All aboard the Mugo train!

Vance Wood

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I think a large part of the 'wanting to set a design' originates from the appeal of mugo's. They give little to fantasize about because they almost always have a certain look that could fit to a general style direction.
Every mugo I have, 'spoke to me' after buying them; they had a certain attribute that made my unexperienced ass lean immediately in one direction. And then we just tend to go with that safe option because it doesn't ask a lot of mental power. And it allows us to stay within our safe gut feeling.
The more we invest in a bad decision, the harder it gets to admit it and move away from that decision. (This is so common in humans that scientist call it choice-supportive bias)
After a while, we find out that the design wasn't that ideal for the long term, then we call you for help and apologize for not listening to your advice in the first place. I'm guilty as charged on at least 1 of my 6 mugos.
Some people never get to that ephinay, they just continue in what they were doing. I can show you several examples on Youtube where a good design is sitting right there in front of the artist but they don't see it. They just continue to reenforce their original bad design as though that is the best this tree could be. I don't mean to suggest that I am the great Karnack of bonsai, and what I think makes a difference but it is an educated opinion from one who understands they don't know everything and is willing to change and continue to grow.
 

Japonicus

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Thank You?? This is a really difficult topic/point I have been trying to get accros over the last couple of years. I keep hearing people say "I'm going to make a cascade out of my Mugo, or a wind swept or a broom or a blah blah blah." like the tree is a cake mix, just add milk and eggs. This approach usually leads to artistic failure due
Honestly the style of the new Mugo I got was the furthest thing from my thought process as I hadn't even combed through yet
when I posted the pics. We all have an idea of what is in front of us, what we might do one day. Right now I'm shooting for survival.
I HAVE found what may make a good front for it, though I will wait and see where the recent pruning of the lower branches
(before I got it) takes the tree. Just needed good info on what to do with the roots here in Winter, being unpotted by the seller.
Obviously had to do something. Had no choice. And post a pic of the new arrival.
Thanks for the ideas on pruning in stages and soil make up.

I believe this one is a nice well GRAFTED job at point, but where it appears to be grafted is way high up at the branching,
contrary to the sellers description "On it's own roots". To me that lowers the value of the product.
Still, I see nowhere else one could purchase this cultivar, which sort of offsets the value a little. Frustrating it is.
DSC_2649.JPG
Top dressing not a good example of the make up.
Used 1 part akadama 3 parts lava rock 3 parts pumice 3 parts 1/4" turface (Monto clay high fired) 1 part Douglas fir bark (it's pretty:D ) 6 parts *organic potting soil
(*consisting of processed pine bark mulch, forest products, worm castings, Canadian sphagnum moss bla bla bla so got the organics.
DSC_2650.JPG
DSC_2652.JPG
Shouldn't these cones be removed to preserve energy?
DSC_2656.JPG DSC_2657.JPG DSC_2658.JPG
Wouldn't you think this is a graft, though well done as it is?
I would be proud to say I grafted that...
 

M. Frary

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Honestly the style of the new Mugo I got was the furthest thing from my thought process as I hadn't even combed through yet
when I posted the pics. We all have an idea of what is in front of us, what we might do one day. Right now I'm shooting for survival.
I HAVE found what may make a good front for it, though I will wait and see where the recent pruning of the lower branches
(before I got it) takes the tree. Just needed good info on what to do with the roots here in Winter, being unpotted by the seller.
Obviously had to do something. Had no choice. And post a pic of the new arrival.
Thanks for the ideas on pruning in stages and soil make up.

