Hi there, I just bought this little Mugo Pine from a local nursery and I was wondering should I give it an initial styling in late summer ( I was thinking about revealing the trunk and branch structure and maybe do some candle management because it’s very bushy) or just repot at first and wait until spring? Or don’t repot until winter?
I like to go through and clean out nursery stock once they have hardened off. Take out the dead bits and the bits you are not going to use. If you take the opportunity to build strength now, then repot next Spring you should be in a good position to build the tree.
this question was addressed several times in the forum. What is best/safest to do first. Style or repot?
The needles do not seem too congested from your photo. Air circulation is critical to avoid fungal disease.
Mugo pine trees are susceptible to two fungal diseases that cause browning at the ends of branches, including dothistroma needle blight, which causes branches and needles to turn reddish brown, often beginning at the lower portions of the mugo pine tree. Sphaeropsis tip blight causes mugo pine branches to turn brown at the ends, in addition to causing the formation of cankers along the branches, which sometimes girdle and kill the branches. Fungicides and good cultural care help control fungal diseases.
Over fertilizing can also cause browning from too much salt stealing the moisture from the fine roots.
What is good cultural care?
Wiring the branches to allow more sunlight into the interior and to ensure sustainable health to the tree can help as cultural care to keep it healthy, but you may want to avoid heavy bends this late in the season. Because the risk of damage is greater in the spring you must be gentle if you attempt any wiring.
addressed in the forum… Wiring in Spring v. Fall
If you can safely remove it to inspect if it is root bound, that will improve your knowledge of how to keep it healthy. Fertilizing in the spring will help with care not to over fertilize. Let the pot dry to the point of feeling light before watering. Then water thoroughly.
Nice find! I use the search feature in the forum to look for prior discussions. But, I always take the advice as worth the price! So research any advise for yourself and you will gain confidence in your knowledge and skill level.
Have fun, learn lots, share with others.
I purchased two dwarf mugo similar to yours last year. I went ahead and styled them and then repotted them this spring. If I had it to do all over again I would have been patient, learned how to water them, repotted and styled potentially this fall or the following spring. Actually, I only potted one because the other seemed so weak after the process. I’ve set myself back at least 2-3 years.
If you feel that you must do something or just need to scratch the itch then you could do the initial cleaning if you think you can be disciplined enough to not board the train and end up in my town of Oopsiesville. We do have a nice bed and breakfast though.