Mountain Pine

Posted by shane - January 22, 2016 - A-Z Plant Maintenance, Shrubs - No Comments

Young mountain pine. S. LePage photo.

Young mountain pine. S. LePage photo.

Pinus mugo uncinata

Mountain pine is essentially a large mugo pine.  It is under-utilized, and when it is used, most often neglected such that it develops a scraggly, undesirable appearance.  Properly and creatively trained, it has huge potential as a specimen tree, especially in smaller spaces.


Full sun to partial shade.  I often encounter this and other shrubby pines in shady locations.  While pines do seem to tolerate some shade, they grow best in full sun.  Shade tends to make them leggy and sparse.

Pruning Time

Early june to direct new growth and encourage density.  Anytime to clean out dead branches, thin out the crown, or make clearance cuts away from walkways and structures.  If a natural form is desired, the the plant is positioned such that it has the room to mature, little pruning is required except for the occasional removal of deadwood.

Crown Reduction

Pine is exceptionally well-suited to crown reduction and creative training.  I do not recommend shearing any pine species, unless it has been done so regularly, and to new growth only. Reduction on pine species should be done by hand, with had pruners, at the proper time of year.

For a better understanding of pine pruning, pick up a copy of Niwaki, by Jake Hobson.


As with most tree species, pine prefers moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil.  A fine wood chip or bark mulch is recommended to conserve moisture and encourage root growth.


(c) 2016 Shane LePage, Wild Rose Garden & Tree Service Inc., Red Deer, AB.