I believe this one is a nice well GRAFTED job at point, but where it appears to be grafted is way high up at the branching,
contrary to the sellers description "On it's own roots". To me that lowers the value of the product.
Still, I see nowhere else one could purchase this cultivar, which sort of offsets the value a little. Frustrating it is.
View attachment 225632
Top dressing not a good example of the make up.
Used 1 part akadama 3 parts lava rock 3 parts pumice 3 parts 1/4" turface (Monto clay high fired) 1 part Douglas fir bark (it's pretty:D ) 6 parts *organic potting soil
(*consisting of processed pine bark mulch, forest products, worm castings, Canadian sphagnum moss bla bla bla so got the organics.
View attachment 225633
View attachment 225634
Shouldn't these cones be removed to preserve energy?
View attachment 225635 View attachment 225636 View attachment 225637
Wouldn't you think this is a graft, though well done as it is?
I would be proud to say I grafted that...
You could get some thick wire and bend that trunk.
 

Vance Wood

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Honestly the style of the new Mugo I got was the furthest thing from my thought process as I hadn't even combed through yet
when I posted the pics. We all have an idea of what is in front of us, what we might do one day. Right now I'm shooting for survival.
I HAVE found what may make a good front for it, though I will wait and see where the recent pruning of the lower branches
(before I got it) takes the tree. Just needed good info on what to do with the roots here in Winter, being unpotted by the seller.
Obviously had to do something. Had no choice. And post a pic of the new arrival.
Thanks for the ideas on pruning in stages and soil make up.

I believe this one is a nice well GRAFTED job at point, but where it appears to be grafted is way high up at the branching,
contrary to the sellers description "On it's own roots". To me that lowers the value of the product.
Still, I see nowhere else one could purchase this cultivar, which sort of offsets the value a little. Frustrating it is.
View attachment 225632
Top dressing not a good example of the make up.
Used 1 part akadama 3 parts lava rock 3 parts pumice 3 parts 1/4" turface (Monto clay high fired) 1 part Douglas fir bark (it's pretty:D ) 6 parts *organic potting soil
(*consisting of processed pine bark mulch, forest products, worm castings, Canadian sphagnum moss bla bla bla so got the organics.
View attachment 225633
View attachment 225634
Shouldn't these cones be removed to preserve energy?
View attachment 225635 View attachment 225636 View attachment 225637
Wouldn't you think this is a graft, though well done as it is?
I would be proud to say I grafted that...
I don't understand why you should doubt the seller's claim that it is on it's own roots understanding that they grow pretty well from cuttings in a controlled environment?
 

Japonicus

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I don't understand why you should doubt the seller's claim that it is on it's own roots understanding that they grow pretty well from cuttings in a controlled environment?
In the thumbnail pictures, there’s a definitive V just below the lowest branch.
There is an abrupt transition at this point in bark texture as well.
 

Vance Wood

Lord Mugo
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In the thumbnail pictures, there’s a definitive V just below the lowest branch.
There is an abrupt transition at this point in bark texture as well.
You find all kinds of weird features like that on Mugos at the point of a knuckle, it does not indicate a graft. That point is akin to the wrinkles in and around an arm pit.
 

Vance Wood

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In the thumbnail pictures, there’s a definitive V just below the lowest branch.
There is an abrupt transition at this point in bark texture as well.
The V is not obvious or definite. If the branch on the left was removed by your or the seller its presence would have proven that there was no graft because the perceived graft joint would not be visible as you see it.
 

Japonicus

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I don't think that's a graft either....$0.02
The V is not obvious or definite. If the branch on the left was removed by your or the seller its presence would have proven that there was no graft because the perceived graft joint would not be visible as you see it.
Well it sure looked like an accomplished graft in a couple pics to me and your replies here
does ease my mind a bit about bending, not 100%, but does ease my fear a bit.

It’s now in a 3g pot till I’m ready to work the roots.
@Vance Wood do you still recommend no light now that it is potted up?
 

