The Q&A Archives: Umbrella Pine

Question: My wife & I just came back from being in Italy.We love the sight of the umbrella pines & we are wondering can we grow them here in upstate New York & also where can we obtain them?

Answer: According to Michael Dirr's "Manual of Woody Landscape Plants", Umbrella-pine or Japanese Umbrella Pine (Sciadopitys verticillata) can be grown into zone 4. It requires a rich acid soil that is moist yet well drained, meaning not soggy. It also does best in full sun and should be protected from strong winds. This lovely tree grows slowly and usually eventually reaches about 25 feet high in landscape conditions although it can grow as tall as 60 to 90 feet. Since these trees grow so slowly and are best planted as balled and burlapped specimens they are usually purchased locally at a nursery sepcializing in trees and shrubs, possibly even requiring advance special order. Having said all that, I am not certain that this is the same tree -- Sciadopitys is native to a certain area (Hondo) in Japan.

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