Japanese Umbrella Pine


Faces south in my back yard withing 2 feet of house—tree is about 13 years old—over the last three years it has more and more yellow needles…soil is clay but has had lots of triple mix added over the years…cedar mulch every year as well.


I take it that you are asking why your Japanese Umbrella Pine tree has more and more yellow needles.

I had to research your question about this beautiful unusual plant which is not really a pine. It’s in a class of its own.

You didn’t say how big your tree is, so I am imagining something still small. If this is the case, then you can probably save your tree by moving it away from the foundation of the house. Plants have a hard time right against the concrete basement walls as this is usually a  very dry location.

In addition, your tree’s roots have nowhere to go. This is a slow growing tree that can get to 30 feet tall and half as wide. It needs lots of air and space to spread out its roots. When you relocate your tree to a more open location, be sure to prepare the hole well and water often in the first couple of weeks to help it overcome transplant shock. Also be sure to keep mulch away from the trunk. All trees can suffer from what we refer to as ‘the cone of death.” Some people feel they are protecting a tree by piling mulch up the trunk, but, in fact, they are smothering the roots and encouraging rot.

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