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Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 11:40 am
Location: Canada, Ontario

Substitution for Japanese Black Pine

I am planning my first Japanese-style garden in Canada, Ontario, Toronto. My backyard is 40' x 55', and my idea was to plant a Japanese black pine as the main design element. However, I could not find it in local garden centers, as it appears that black pine is not well suited for our zone 5.

I am looking for a pine that could be a more or less equal substitution for Japanese black pine.

Does anyone has any suggestions?

White Pine (Pinus strobus) (20-30 m) Zone 3 is a native to Canada pine. They say that its growth can be easily controlled to suit small gardens. However, I am not sure if white pine could be trained similar to black pine.

Does any one has experience with white pine?

Any comments will be much appreciated.

Piet Patings
Cool Member
Posts: 91
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 10:00 am

Hello Laval, an other alternative is Pinus densiflora, Japanese Red Pine.
In principel all Pine can be prunned to control size and shape. I learned this initially from Bonsai and later (almost too late) from the great book Niwaki.
Here are some photo's of my [url=]Red Pine[/url]
And here about the pruning (and book references) with [url=]Fukinaoshi[/url].


Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 11:40 am
Location: Canada, Ontario

Hi koiboy and Piet,
Thank you for your comments and links to your websites and many useful resources.
I've decided to go with a Pinus nigra (Austrian Pine) that is available locally and it appears that it is well suitable as a bonsai tree. I bought and planted it yesterday.
Thanks again, and, if you do not mind, I will be in touch with you some time later.

The Helpful Gardener
Posts: 7491
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: Colchester, CT

The P.nigra is a good sub; so is our P. resinosa, a native red pine, and best yet, P. rigida, our pitch pine, a scruffy little shoreline thing much like the P. thunbergii you sare trying to replace. You should be able to find that though, and it is hardy to Zone 5; I particularly like a cultivar called 'Thunderhead' from Iseli Nurseries...


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Green Thumb
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Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 4:38 am
Location: Mass

koiboy01 and Piet Patings, I love your gardens.

Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 11:40 am
Location: Canada, Ontario

Thank you for your recommendation. I will need a few more pines, so I will look at P. rigida.

Full Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:09 am
Location: Australia

Sorry for being off-topic but...

I would just like to say that:
koiboy, your garden is amazing, and truly inspiring.
It makes me want to get out tomorrow and start one of my own.
How many years has the whole project been going on?
I'm going to guess 10 or so? It's a large project, and deserves to be commended.

It's such a shame we aren't allowed to keep Koi in Victoria, Australia. :(
They're considered a pest if they get in the waterways because they're a breed of Carp.
The best I have is an old bathtub (I know, sounds bad but you really can't tell) dug into the ground in a fernery.
It's lined with black plastic with a rock waterfall from a pump circulating. It also has 11 gold fish in there. I got a few that look like Tancho Koi :D

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