Pinus Mugo Tyrolean

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Hello everyone,

I am new to bonsai and purchased my first tree earlier this month, the tree I purchased is a mugo. I grew up caring for plants and gardening, however this is my first attempt at growing a tree. I've always admired the artistic side of bonsai, allowing for the mixture of nature into an art form. That said, I started doing my research about a month ago on how to get started, as well as looking at trees, styles and different videos to see what interested me the most. Instantly the pine's were my favorite b/c they hold a special place for me growing up in N. Georgia with the white pine. I began to dig deeper into the pines and stumbled across this forum, then realized the YouTube channel that I had been watching about Mugo's is one of the members here....Well, as you can imagine after watching countless videos and lurking on BonsiaNut for a week; here I am trying to find my way to growing a proper mugo without killing it in the process. I am linking some images of my mugo below and I've got questions about how to actually groom this little guy into something over time. I am already prepared to repot it and let it grow for several year after the initial insulting but there are things that concern me. The biggest : do I just repot it this year or can I trim back the small "sucker" limbs? Should I remove more than the "suckers"? There is a knuckle on the largest brach, which is also the apex and best candidate for a tapered trunk. Are knuckles a complete and utter deal breaker for a good bonsai or is there potential?






 

M. Frary

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Good looking tree.
There is an article in the resource section here on Mugo pines.
But I would want to reduce the roots some and get it into a colander this year.
Then next year after it's recovered I would worry about styling. You might be able to cut a very little off this year and do some light wiring too but don't push it.
@Vance Wood is the man. He will most likely chime in too.
 

just.wing.it

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That's a good find!
With patience and proper handling, you can make something cool with that.

I have 2 small mugos, neither has a trunk as good as yours.

I'm trying to use the Mugo Resource page of Vance's wisdom to a tee.

Welcome to the Nut House!
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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Mugos are great, you picked a good one to start with. There is a trunk in there, and many branches to choose from, that's good.

Knuckles and zones of reverse taper are often discussed as "fatal flaws", but this is not always the case. If you are planning to increase the diameter of the trunk by 25% or more, usually one can correct knuckles and reverse taper by controlling growth.

Mugo is a single fush pine, in Georgia with your long growing season, mugo will only grow a bit more than a mugo in Michigan. Consider the multiple flush pines, where you can take advantage of your longer growing season. Japanese Black pine, P. thunbergia, and the North American native pitch pine P. rigida are two that come to mind. Both can easily do 2 cycles of growth a year. They will develop quicker for you than a mugo. There are also a few other Southeast USA native pines that are 2 flush pines, but I forget names. They should have mature needles less than 5 inches, otherwise stick to pitch pine and JBP. Avoid longleaf pine as needles are often over 8 inches, too long for bonsai.

Nothing wrong with mugo, just tossing in the idea for you to add another species or two to you collection.
 
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M. Frary : Thanks. I am still trying to figure out how much root ball is underneath and having to trim the roots scares the living crap out of me. I've read the mugo tutorial a few times at this point and it's now a permanent tab in my browser. It's going to be my bible of sorts :p The primary goal is survival of the tree, then let it grow for as long as it takes.

sorce and just.wing.it : Thanks. I spent the part of a morning poking my way through other mugo's before finding it.

Leo : Thanks. I plan on letting this tree grow as long as it takes so hopefully that knuckle won't be a problem later. I really appreciate the clarity there. My mind is a little blown after doing some research on the local pine population. Lived here all my life and didn't realize a lot of them could be put into a container. I will be planning some excursions to look for specimens in a place that's friendly to digging.
 

JosephCooper

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First you should do some cleaning; removing branches in crotches, direct upward growth, and anything that is causing reverse taper.

You want no more than 2 branches in one junction (node), as that will reduce the knuckles as well.

Good luck!
 

Potawatomi13

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Have no fear of repotting. Do not wash off roots. Only bare root half of roots at one repotting. Be careful not to remove over 1/2 of roots at once. Remove circling roots, dead roots, also any tap root possible;).
 

Japonicus

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Have no fear of repotting. Do not wash off roots. Only bare root half of roots at one repotting. Be careful not to remove over 1/2 of roots at once. Remove circling roots, dead roots, also any tap root possible;).
Have no fear of repotting in late August early September I believe...
 

Hyn Patty

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You're just down the road from me. I'm close to Canton myself, atm while we wait to close on our cabin in NC. I'm working on a mugo as well that I just got. I need to go find this reference page for mugos everyone is talking about.
 
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You're just down the road from me. I'm close to Canton myself, atm while we wait to close on our cabin in NC. I'm working on a mugo as well that I just got. I need to go find this reference page for mugos everyone is talking about.
Your mugo is really nice and your wiring is pretty badass too. I am glad to see you're getting out of this madness and moving to the mountains. The wife and I have plans to move into the Rocky's asap b/c we are both done with the suburban sprawl(both of us were raised in this area too).


General update on my mugo : it's candling like crazy and should be pushing out new growth in the coming weeks. I've been letting it sit in the front of my house where it gets indirect light from sun up to about 11am, then it's in full sun until the light hits the trees. I've only had to water a couple times due to the amount of rain we're getting lately and it's definitely drinking it. I do have a couple questions though.

Can I start pruning back the flimsy and poorly developed limbs on the tree, as well as the more developed limbs that are too low on the tree anytime?

Also, is there any benefit of taking the first couple inches of the black nursery pot(say just above the dirt) to allow for better visibility? Thanks in advance.
 

M. Frary

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Can I start pruning back the flimsy and poorly developed limbs on the tree, as well as the more developed limbs that are too low on the tree anytime?

Also, is there any benefit of taking the first couple inches of the black nursery pot(say just above the dirt) to allow for better visibility? Thanks in advance.
Yes and yes. Just leave stubs from the branches you cut off.
 
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Yes and yes. Just leave stubs from the branches you cut off.
Ok cool deal, thanks a bunch.

Since I’m on the topic of n00b questions :p how long should the stubs be when I do the work? For instance, a half inch for the under developed/flimsy limbs and an inch for the more mature/undesirable limbs?
 

M. Frary

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Ok cool deal, thanks a bunch.

Since I’m on the topic of n00b questions :p how long should the stubs be when I do the work? For instance, a half inch for the under developed/flimsy limbs and an inch for the more mature/undesirable limbs?
That will work. Leave the stubs for a year too.
 
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Well, I removed as many of the flimsy, underdeveloped and developed lower limbs that I was comfortable with, without feeling like it was too much foliage reduction. There are several more limbs that probably should go but may wait until July/August to do the work b/c of the potential for die back. Do I go ahead with cutting back the remaining branches or will it be fruitful to wait this one out until it has some time to recover? Even though the remaining unwanted branches are either growing from the side of the trunk or have no movement whatsoever. Please be critical and tell me where I need to focus or if better pics need to be posted, I am learning and want to know as much as possible on potential for failure. Thanks again for all the help.

The trimmings laid out on the ground with my shoe as a comparison.

The side of the tree with the most pruning, also exposing the whirl.

The branch to the left of my fingers will probably need to come off at some point b/c it's growing nearly parallel to the ground from the side of the trunk.

Top down view after pruning......I feel dirty for making this tree look ugly :p

Front view in the shade for better definition.
 
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I found a tiny mugo last year after seeing one at bonsai club it has a long way to grow its still in the plastic pot from the nursery nice and green after winter should i slip the tree as is into some miracle grow or bonsai dirt for the next year or two?
 
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