Mugo Pine-Styling, repotting, etc.

Gandalph

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Hello All~
I acquired this large, old Mugo Pine from a nursery trip yesterday for a ridiculous price (Free). It was buy one get one free. I think it has potential.

Any suggestions, virts, must do's etc are greatly welcome.

Thanks in advance




 
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digger714

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Wow, looks like a great trunk on it. I know they are picky trees, so learn alot about them, and the time to work on them before doing too much. Ive killed 2 of them in my life. They were 2 of only 3 ive killed out of a hundred or so. The whole trick with it will be to try to get it to back bud, and start lowering the top, unless you want to keep it a tall tree. Good luck with it, and hope you keep us updated.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Unless it's the lighting in the photos, the needles look too blue to be a mugo. It looks more like a Bosnian or Austrian pine; can't decide which. Mugos (in nurseries anyway) rarely have a single trunk, and usually have short, straight, deep green needles. The blue look, and longer, curving shape make me think Bosnian or Austrian, maybe even ponderosa...any of which would probably make better bonsai material.

It seems the best mugo pine bonsai are European yamadori...

On training, you'll definitely want to get it to bud back closer to the trunk. I'd start now by cutting this year's candles off, back slightly into last year's candles, leaving enough needles on each shoot to stay strong, and next spring, you should get some new growth closer to the trunk. Once you have some new growth closer to the trunk, you can cut back to it and begin training some branches.
 

Gandalph

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Thanks for the input Brian ! I've included a few more pics for ID.
Regarding the candles, there are multiple candles at the end of each branch and I have pinched those back. Hopefully the new pics will help.

Thanks
, , ,
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Still doesn't look like mugo...maybe someone else will have some insight. I'd also cut it back further to get some back-budding...leaving about 12 pairs of needles on each branch...total.
 

Gandalph

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Still doesn't look like mugo...maybe someone else will have some insight. I'd also cut it back further to get some back-budding...leaving about 12 pairs of needles on each branch...total.
Would you recommend cutting back now, or wait till it's coming out of dormancy?
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Depends...you really need about 6 weeks for the pine to form new buds after you cut it. If you have that much time left in your growing season up there...or if you've already done some cutting, but not hard enough, I'd do it now.

Otherwise, I'd wait until early March and do it just before it comes out of dormancy...this is the more conservative move and will send the tree into next growing season quite a bit stronger.
 

Gandalph

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I went ahead and cut back some of the growth at the ends of the top branches shortly after the last post in September. I am wondering now, if anything should be done this winter to try and encourage back budding come spring.

Thanks
 

Brian Van Fleet

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I went ahead and cut back some of the growth at the ends of the top branches shortly after the last post in September. I am wondering now, if anything should be done this winter to try and encourage back budding come spring.

Thanks
You cut off half of what grew last year or more (but leave some needles on each shoot) to induce back-budding next spring. Usually pines will respond to pruning by sprouting buds at the sheath of remaining needles. Brent has a good article on this here: http://www.evergreengardenworks.com/pines2.htm (look at the section titled "Pruning Below or Between Nodes")

See circled area in the attached photo; this shows how a pine will back-bud when pruned between nodes; new growth appears at the sheath of remaining needles.
 

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