Mugo Pine Nursery Stock Worth Buying?

roberthu

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So I have been wanting to try a Mugo for a long time. But being in North America, finding a Mugo with a trunk is quite difficult. Today I stopped by a nursery close to my house and notice a Mugo with at least some kind of trunk/trunks. I know it’s not idea but compare to other octopus mugos...

The price is $50. The two thicker trunks are about 1.5” and the middle thinner one is about 3/4”. The roots are everywhere just like any other nursery stock.

Fixed the disoriented photos....
 

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roberthu

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Forgot to mention that the tree looks very healthy and vigorous.
 

Adair M

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So... why do you want a Mugo? Atlanta is WAY out of their natural climate. They’re naturally found in the Swiss Alps, and parts of Northern Europe.

The nursery trade here in the US treats these when they’re growing them to be shrubbery. With lots of trunks, like the one you have. You will spend a better part of a decade just trying to restore it into looking like a “tree” rather than a “shrub”. And then, you can start on refinement.

I suggest you try looking for a Scots Pine. They also have short needles, but for whatever reason, the nursery trade develops them to be trees, rather than shrubs.

Of course, JBP do great in Atlanta, and it’s easy to get them to have short needles.

I also suggest you go to Plant City Bonsai in Clermont, north of Gainesville. There, you will find lots to trees better suited than that Mugo.
 

0soyoung

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Being in the South, it is difficult to find mugo because of the rather short winter chill time in your climate. My zone 8 supplies in excess of 1,000 hours of winter chill (time with temperatures below 40F.5C), and mugos are quite common. They are a hardy mountain pine that also do well in the zone 5-ish climates of the Rocky Mountain west and in the Northwest (e.g., MI, MN). The price for the one you are interested in seems a bit high, but not unreasonable.
 

roberthu

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So... why do you want a Mugo? Atlanta is WAY out of their natural climate. They’re naturally found in the Swiss Alps, and parts of Northern Europe.

The nursery trade here in the US treats these when they’re growing them to be shrubbery. With lots of trunks, like the one you have. You will spend a better part of a decade just trying to restore it into looking like a “tree” rather than a “shrub”. And then, you can start on refinement.

I suggest you try looking for a Scots Pine. They also have short needles, but for whatever reason, the nursery trade develops them to be trees, rather than shrubs.

Of course, JBP do great in Atlanta, and it’s easy to get them to have short needles.

I also suggest you go to Plant City Bonsai in Clermont, north of Gainesville. There, you will find lots to trees better suited than that Mugo.
I want a Mugo mainly for the short needles. I heard Scots pine tend to lose lower branches as they grow so I am a little worried. But I will try to visit plant city again. Last time I was there I didn’t find many pine materials besides seedlings.
 

Adair M

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Being in the South, it is difficult to find mugo because of the rather short winter chill time in your climate. My zone 8 supplies in excess of 1,000 hours of winter chill (time with temperatures below 40F.5C), and mugos are quite common. They are a hardy mountain pine that also do well in the zone 5-ish climates of the Rocky Mountain west and in the Northwest (e.g., MI, MN). The price for the one you are interested in seems a bit high, but not unreasonable.

0so, they’re not hard to find... they sell them at Lowe’s and Home Depot. They have for years.

But you know what? You never see them in anyone’s landscape!!! I mean, by now, you would think that after selling them for 30 years, there would be a lot that you would see in people’s gardens and yards... but you don’t. Over a couple of years, they wither and die.

Maybe I’m cynical, but I expect they sell them because they last longer than a year (so longer than the “warranty”), but due out so the customer comes back in a couple years to buy a replacement.
 

Adair M

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I want a Mugo mainly for the short needles. I heard Scots pine tend to lose lower branches as they grow so I am a little worried. But I will try to visit plant city again. Last time I was there I didn’t find many pine materials besides seedlings.
Lol!!! ALL pines will tend to lose their lower branches if you don’t know how to manage their growth!

I suggest that you read Jonas’s blog: www.bonsaittonight.com. And go back into the archives and read up on all his pine techniques. He has 20 years of development photos and explanations of how to grow pines. He takes all the mystery out of it.
 

Paradox

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The tree looks healthy and vigorous because it was dug from the ground up north this year and stuck in the pot and shipped to the store you saw it at.

Mugo need a long cold winter with temperatures below 40 (preferably below 35) for a few weeks so they can experience a proper dormancy.
If you cant provide that, they will die in a few years.
Get a Japanese black pine if you dont already have one or as Adair suggested, a southern variety of scots pines.
Otherwise if you want a Mugo youre going to have to move north
 

roberthu

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0so, they’re not hard to find... they sell them at Lowe’s and Home Depot. They have for years.

But you know what? You never see them in anyone’s landscape!!! I mean, by now, you would think that after selling them for 30 years, there would be a lot that you would see in people’s gardens and yards... but you don’t. Over a couple of years, they wither and die.

Maybe I’m cynical, but I expect they sell them because they last longer than a year (so longer than the “warranty”), but due out so the customer comes back in a couple years to buy a replacement.
Damn you are so right! I hanged never seen Mugo in anyone’s yard! Never even noticed until you said it!
 

roberthu

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The tree looks healthy and vigorous because it was dug from the ground up north this year and stuck in the pot and shipped to the store you saw it at.

Mugo need a long cold winter with temperatures below 40 (preferably below 35) for a few weeks so they can experience a proper dormancy.
If you cant provide that, they will die in a few years.
Get a Japanese black pine if you dont already have one or as Adair suggested, a southern variety of scots pines.
Otherwise if you want a Mugo youre going to have to move north
Yeah I am going to stick with JBP now. Thank you.
 

coachspinks

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Damn you are so right! I hanged never seen Mugo in anyone’s yard! Never even noticed until you said it!
Adair and the others are right. I have been involved in the nursery or landscape business in the Atlanta area since 1980, Mugo do NOT like the climate here. It is a waste of time and money. Go to Plant City and get something a lot better. I think he just brought in some shorter needle white pines and always has some younger JBP.
 

Cosmos

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Horticulture aside, you just don’t know what the root base looks like right now, and it’s often impossibly to know with mugos. You can buy a lottery ticket and maybe discover good roots when you get to properly uncover the base, but if you do that, prepare for possible disappointment. Just a note.
 

roberthu

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Horticulture aside, you just don’t know what the root base looks like right now, and it’s often impossibly to know with mugos. You can buy a lottery ticket and maybe discover good roots when you get to properly uncover the base, but if you do that, prepare for possible disappointment. Just a note.
Yeah JBP it is. I am going to do more research on Scots pine though for the short needles.
Thank you.
 

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