In one of our beds in the back garden, we have a mugo pine that may have been dwarf at some point, but which is definitely too big for its surroundings now. I read that you have to be careful planting a “dwarf” mugo pine, because nurseries often don’t really know what final size those pines are going to be, and the only way to keep them from getting too big is to cut out every single candle (new growth) from every single branch, every single year. As if that’s going to happen.
You’re not really supposed to be able to prune mugo pines either, other than taking out that new growth, because new growth apparently doesn’t happen on old wood. That means that if you prune a mugo pine back, what you see is probably what you’re going to be left with forevermore. I’ve even read that if you’re thinking of trying to cut a mugo back, you’re probably better off taking it out entirely and starting again.
With that in mind, we worker bees thought we’d start taking out a huge mugo pine (for where it is in the bed) that even this year has put on another 6-8 inches of growth. Instead of taking the whole thing out right away, we thought we’d lop it in half and live with it for a week or two to see how it feels. So that’s what we did.
And the after:
Cutting the pine in half created three big wheelbarrow trips up and down the garden path that filled up the back of the truck with branches.
All in a day’s work. Thanks for your help, worker bees! Many hands make much lighter work.