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Renovating Mugo Pine?

Posted by northspruce z3a MB CDA (My Page) on
Tue, May 31, 11 at 19:24

I have a mugo pine at the corner of my house which I like and don't want to kill, but it's gotten way too big. Does anyone know if you can head them back pretty severely and will they recover? The size I'd want it would remove almost all the needles.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Renovating Mugo Pine?

Funny I was just telling my daughter if she remembered when I tried to reshape a big Mugo at the corner of the house. Well I got totally carried away and it ended up so ugly that took the whole thing out. Uptil then there was really nothing wrong with it. Of course it can be done but just not by me.

RE: Renovating Mugo Pine?

northspruce - not so much. My understanding of conifers is that if you cut into old wood, which a major renovation would do, nothing will grow back. For instace, if you cut some branches back to the main trunk of the mugo, which would certainly be old wood, that spot would always remain branchless.

If you are cutting the tree back to be shorter, and it removes most of the needles you will probably kill it anyway, and it would be very unsightly after that if it did survive. Conifers hate severe pruning.

The key to growing a nice, moderate-sized mugo is to pinch the new growth(candles) back in half or more each spring before they turn into needles. This will keep the growth dense and slow the growth down. On a mugo that is already "out of control," I'm not sure if you have any option other than start over or leave it. Sorry. :(

RE: Renovating Mugo Pine?

Gillian, I think Weeper's right.

I saw a program last year and they showed and explained it pretty much as she says.

I just snipped off the candles on mine this afternoon.

I love Mugo Pines, and it was pretty sad when we removed the overgrown one that the previous owners had. It was completely blocking a window, so I reluctantly dug it up. It was huge ! I planted two small ones to replace it.

Is yours really big ?


RE: Renovating Mugo Pine?

It's about 8' tall x 10' wide now, maybe a tad less. I happen to know it was planted in 1982 because the original owners gave me their landscaping blueprints. It's long past trimming candles so I'm deciding if I'll just let it be or remove it. I love mugo pines too, and it really doesn't look bad where it is (the south pointing corner of my house) but it's hogging a lot of prime real estate and I'd like to completely redo the garden around it.

Thanks for the advice. :)

RE: Renovating Mugo Pine?

Hey Northspruce........

We happened to drive by a place yesterday that had "butchered" a large Mugo Pine.

It came to me that ( don't laugh until you think about it) if someone had carefully pruned it sort of like a bonsai shaped tree, that it would have probably looked really nice, at least nicer that just hacking the bottom branches off.

Is that maybe something that would work for you? Obviously if you tried and didn't do a good job, it would end up having to be removed.

BTW This suggestion is coming from someone who's not very creative at all, LOL !

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