60608‘Shrubbery’ sounds so unflattering for a pine; but mugo pine, Pinus mugo, is not really much of a tree. The tallest trees do not reach eaves. Most old trees are only a few feet tall and about twice as broad, with strictly rounded form, and dense forest green foliage. The stout paired needles are only about one or two inches long. The plump cones, which are rarely seen, are not much longer.

Although very rare in other types of landscapes, and originally from the Austrian and Italian Alps, mugo pine is one of the most popular and traditional features in Japanese gardens. Even though it grows very slowly, it should have enough room to do so without competing with other more aggressive plants that might overwhelm it. It should neither be shorn nor pruned back too aggressively.

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9 thoughts on “Mugo Pine

  1. A very fine specimen. I’ve gotten very interested in low-growing gymnosperms recently as where some road names will be linked to low forms of douglas fir (var. glauca), Cupressus macrocarpa Prostrata Green, and Pinus mugo Gnom. We also have P. mugo Mops which is a very cute little plant

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      1. Yes, I remember the big signs, but I do not remember cultivar names. Cultivar names would be weird for road names. Cypress, Monterey and Oregon are cool names, although they seem a bit out of place for your region. I probably mentioned earlier that We are just across the Monterey Bay from the natural range of the Monterey cypress and the Monterey pine, and another colony of Monterey pine is just to the North up the coast.

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  2. I’ve been thinking about trying one for some time. But the question of shade is my concern too. It also looks to have a good spread so maybe it’s too big. Still, it was good to see your post of it.

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    1. It takes many years for it to get just six feet wide. Although partial shade limits foliar density and interferes with symmetry, it is not necessarily unhealthy for mugo pine, and would be no problem if you prefer an irregularly structured and sculptural specimen.

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