Mugo Pines – Achieving the Recognition They Deserve 4/18/17

770This powerful old yamadori (collected from the wild) Mugo pine would be exceptional even if it didn't have that piece of deadwood that doubles back on the trunk. With this feature it's a tree you won't easily forget. My one question has to do with balance. The long left side nebari provides an anchor, but is it enough to visually stabilize the strong lean to the right? I found this photo on Carlos van der Vaart's timeline.

All three bonsai photos shown here are from earlier Bark posts. However, most of the text was written this morning in front of a large window that looks out on Mt Mansfield, Vermont’s highest point (photo below).

It has taken a while for Mugo pines to be fully appreciated in bonsai circles. For a long time the only Mugos we knew here in the States, were nursery grown landscape stock.

Continued below…

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putz680This craggy yamadori Mugo is from Wolfgang Putz's website. Its natural come-as-you-are feel reminds me of Dan Robinson's North American bonsai (Gnarly Branches, Ancient Trees).

Continued from above… Over the last twenty years or so, some remarkable yamadori Mugos have been showing up in Europe, where they are native. Still, that doesn’t help us here all that much, as USDA restrictions severely limit the flow of plant material into the country. Fortunately, we can enjoy quality photos.

Perhaps another reason it has taken Mugos a while to receive the recognition they deserve, is because of the powerful influence of the Japanese bonsai tradition. In Japan, Japanese black and white pines (and to a lesser extent, Japanese red pines) have long dominated.


This exceptionally wild looking Mugo pine was posted by Sandro Segneri of the Bonsai Creativo School and Academy. As far as I know, most pines don't hold deadwood as well as some other conifers (especially junipers), so you might imagine that copious amounts of lime sulfur are in this tree's future.

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mmMt Mansfield 
Taken just now (cellphone) through a window
at the Hob Knob Inn in Stowe Vermont