Mugo Myth?

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Mugo Myth?

Post  bonsaisr on Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:45 am

The experts say if you want to grow mugo pines, choose the standard form, as the miniature cultivars from Iseli Nursery are delicate & temperamental. However, inside every great-grandmother is a little girl who plays with dollhouses. I couldn't resist and I killed my share of them (with the help of a few visiting experts who were not familiar with shohin bonsai or this species or our climate). I had given up until I was introduced to 'Short Needle,' a new cultivar from Iseli which seems to be a great improvement.
I got mine a year ago April. It had been repotted in semi-bonsai soil at some point. It was styled April 2010.
Early last month I potted it in a suitable bonsai pot,* put it in the shade for a few weeks, and treated it with a transplanting tonic (not Superthrive). It was doing great, but needed rewiring. I went ahead & rewired it, & put it back in the shade for awhile. It still seems to be doing great.
Now the experts say you can't do two things to a mugo pine in one year, either wire it or repot it, but not both. Is my tree doomed to drop dead next week? What can I do to mitigate the problem? I am keeping it in part shade.

*Vance Wood & some others advise repotting mugos in midsummer, which works for me. Some experts are just as successful repotting them in spring.
I can't show you a picture right now because it is full of aluminum wire & you won't see anything.
Iris

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Re: Mugo Myth?

Post  tim stubbs on Tue Jul 05, 2011 7:35 am

I wouldn't keep a mugo in any shade , even shohin , all mine receive full sun from 0600 to 1800 , the temperature can get to +30C in and last year down to -18Cwith the pots them frozen from November till march . there is even one in the green house that has been pushed to the back by my mothers plants with temperatures of +40C for the last 2 months and thats a short needle one.
they are all planted in pumice/moler/bark very open and fast draining , they are fed fortnightly with whatever i have and watered morning and evening . i never wire them till after august .
tim

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Re: Mugo Myth?

Post  bonsaisr on Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:20 pm

tim stubbs wrote: i never wire them till after august .
tim
Why? I wired it now because our show is in September. The shade was only temporary.
Iris

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Re: Mugo Myth?

Post  marcus watts on Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:45 pm

i think the biggest thing that weakens mugo pines and kills most is plucking or cutting the older needles off before wiring and styling, (as you would with other pine species). Mugos must have all their needles left on until they naturally drop off. Needle reduction obviously inhibits the energy the tree can get through photosynthesis and this, combined with being potted, can be enough to weaken the tree. If this form of styling is repeated the tree gets weaker and often dies.

I dont think wiring and repotting together is too drastic if you havent pulled any needles off, and you can mist the foliage daily rather than water the tree. I do think though a tree newly wired and styled now would be far better going into a show in one or better still 2 years time though rather than this september - the branches wont be set and pruning marks etc will be very fresh still.

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Re: Mugo Myth?

Post  tim stubbs on Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:21 pm

bonsaisr wrote:
tim stubbs wrote: i never wire them till after august .
tim
Why? I wired it now because our show is in September. The shade was only temporary.
Iris

because any buds underneath the old needles could be knocked off whist wiring , plus what growth the tree has put on in summer will have started to harden up. I dont know if the branches will have set by september , before removing them for the show


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Mugo Myth?

Post  bonsaisr on Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:49 pm

Thanks for the suggestions. The basic styling was done a year ago April. I did practically no pruning since. This wiring is basically a tweaking of what is already there. I haven't done any needle plucking, although a few have fallen off. These mini mugos usually have more buds than they know what to do with.
If the wiring doesn't set by September, I can always rewire later.
I must post a picture in the fall, if all goes well. If you have never seen 'Short Needle,' it compares to a standard mugo like a teacup poodle to a giant mastiff. The needles are barely a centimeter long. I can't even find this year's candles from last year's.
Iris

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Mugo Myth?

Post  bonsaisr on Thu Jul 07, 2011 3:27 pm

The tree seems fine, & is back in the sun.
Iris

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