Japonicus

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You could get some thick wire and bend that trunk.
DSC_2659.JPG DSC_2661.JPG
This will have to do for now. Two snapped twigs on deciduous trees this Winter has me spooked.
At least it should be fine in a good breeze. Secured doubly well wired into the can bottom and rim :)
Was just outside wiring a couple branches on my weeping crabapple tree and snapped a little branch.
Watered the tree in well yesterday and today, going to let the tree stay in Wintering location and give it a nice long break.
There are several "good" fronts and only one lousy front I found. Lots of possibilities. You're right though, trunk should never have been totally straight up.
I just wired it into the can and wanted it to survive, doing as little as possible for now. I really like this little guy, it's going to be fun!
I don't like the contrast in the trunk...
 

Vance Wood

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If you are worried about bending the trunk wrap it in raffia. Mugos are pretty flexible and you should be OK. It doesn't need to be in the shade, that option would be if you are in an area where you are expecting some really cold weather before March.
 

Japonicus

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I don't understand why you should doubt the seller's claim that it is on it's own roots understanding that they grow pretty well from cuttings in a controlled environment?
Seller confirmed today that it is grafted, though his claim was to “Scotch” pine LOL!
I bet the 2 lower fresh unsealed prunes were for scions if that’s even possible this time of year.
Like I said, I’d be proud to say I had done this graft. The angle even changes direction here where the bark
changes. Normally the rougher bark will be lower down rather than higher up. It is reversed in this case
and follows the shape of the scion stopping at the root stock.

If competition is a problem later on betwixt the two, can it be layered?
Hopefully the Scots pine barks up and grows on just fine not out competing the cultivar.
 

keri-wms

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I read that some places regard Scots Pine as a better rootstock for Mugo than Mugo is itself!
 

Vance Wood

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I read that some places regard Scots Pine as a better rootstock for Mugo than Mugo is itself!
That's probably because Scots and Mugo are close cousins and will actually inter-breed. Scots do produce single trunks making them a good root stock without close attention to cultivating the stock plant to produce a single trunk making them better as graft stock than a Mugo.
 

keri-wms

Mame
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That's probably because Scots and Mugo are close cousins and will actually inter-breed. Scots do produce single trunks making them a good root stock without close attention to cultivating the stock plant to produce a single trunk making them better as graft stock than a Mugo.
I didn't know that ! A dwarf cultivar Mugo bred with a Scots would be a cool thing, shame genetics don't work like that 99% of the time. I've tried grafting loads of Mugo to scots, and a lot of Mugo to Mugo too, zero success. I've only managed JWP to JBP, JBP to itself and JWP to Scots
 

Vance Wood

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I didn't know that ! A dwarf cultivar Mugo bred with a Scots would be a cool thing, shame genetics don't work like that 99% of the time. I've tried grafting loads of Mugo to scots, and a lot of Mugo to Mugo too, zero success. I've only managed JWP to JBP, JBP to itself and JWP to Scots
I never said I had done it, personally I don't graft anything, though I am starting to consider Shimpakus. As to the interbreeding of the two trees; it is my understanding that this does happen. You also have to remember that most of these dwarf cultivars are not genetically stable.
 

Soldano666

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I never said I had done it, personally I don't graft anything, though I am starting to consider Shimpakus
That's what I'm saying. I've dug and have lots of native Eastern red cedar juniper with interesting enough trunks in the movement low down, where grafting will make me a nice tree. I am on board with this, in fact I have a workshop coming up at Colin Lewis is place in May to graft shimpaku on to different root stocck.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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Somewhere - and here memory fails me - I read a document. It listed at least 20 or more cultivars of mugo used in an experiment. About 7 of the mugo cultivars showed that they would root from cuttings. Two or three were identified as rooting easily. Easy enough to be recommended for commercial propagation from cuttings rather than grafting. The end result though was that 13 cultivars were identified as reluctant or not possible to root from cuttings.

So the take away is ''some'' mugo will root from cuttings, but more than ''some'' will not root from cuttings. The only name I remember with certainty is 'Valley Cushion', this one was identified as fairly easy to root from cuttings. But there are more than just 'Valley Cushion' that will root from cuttings. So that is not the whole and entire list.

Hope this does not muddy the waters any more than they already were.
 
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