The Q&A Archives: Mugo Pine Care

Question: This is the fourth mugo pine we got and each of them died . What are we doing wrong?
They told me it is an easy plant to grow.

Answer: Mugo pines (Pinus mugo or Swiss Mountain Pine) are usually very dependable plants in the landscape once they are established. It prefers a location in full sun with a moist yet well drained soil. Most evergreens transplant better in the early spring but container grown plants can be planted almost any time the ground is not frozen. The planting hole should be well prepared and loosened in a wide area, the plant should be planted no deeper than it grew in the pot, and the soil should be firmed around the roots to prevent excess settling. Water it in very thoroughly to eliminate any air pockets around the roots. Mulch with several inches of organic mulch such as shredded bark placed over the root zone but not against the trunk. Follow up care requires careful attention to watering. "An inch a week" from the sky or the hose is the rule of thumb but in especially dry weather new plants may need more than that. The goal is to keep the soil moist but not soggy. A slow deep soaking is better than a daily light sprinkling; sometimes it's a good idea to dig down and see how effective your watering really is. Check carefully in the area immediately around the roots because some container portting soils dry out very quickly compared to the surrounding soil. Based on the above I hope you can figure out where the problem is.

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