Native to northern and eastern China, lacebark pine (Pinus bungeana) is an excellent, low-maintenance shade tree, best planted in early spring. Its mottled bark sets it apart from other pine species and is especially attractive in winter. Layers of green, yellow, brown, purple, and red bark stand in stark contrast to the white snow backdrop. Lacebark pine tree bark peels gradually over time, usually starting once the tree is about ten years old. The resulting look is camouflage-like and provides year-round interest.
|Common Name||Lacebark pine|
|Botanical Name||Pinus bungeana|
|Plant Type||Evergreen tree|
|Mature Size||30-50 ft. tall, 20-35 ft. wide|
|Soil Type||Moist, well-drained|
|Soil pH||Neutral, acidic, alkaline|
|Hardiness Zones||4-8 (USDA)|
Lacebark Pine Care
Lacebark pines are hardy in below-freezing winter temperatures and appreciate plenty of light and regular watering. Still, these trees are classified as moderately drought-tolerant. They are low-maintenance and, once established, can be left to grow outside independently. Lacebark pine trees reach 30 to 50 feet tall in full maturity.
These pines are less prone to common pests and diseases and can grow in a broader range of soil acidity than most other pine species. Excessive pruning or fertilizing isn't necessary, but your tree can benefit from light, balanced fertilizer applications to promote growth.
Lacebark pines grow best in full sun, so you should choose planting locations carefully. Loss of needles or stunted growth indicates that the tree is not receiving enough light.
Like most pines, lacebark pines prefer slightly acidic soil, although they can tolerate soils with a higher pH than most other pine species. They benefit from well-drained, consistently moist soil. Lacebark pines should not be exposed to very wet or dry soils for long periods.
You should water lacebark pine saplings regularly until they are well-established. Once established, a lacebark pine tree usually does not require supplemental water and is somewhat drought-tolerant. However, the tree can benefit from supplemental watering during abnormally long dry periods to help support healthy growth.
Temperature and Humidity
USDA Hardiness Zones 4-8 are best for lacebark pines, and they can withstand winter temperatures as low as -15˚F. They tolerate a wide range of humidity conditions within their growing zones.
Lacebark pines do not require regular fertilizing. However, a light fertilizer feeding in the early spring balanced fertilizer can help give the tree a boost.
Types of Lacebark Pine
- Pinus bungeana ‘Silver Ghost'
- Pinus bungeana ‘Temple Gem’
Pruning lacebark pine trees is mainly for aesthetic purposes, and lacebark pines do not require regular pruning. However, depending on how you want your tree to look, you can prune lacebark pines into a single-trunked or multi-trunked tree. You may also prune dead or dying branches.
Propagating Lacebark Pines
You can propagate lacebark pines using cuttings to promote genetic uniformity in your landscaping. Here's how to do it:
- Cut a 4-6 inch cutting from your tree.
- Fill a tray with equal parts rooting medium and sand, and water until moist.
- Trim the bottom half of the cutting and dip in a rooting hormone.
- Plant the cuttings in the tray, ensuring that the needles do not contact the soil.
- Lightly cover the tray with clear plastic.
- Water lightly throughout its establishment.
- After up to a year, move the cutting into a pot.
- Place the pots in partial shade for several days before moving them to full sun.
- Once the sapling is large enough, transfer it outdoors.
How to Grow Lacebark Pines From Seed
To grow lacebark pines from seed, fill a pot or growing tray with compost and press lightly with your fingers. Place around ten seeds in your pot and cover with a light layer of compost before pressing down again. Keep the compost consistently moist, and place the pot in a warm location. In one to three weeks, put it in a bright spot. At 15-20 weeks, you can transfer them to individual, 4 inch pots.
As evergreens, lacebark pines are incredibly hardy and don't require any overwintering measures.
Common Pests & Diseases
Pine trees are susceptible to many pests and diseases, but lacebark pine trees are slightly less vulnerable than other species. Keep an eye out for pests like aphids, borers, caterpillars, mealybugs, weevils, western pine beetles, engraver beetles, and red turpentine beetles. Additionally, they are susceptible to common diseases such as cankers, rusts, diplopia tip blight, and pine wilt. Generally, if paid attention to appropriately, these pests and diseases will not seriously affect the tree's long-term health.
Common Problems With Lacebark Pines
Lacebark pines are relatively easygoing trees, and require little care. However, the trees can be damaged by very strong winds.
Damage by strong winds and storms poses a more significant risk to the long-term health of lacebark pines than any common pest or disease. The bark of these pines is brittle, and branches can crack easily. Single-trunked trees have stronger branches and usually withstand less damage than multi-trunked trees.
How long do lacebark pines live?
A healthy lacebark pine can live for over 70 years.
Do lacebark pines have medicinal uses?
Lacebark pines have several medicinal uses, including exterior use of its antiseptic resin. However, you should test the resin on a small area of skin to ensure it isn't irritating.
How long does it take a lacebark pine to grow?
Lacebark pines are slow-growing trees and can take up to ten years to fully mature.