New to Mugo Pine

emorrin

Sapling
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This past weekend I was at my local Lowes looking to replace a juniper that died over the winter. The Lowes by my house has a decent selection of Procumbens. As I passed the pine section in thier nursery, I noticed the dwarf Mugo pines and bought one out of impulse. There were only 2 out of 20 that had a single trunk and some promise. I have never worked with pines before, I have been a strict tropical person who just started to get into dedicuous bonsai late last year. I figured why not.

When I got home I did a little reading on pines since I have never had one before. I then proceeded to do a little trimming. I did not want to prune too much due to my lack of knowledge on pines so I ended up cutting off about one third of the branches so that the Mugo pine didn't look like a bush and started to look like a tree. My goal was to thin it out so the sun and air can get in. I now know I made my first mistake here when I trimmed. I didn't leave any of the branch stubs on the tree for possible dieback. Hopefully the trunk will not scar too bad since this is still a young nursery tree and I sealed the cuts right away. I then proceeded to remove some candles. Some branches had up to 8 candles on the tip of each branch. I only left 2 to 3 candles per branch. I also pinched some of the large strong candles so they are all about the same length. I also pulled a few needles that were facing down on the lower branches but left most of the needles in the center as is.

Here is what they look like right now: (I ended up going back and getting the other single trunk Mugo pine)

http://i265.photobucket.com/albums/ii208/emorrin/BonsaiRomeo163.jpg
http://i265.photobucket.com/albums/ii208/emorrin/BonsaiRomeo168.jpg

I am now going to leave them as is to recover before I re pot later this summer. At least that is my plan for now. Here is where my questions start.

How old is the typical 2.72 qt sized nursery $6 dwarf Mugo pine?
When is the prime time to re pot in summer? I have read any time between 4th of July to September. I live near Chicago Illinois zone 5b.
Can I pull most the the needles in the center of the tree? I want to clear the center out a bit.
If you were me, would you do anything else right now or wait until later in the summer?

Hopefully within a few years these 2 Mugos will be nice Shohin bonsais.
 

waltr1

Yamadori
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Search the web for articles on Mugos by Vance Wood. I'll take some reading and re-reading but I think all the information is in his articles.
I wait until the new needles harden before doing any work, this is end of July, beginning of August for me.
I don't believe you want to pull all the needles as new buds seem to only sprout from the base of existing needles (un-sure on this).

I've not had any luck with the dwarf varieties (two dead) but no problem with the standard Mugo.

good luck
walt
 

JasonG

Chumono
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Here is a Mugo that I did here in Oregon, Zone 8a, this early spring, late winter. The buds were jsut starting to swell and get that almost root beer color to them when I chopped 80% fo the foliage and roots off, styled and potted. Today it is growing like a weed and the buds are long, healthy and opening up. http://bonsainut.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1208

My experience is early spring is the best for Mugos in my area.... the ones I have done less work on later in the year have all died. I have a few big fat nice mugos that I am going to work on in Aug just to see what happens. I know more now than I did before and that could have been the problem.

Follow the advice fo Vance Woods, he has put in the time to write some good articles.... he is one of the best on the horticulture of mugos.

Best of luck...

Jason
 

emorrin

Sapling
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I have seen a couple of articles scattered here and there written by Vance Wood. Do you know of a central source where all his article are kept? Does he have a book? From what I have read, he seems to go against the grain on what I have read in other sites. I tend to go against the grain myself at times so i have no problem with that. He seems to have the experience under his belt and his Mugo pines show it. The other good thing is I think he lives in Michigan, which isn't too far from me in Illinois. I can follow his advise without having to compensate for difference in climate.
 

Bill S

Masterpiece
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Vance's info is trustworthy, what he tells you is from years of experiance. you can click on his name and search thru the threads he has posted in about mughos.
 

waltr1

Yamadori
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Several people, including myself, have asked Vance if he'll write a book on Mugos. So far one has not come to press. In the mean time I print-out any information he puts on the web just so it is all in one place.
 
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