Cutting back new shoots and re potting Mugos

emorrin

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I am assuming that Vance had some input to the following article:

http://www.bonsai4me.com/AdvTech/ATMugo Pines Indepth.htm

It says to prune new shoots back hard and only leave a couple of sets of needles for new growth. My Mugos are at the point where this can be done (i.e. the needles have extended but are not totally hardened off). My question is... Can I prune the new shoots back hard now and wait until the end of July or early August to repot or should I hold off on doing any pruning until I repot? I am wondering if pruning now and re potting later would cause too much stress on my Mugos since it would be two seperate events with a month or so timeframe in between. I guess my other option would be to wait a couple of more weeks (i.e. beginning of July) then do both at the same time. I would then be re potting a little earlier than planned.

I would like to have my Mugos produce a second flush of growth so I cannot wait until late in the year to prune or else this won't happen. I don't want to over stress them either though so I am trying to find that "balance".
 

Gnome

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emorrin,

I don't have any answers for you, instead I am in the same boat you are. I have two nursery Mugos that I purchased earlier this year and have been wondering the same things you are. I will be following this thread to see what advice is offered.

Norm
 

emk

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I am assuming that Vance had some input to the following article:

http://www.bonsai4me.com/AdvTech/ATMugo Pines Indepth.htm

It says to prune new shoots back hard and only leave a couple of sets of needles for new growth. My Mugos are at the point where this can be done (i.e. the needles have extended but are not totally hardened off). My question is... Can I prune the new shoots back hard now and wait until the end of July or early August to repot or should I hold off on doing any pruning until I repot? I am wondering if pruning now and re potting later would cause too much stress on my Mugos since it would be two seperate events with a month or so timeframe in between. I guess my other option would be to wait a couple of more weeks (i.e. beginning of July) then do both at the same time. I would then be re potting a little earlier than planned.

I would like to have my Mugos produce a second flush of growth so I cannot wait until late in the year to prune or else this won't happen. I don't want to over stress them either though so I am trying to find that "balance".
Here are some links to Vance's articles: http://mababonsai.org/pages/wood_mugho1.html & http://www.knowledgeofbonsai.org/articles/author.php (scroll down to find his name & a list of articles). You can also search for his name on this and other forums to turn up more goodies.

In short, he says that you can do just about any amount of work to a Mugo and, so long as it's done well into the growing season (i.e. not too early in spring or too late in fall), the tree should be fine.
 

emorrin

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Yes, I understsand that you can do just about any amount of work to a Mugo and, so long as it's done well into the growing season (i.e. not too early in spring or too late in fall), it should recover without any issues. Usually I will only do any major work once a year. I know certain species will not take kindly to a major prune then a re pot later on (i.e. a couple of months apart). This is what I am unsure about when it comes to Mugos. This is basially what I am trying to get an answer to.

I guess my question would be to make a long story short, can I prune now and wait a month or so later to re pot or is it prudent to prune and re pot now even though it is still early summer? I am not sure if a Mugo can be "insulted" twice in one year. I know this is not advisable with a Japanese Black Pine.
 

cray13

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I believe Vance would suggest you prune and repot in mid-summer. I think doing it now might be a little bit early. I pruned and repotted three mughos early last summer and lost one of them. The one I lost was the only one I attempted to wire. The other two are doing fairly well, but I didn't get the explosion of growth that Vance describes after pruning and repotting. I did the work in early June so I think I was a little early. Mid July might be better.

So, pot and prune at the same time... in mid summer... not now.
 

emorrin

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Sounds like a mid to late July pot and prune would be the safest bet then. Would I still get a second flush of growth this late in the season?
 

cray13

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There will probably be enough time for new buds to set... but there will not be much growth until the spring.

You may want to check out this thread... a lot of info from Vance.
 

Vance Wood

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Sounds like a mid to late July pot and prune would be the safest bet then. Would I still get a second flush of growth this late in the season?

The idea is to not get a second flush of growth necessarily, but to encourage a lot of new buds for next season. I have only had one Mugo give me a second flush--one time-- in all the years I have been doing Mugos. I never do a root job before Fathers day, around the middle of June.
 

emorrin

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Thanks for that last link. I am surprised I never came across it before. Been surfing for Vance Wood articles now for a while. There is allot of useful information on Mugos there.
 

emorrin

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The idea is to not get a second flush of growth necessarily, but to encourage a lot of new buds for next season. I have only had one Mugo give me a second flush--one time-- in all the years I have been doing Mugos. I never do a root job before Fathers day, around the middle of June.

