The Q&A Archives: Trimming a Dwarf Mugo Pine to keep it a dwarf

Question: We just purchased 10 dwarf mugo pines. We want to use them to create a natural boundary in front of our first floor windows. We love their look, but now fear that they might overgrow the windows, which are at 2 feet above ground level. Is it possible to keep them pruned to limit their growth to, around, 18 inches tall by 3 feet wide (and keep their global shape)?

Answer: These are slow growers, but they do grow and eventually would go well beyond two feet tall and wide. You can try to keep them compact for as long as possible by pinching back the growth tips or candles when they swell and elongate in the spring. This represents the year's new growth, so if you shorten the candle (do not remove all of it, just part of it) you limit how much it can grow that year. Keep in mind that you will not be able to go back and renewal prune these as you might some of the deciduous shrubs, so you need to remember to trim the candles each spring. Enjoy your mugo pines!

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