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Mugo Pine, Pinus mugo



Authors as Published

Authored by Alex X. Niemiera, Professor, School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech (first published November 2010, last reviewed February 2024)


Foliage: 1 to 2 inch long needles; 2 needles per fascicle (bundle); evergreen

Height: Depends on cultivar

Spread: Depends on cultivar

Shape: most dwarf types have a low mound form or an upright oval form; the species is a medium to large multi-stem tree form

Main Features: Generally only dwarf forms of mugo pine are sold at garden centers; the species (non-dwarf) is a multi-stem medium to large tree. Dwarf forms vary in their growth rate from 1 to 8 inches per year, and in their form (mounded to upright oval). Hence, cultivar selection is important to match the cultivar to the available garden/landscape space. Cultivars are useful in mass, as foundation plants, and to frame a landscape element (e.g., entryway, walkway, art work); individual cultivars will be discussed in the Additional Information section. Mugo pine tolerates dry and alkaline soil.

Plant Needs:

Zone 3 to 7 (will languish in hotter portions of zone 7)

Light: Full sun

Moisture: Average to dry

pH range: Acid to alkaline


Dwarf forms of mugo pine are useful in mass, as foundation plants, and to frame a landscape element (e.g., entryway, walkway, art work).


No special care is needed. If pruning is required, then candle growth (newly emerging shoots in spring) should be cut in half.

Additional Information:

There are numerous cultivars in the trade (more than 40). Some of the popular ones are:

‘Mops’ slow-growing globe-shaped form

var. pumilo (Pumilo Group) wide-growing form

‘Sherwood Compact’ slow-growing flat mound form

‘Slowmound’ slow-growing mounded form

‘Tannenbaum’ tall-growing form (10 feet +) with a dense conical form

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Publication Date

February 1, 2024

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