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Mugo Pine Planting Instructions

By Karen Carter ; Updated September 21, 2017

Mugo pine (Pinus mugo) is a dark green, shrubby evergreen. The twin, stiff needles are 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches long. Brown pine cones grow 1 to 2 inches long. Mugo pines are 3 to 20 feet tall and spread 5 to 30 feet across. This drought-resistant pine survives winters in USDA plant hardiness zone 2. Mugo pines are used as cover for wildlife, ornamental landscape plants, foundation trees, mass plantings, bonsai trees and Christmas trees. Mugo pine is also a source of turpentine oil.

Remove weeds, rocks and other unwanted plants in a 5 foot circle in full sunlight. Mugo pines prefer full sun, but will tolerate partial shade.

Loosen the soil to the depth of 36 inches with a shovel. Break up large soil clumps and remove any root masses. Do not plant mugo pines in an area with standing water.

Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and 1 foot wider. Rough up the sides of the hole with the edge of the shovel. This prevents the compaction of the soil and allows the roots to escape the planting hole.

Cut away the packaging with a sharp knife. Remove all the tags and strings on the mugo pine. Spread the roots out carefully so you do not damage the roots.

Place the mugo pine in the hole and fill it halfway with soil. Fill the hole to the top with water. Replace the rest of the soil in the hole. Firm the soil around the mugo pine tree.


Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Mugo pine tree
  • Sharp knife


  • Prune the crown branches each year to control the spreading and height of the mugo pine. This is especially important if the growing space is limited.


  • Remove any branches on the mugo pine that are infected with pine rust. Pruning away just the infected areas will keep the mugo pine tree healthy.

About the Author


Karen Carter spent three years as a technology specialist in the public school system and her writing has appeared in the "Willapa Harbor Herald" and the "Rogue College Byline." She has an Associate of Arts from Rogue Community College with a certificate in computer information systems.