The Japanese White Pine has a dense and conical form when it is young. However, later it develops into a tree with a graceful, irregular shape, which is 25 to 50 feet tall. Its needles are between 1 and 2.5 inches long, and grow in groups of five, giving it the name of five-needle pine.
The cones are between 1 and 4 inches long and are brownish-red. They last on the tree for 6 to 7 years. This tree belongs to the Pinaceae family, and grows mostly in the Northern climate. Like all pines, it needs the full sun and good drainage.
Pruning the roots while repotting can help to develop healthy roots. Branches can be pruned and wired in late autumn. The wire can be left on the tree for 6-8 months, at the most. New shoots need to be pinched to one-third of their length in the spring.
All the new shoots can be removed in the late spring every one or two years, provided that the tree is healthy. This will result in the formation of buds at the places where the shoots are removed. It will also cause the growth of very short internodes on the branches.
Young trees need to be repotted every 2 or 3 years, while older trees need it every 3 or 5 years. Repotting can be done in spring, before the candles open. It can also be done in late summer or in early autumn.
Different views are held by experts about the ideal soil mixture and about the importance of the fungus for the health of the tree. The general recommendation is a strong deep rectangular pot with a mixture that contains 50% soil, 10% peat and 40% coarse sand. Pines and other conifers need a fungus in the root ball to survive.
A slow-acting organic fertilizer is recommended, once a month, from early to late spring and from the end of summer to late autumn. Chemical fertilizers can be used every other week during the same period.