Around August each year, nurseries begin to mark down their stock for fire sale. I stopped by Sheridan Nurseries and got this Mugo Pine at 30% off. The last Mugo Pine Mops died a painful death. I’m hoping this one (not a dwarf) would respond better at training and repotting. I digged around all the 2 gallon Mugo Pines, and finally found one with a good trunk (rather than like 8 skinny trunks).
These pines grow like a globe by nature, which means multiple branches from a single point. Unfortunately that’s the type of trait not desired in a bonsai, as it creates “clumps” on the trunk. I tried to make the best out of it by selecting branches that doesn’t make the clumps obvious. I began with repotting the tree. From reading online, everyone who dealt with Mugo Pines suggests to repot during late summer/autumn, so that’s exactly what I’m doing here. I’ve always repotted in pure Turface, and in a colander, but I find that the medium dries up way too fast. So, this time I mixed in some of the original soil into the Turface to give it more water retaining properties (and also the fungus required for the health of the tree). I pruned away some small lower branches to reveal the trunk. I also thinned out the wheel spoke of branches coming off a single point in the trunk. Online sources suggests not to thin out the foliage such that the roots recover faster, but I had a difficult time not curbing the wheel spoke issue. I didn’t go all crazy though, still leaving behind a good sized canopy.
I sure hope this tree survives. But if it doesn’t, it won’t be my first (or last one). It’s all a learning process.