Mugo pine, Swiss Mountain pine, or Pinus mugo, is an alpine native of Europe that is possibly the ultimate screening plant. It is a slow growing, small tree that may ultimately reach 15 to 20 feet after many years with a spread of 25 to 30 feet, forming a broad pyramid. The interesting attribute that renders Mugo pine a superior screen to all other pines is that its needles are held for more than four years making it one of the densest pines there are. Other Pines are not nearly so well suited for screens since they lose their inner needles (as well as lower branches) as they grow older.

Mugo pine is a handsome tree year round and, being an alpine native, has amazing cold hardiness. It is very well-adapted to Canada as well as the upper US, the U.K. and the cooler parts of New Zealand and Australia. Its needles are in bundles of two, slightly curved and bright green year-round making it a real asset for the winter garden. In addition to cold tolerance it can withstand alkaline soils and salt air making it an excellent choice for the sea shore.

There are also numerous superior cultivars but they will usually only be found in the more select plant nurseries.

Mugo pine


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