Pinus mugo (Mugo Pine)- Growing and Caring for Mugo Pine


Pinus mugo (mugo pine) are very popular evergreen shrubs used in landscapes. Get mugo pine facts and information and what is needed to grow healthy mugo pines.

"Pinus Mugo"

Pinus mugo 'Gnome'

Pinus mugo Facts and Information

Pinus mugo is grown as a specimen plant or foundation plant in Zones 3-7 (8). Mugo pines are excellent shrubs that grow 15-20’ h x 20-25’w. They have a broad, bushy form and a medium texture. They are popular shrubs because of their form and their orange-red bark.

Dwarf mountain pines have bright, green, rigid needles in bunches of two. The needles may take on a yellowish cast in winter, especially at their tips. Mature specimens can have a variable shape, ranging, from prostrate to pyramidal. Keep the mature size of this shrub in mind when choosing a site. It starts out as a little “button,” but grows into a large plant that often outgrows its site. Use it in groups or mass plantings, in foundation plantings or as a specimen with regular pruning. It is one of the few pines that is tolerant of some shade. It can be used in planters or raised containers.

Care of Mugo Pines

Mugo pines are available balled and burlapped and container grown. They are easy to transplant in spring or fall. They prefer well-drained conditions in full sun and are not salt tolerant. Keep the soil evenly moist from spring until the soil freezes in fall. Mature plants are drought tolerant. Feed every spring with an acid plant food such as Miracle-Gro Shake ’n Feed Azalea, Camellia, Rhododendron.

"Mugo Pine"

Mugo Pine 'Mops"

Pruning can be done annually in spring by removing two-thirds of each young, expanding candle. Choose dwarf varieties if you want a plant less than 15’ tall and wide.

Propagation of the seeds do not require stratification and will germinate readily.

Pests and Diseases include scale that will cause the needles to turn yellow and eventually die. You can kill scale eggs by spraying the trees with a dormant oil spray in early spring.

Related Species Information

Many selections of mugo pine are available, ranging from true dwarfs to large shrubs, but they are often mixed up in the nursery trade. Pinus mugo ‘Compacta’ grows to 3’ tall and 4’ wide. Var. Mugo is a mounded form with a tufted appearance that grows 8’ tall and 10’ wide. Pinus mugo ‘Pumilio’ is a variable prostrate form.

Pinus mugo ‘Amber Gold’ is a mounding selection that is compact and slow growing. The needles turn orange-yellow in the cold months, fading to green again in spring. Pinus mugo ‘Mops’ is a popular dwarf form (to 3’ tall) that remains very tight and small without pruning.

Pinus mugo ‘Slowmound’, another popular true dwarf selection (to 3’tall), forms a dark green, dense mound and won’t outgrow its planting space. Pinus mugo ‘Tannenbaum’ is a larger grower, forming a nicely pyramidal shape with a dense habit and deep green needles. It grows 10’ tall with a spread of 6’. Pinus mugo ‘Teeny’ is perhaps the smallest form available, exhibiting very short needles and short growth to form a compact 10” bun.

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