Q. I need advice about planting a Tanyosho pine: Pinus densiflora ‘Umbraculifera’.

1) Front yard will allow for a tree 17’ across. Actually best would be two trees, each 12’ across planted 5’ apart. How many years do you suppose it would take Umbraculifera to get that big? 25’ won’t fit. /2) When they say it grows 4”/yr, that means each branch gets 4” longer? in which case the tree gets 8” wider = 4” on each side = 2’ in 3 yrs, right? That would make a 3’ tree grow to 17’ in 21yrs? or to 12’ in 13+yrs? Or does 4”/yr maybe mean 4” wider/yr = 1’ in 3 yrs? /3) It will be in full sun. Do you suppose it will top out at 10’? or 20’? Or does that depend on rootstock? /4) What do I do if it outgrows my yard, just prevent quick growth by pinching back? /5) I see there is a ‘Compacta’, a ‘Nana’ (Only 6’ tall!) & a ‘Jane Somebody’. Online some people say just go with a regular ‘Umbraculifera’, that the compacta version may not be for real. What about that? /6) When I saw images that purported to be ‘Compacta’ they looked like a shrub, didn’t seem to promise to get the spreading tree habit w/ flattened crown. Do all young ‘Unbraculiferas’ look like that, then look more convincingly like trees after a few years, or is ‘Compacta’ different, more of a ‘Thundercloud’ habit? /7) Some of the pictures I saw had needles that were too yellow (see GardenWeb Conifers Forum), but others (eg. UConn) were a nicer green. Just a matter of drainage? If so, should land be graded or should I add sand to soil? /8) Someone said regular root pruning would keep the size down. True? Also that candle pruning would improve habit? Wouldn’t be too dense? /9) Should I get my local nursery to order this tree for me or should I try to order it myself from a specialty nursery (Which one)? /10) Looking at Missouri Botanical Gdn site, seems like some specimens are just naturally bigger/wider. (Am looking for something like 5th image over when you google tree name) Any way of predicting adult habit based on juvenile plant? Or of specifying desired habit when placing an order, buying sight unseen? Maybe show photo? Thanks!


The mature size of 'Tanyosho' pine is 10 to 20 feet tall (possible reaching a height of 15 feet in 30 years) with, potentially, a spread of 15 to 25 feet. Since your available space is 25 feet, it may not be possible to plant more than one of these specimens in front of your house. This tree is often used for bonsai, which would be the occasion for root pruning. Most specimen trees look best if not pruned to control growth (if your plant won't conveniently fit the available space, it"s usually best to find something that will fit) but rather to enhance the health and appearance of the tree. In the case of the 'Tanyosho' pine you will have seen online pictures of specimens that have had lowest growth removed in order to show the interesting bark of multi-stemmed trees.

As far as purchasing the tree, it would be best (if possible) to purchase your plant from a nursery where you can select the specimen you prefer.


  • Last Updated Jan 14, 2021
  • Views 2392
  • Answered By Aska Gardener

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Comments (2)

  1. I have had a tanyosho pine planted since 2004 and its grown much bigger than the landscape company said it would. So, I want to trim it back but don't know how or how much I can trim off at one time and what tool is best to use for this trimming.
    by linda gillespie on May 01, 2014.
  2. Linda please submit your question to the Ask PHS database where our volunteers will see your question and suggest solutions. They will NOT easily see it when the question is submitted as a comment. It's just a quirky thing about this system which we hope will improve in the next version of the software. Thanks!
    by Janet Evans on May 04, 2014.