Break, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier
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