My First Pinus Mugo

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My First Pinus Mugo

Post  Pippi on Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:51 pm

After visiting 4+ garden centres and nurseries (in a very small town), I selected this Mugo, it had the thickest trunk (sad but true):



After getting it home, I started investigating and discovered two slugs, some spiders and a ton of fertilizer!



And some beneficial fungus.



Although the trunk on the right is larger, I prefer the trunk on the left because of it's movement. There are a TON of small branches coming from the base. Do I leave one branch to thicken the trunk(s)? Do I keep both trunks or should I remove one?



And this is as far as I got due to a commitment -- and gripped by the fear of cutting off the wrong branches! I put it back in it's pot and watered it heavily, drainage is very good, thankfully. Any and all advice and suggestions are welcome!!

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Re: My First Pinus Mugo

Post  Vance Wood on Thu Jul 03, 2014 2:56 am

There is no rule that says Thou Shalt worketh on your Mugo as soon as you get it.  There is nothing wrong with letting the tree sit around while you look at it and nurture ideas for its development.  But anything you do do with major cutting back and root work should be done now but no latter than the end of August in your latitude.

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Re: My First Pinus Mugo

Post  Pippi on Thu Jul 03, 2014 10:32 am

Thank you so much Vance, for dropping in on my meek little thread and commenting, I hear you're a master with Mugo and I'm honored!  

After looking at all the Mugos on this forum, I feel silly and foolish for presenting such a young, immature shrub. I suppose we all have to start somewhere, including this Mugo.

Should I repot this Mugo in a shallowish non-Bonsai pot for training or straight into a largish Bonsai pot? Bonsai soils are very difficult to source around here, I've been able to find Akadama, sand, fine, untreated aquarium gravel and perlite and that's about it! No one has even heard about decomposed granite or pumice, tons of limestone screening though but I'm not sure about limestone, is it okay to use?

Thank you!!

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Re: My First Pinus Mugo

Post  Vance Wood on Thu Jul 03, 2014 12:39 pm

Pippi wrote:Thank you so much Vance, for dropping in on my meek little thread and commenting, I hear you're a master with Mugo and I'm honored!  

After looking at all the Mugos on this forum, I feel silly and foolish for presenting such a young, immature shrub. I suppose we all have to start somewhere, including this Mugo.

Should I repot this Mugo in a shallowish non-Bonsai pot for training or straight into a largish Bonsai pot? Bonsai soils are very difficult to source around here, I've been able to find Akadama, sand, fine, untreated aquarium gravel and perlite and that's about it! No one has even heard about decomposed granite or pumice, tons of limestone screening though but I'm not sure about limestone, is it okay to use?

Thank you!!

Mugos at this stage of development do not need to go into a bonsai pot as much as something where the tree can be worked on top and bottom.  I would suggest a colander which will allow you to take the first step in reducing down the soil ball.   This will encourage fine feeder root system and allow you to work on the top of the tree as well.  Most mistakes with Mugo Pines comes from haste trying to force the tree into some predetermined style arbitrarily chosen from some list of classic bonsai styles.  The important thing with a Mugo is to give it a chance to develop under cultivation with a lot of the unnecessary branching removed and the soil ball reduced down for the first time.  Then you can see the shape of the tree and start to decide what to do based on the way the tree is growing.

Bonsai pots are like trips to Hollywood for attractive young women. it is a display case not so much a development location----mostly. Point being you cannot successfully develop a tree effectively in a bonsai pot if the tree is still in the basic primary development stage which describes this tree.


Last edited by Vance Wood on Fri Jul 04, 2014 2:06 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: My First Pinus Mugo

Post  fiona on Thu Jul 03, 2014 3:56 pm

I would also content yourself just now with thinning the tree out a little by taking off all the small inner branches that are obviously dead. It's difficult to tell from the pic but it looks as if there are a few in there.

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Re: My First Pinus Mugo

Post  M. Frary on Thu Jul 03, 2014 5:40 pm

And please stay away from limestone. They make driveways and concrete out of that stuff.

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