Thanks for the reply. That answers my question about new growth. I am assuming that the new buds will start forming in late summer early fall after the prune/re pot? Or will I not see them until next spring? I know that when they do start to form to be careful not to knock them off as they will be fragile.
 

Vance Wood

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Most new buds will start to appear about two weeks after the cut back. However, it is possible some additional buds will show up in the spring.
 

emorrin

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I am finally going to be able to re pot my 3 Mugo pines this weekend for the first time. I wanted to do this 3 weeks ago but I didn't have the time or the pond baskets. Now that I do have the time and finally received my pond baskets, I want to confirm that I am going about this the right way so ....

I know with a Japanese Black Pine, you should pull all of last years needles. With a Mugo pine, you should leave some if you want back budding. I have read that you should pull the needles that are upward and downward facing. Should you pull all upward and downward facing needles or only last years upward or downward facing needles? Maybe it is just me but that seem like allot of needles to be pulling.

Regarding budding, If I have read previous advise correctly, you should only leave 2 to 3 buds on a branch (i.e. terminal bud, 2 side buds). I have also read that you can pull the terminal bud as well. The reason I am asking/confirming this is that I have up to 7 to 9 buds on some branches, especially the ones I cut back earlier this summer. My plan is to only keep 2 side buds (the weaker ones) and 1 terminal bud where I want the branch to extend. Is my logic correct here?

When I re pot, I will only bare root half of the roots and try to only prune 20% of the root ball (i.e. the real long roots). I am using a mix of Turface (50%), volcanic rock (40%) , and aged pine bark (10%). I have screened it so the particles are all large enough that they don't pass thru the pond basket. I also have a transplant mix which contains benificial fungii and baceria spores.

Just looking for one final opinion before I go about re potting this weekend. Any input/additional suggestions would be appreciated.
 

Vance Wood

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I am finally going to be able to re pot my 3 Mugo pines this weekend for the first time. I wanted to do this 3 weeks ago but I didn't have the time or the pond baskets. Now that I do have the time and finally received my pond baskets, I want to confirm that I am going about this the right way so ....

I know with a Japanese Black Pine, you should pull all of last years needles. With a Mugo pine, you should leave some if you want back budding. I have read that you should pull the needles that are upward and downward facing. Should you pull all upward and downward facing needles or only last years upward or downward facing needles? Maybe it is just me but that seem like allot of needles to be pulling.

Regarding budding, If I have read previous advise correctly, you should only leave 2 to 3 buds on a branch (i.e. terminal bud, 2 side buds). I have also read that you can pull the terminal bud as well. The reason I am asking/confirming this is that I have up to 7 to 9 buds on some branches, especially the ones I cut back earlier this summer. My plan is to only keep 2 side buds (the weaker ones) and 1 terminal bud where I want the branch to extend. Is my logic correct here?

When I re pot, I will only bare root half of the roots and try to only prune 20% of the root ball (i.e. the real long roots). I am using a mix of Turface (50%), volcanic rock (40%) , and aged pine bark (10%). I have screened it so the particles are all large enough that they don't pass thru the pond basket. I also have a transplant mix which contains benificial fungii and baceria spores.

Just looking for one final opinion before I go about re potting this weekend. Any input/additional suggestions would be appreciated.

Leave buds growing on the sides of the branches especially if they are in closer to the trunk. You can always cut them latter. Unless you want the branch to extend more than it already is pluck out the terminal bud. The rule is that you keep the strong buds in the weak areas and the weak buds in the strong areas.

Your understanding of removing old needles is correct but they should be cut not pulled. If you pull them you will lose some buds you may wish you had latter.

Your soil mix sound good but I am not sure about the fungus and bacteria spores, probably wont hurt but most likely wont help much either.
 

emorrin

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I knew I was missing something (i.e. cutting the needles instead of pulling with Mugos) I will also leave all the buds on for now. Thanks for the affirmation.

About the fungus and bacteria spores, I tried this with my flower beds and they are growing out of control. I have also used it on a couple of potted household plants and can visually see the mycorrhizal long string like fungus when I took the plant out of the pot. I am not sure how well it will colonize with such a coarse mainly inorganic soil but I figured I would give it a try. Like you said, it cannot hurt. I fertilize with all organic fertilizers so I assume it will help in the long run.
 
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