AC02's Vance Wood Memorial 4 year Mugo Pine Contest Entry


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Hi everyone,

Very excited to take part in this contest to honour Vance. Being my first Mugo pine it is refreshing to have a clear set of seasonal instructions to follow and I am looking forward to seeing how it develops over the next 4 years.

I have selected this Mugo Pine 'Coolwyn's Globe' from Conifer Gardens nursery just outside Melbourne in Australia. It is seed grown so no graft issues and has short needles at around 2cm / 0.8inches.

Being in the southern hemisphere in a relatively hot mediterranean climate (we were having 40C for consecutive days in mid March / early autumn here) and mostly frost free winters, optimal timing for works may vary to others. However for the purposes of this contest I will follow the schedule set out in this post except for adding 6 months (eg. August works = February works):



Time to start the first work on this tree on Vance's seasonal schedule.

First, a 360 degree view of the tree currently:

Unfortunately, the timing of the competition and the fact that I am situated in the southern hemisphere mean that I have just missed the window for most of the work in this year's cycle including branch selection, needle plucking and styling, which all need to be done by August (February in the southern hemisphere):

Cutting back this year’s new growth (extended candles) in July.
Can repot in July, but not root prune.
Remove single terminal buds by middle of August.
Branch pruning, wiring, carving, and shari by the middle of August.
Remove (with scissors) upward and downward growing needles by the middle of August.
Bud selection in the fall.



  • When using the above method Mugos have a tendency to grow branches with only one bud at the end, instead of the three to six you normally see. But this only happens to the weakest shoots that you may have left alone and did not remove that same summer. I am not totally certain why that happens I am only certain what to do about it, and that is to pluck the single bud if it is strong and fat in the early fall, late August through September. This will cause the same back budding you get when you remove a shoot. I remove these buds using a pair of tweezers. Grasp the bud firmly at the base and twist it firmly and quickly at the base. This is best done in the early morning after watering when the growth is turgid and crisp. The buds break off cleanly without leaving a mashed mess at the base that can turn brown.
  • Remove any excess buds in autumn, or in the spring before they open. Retain only two buds per terminus, in the direction of desired growth.
We do however have time for bud selection.

I have weaned all whorls of buds to two, aiming for buds of similar size at an acute angle.






I have also removed any large singular terminal buds as per Vance's guidelines. This should promote back budding similar to decandling.



There are also some areas already with profuse and densely packed back budding (see below). I am not sure where to bud select here or wait for them to flush out and shoot select. I would be grateful for any guidance here from more experienced members. I have left these areas alone for now.



Lots of buds removed but many more remaining on the tree. Hopefully much more back budding as a result.


Next works of the schedule will be July (January here) when I will decandle and perform the first repotting as described in 'treatment of new nursery stock' section.

Thanks everyone and please let me know any advice or feedback along the way.
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