Pinus mugo 'Aurea'
Common Name: mugo pine 
Type: Needled evergreen
Family: Pinaceae
Zone: 2 to 7
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer, Air Pollution

Culture

Grow in moist, well-drained loams in full sun. Grows well in sandy soils, but is also somewhat tolerant of clays. Avoid poorly-drained wet soils. Plants prefer cool summer climates. Plants are generally tolerant of urban conditions. Prune annually in late winter to retain compact size. Unpruned plants may outgrow designated planting spaces as they mature.

Full sun is necessary for best yellow needle color. Pruning is not necessary, but may be performed annually in spring to thicken plant as well as maintain dwarf habit and desired shape.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Pinus mugo, commonly called mugo pine or Swiss mountain pine, is a variable species that is most often seen as a bushy, multi-stemmed shrub or broad-rounded small tree to 15-20’ tall. Mature plants typically exhibit a dense habit, usually growing wider than tall. Mugo pine is also seen in more prostrate forms as well as in taller trees that will grow to as much as 80’. It is native to the mountains of central and southern Europe from Spain to the Balkans. It features bright green needles (to 1-3” long) in bundles of two, oval to conical dull brown female cones (to 2 1/2” long) and scaly brown-gray bark.

Genus name comes from the Latin name for pines.

Mugo is reportedly an ancient Tyrolean name with an unknown definition.

'Aurea' is a semi-dwarf cultivar with a dense, rounded form that features yellowish-green to light green needles in bundles of two. Needles turn an attractive golden-yellow in winter. Typically matures over the first 10 years to 3' tall and to 4' wide.

Problems

Pines are generally difficult to grow well in the St. Louis area because of soil and climate. Mugo pine is susceptible to tip blight, rusts and rots. Pine needle scale and sawflies can be serious problems in some areas. Moths and borers may appear.

Garden Uses

A popular semi-dwarf evergreen for foundation plantings and rock gardens.