Also known as Swiss Mountain Pine, these conifers grow at high altitudes, between 200 and 2,700 meters above sea level. Like other pines they grow needle-shaped leaves that may cause discomfort when brushed by human skin. For this reason, some people employ Mountain Pine as a security measure.
Subspecies and Aesthetics
Generally, botanists classify Mountain Pine into two different subspecies. The Mugo Pine (Pinus Mugo is the shorter of the two growing to a height between three and six meters (ten to twenty feet) and may grow from multiple stems. It also features symmetrical cones. The taller variety, Pinus Uncinata, grows to a maximum height of approximately twenty meters (about sixty-five feet), grows from a single stem, and features asymmetrical cones. The asymmetry of the cones is defined by scales which are thicker on one side than the other. The cones tend to grow about five centimeters (two inches) long.
Both species feature green needles that grow in pairs from three to seven centimeters. The needle pairs grow in dense bunches of the plant stems. The bark of the plant tends to be grow in a broken pattern of irregularly shaped plates with small round protrusions marking spots of fallen needles.
As a thick, green shrub or tree it may add an attractive element to a yard.
As with many other types of conifers, this species, particularly the Mugo subspecies, proves useful for home security as would-be intruders may find brushing against the needles and cones uncomfortable. Some people also experience dermatological reactions when they come in contact with the bark.
Mountain Pine tolerates a range of different soil types, but prefers sandy or loamy, acidic or neutral, well-drained soil. It can also grow in soil lacking normally sufficient nutrition. It can also tolerate drought and although it grows best at high altitudes it can also tolerate maritime climates and strong winds. However, it requires full sun.
Mountain Pine grows extremely slowly, potentially less than five centimeters (two inches) per year. The Mugo subspecies requires regular pruning to produce the maximum amount of density.
Like other conifers, Mountain Pine produces a resin which may be distilled into turpentine. This turpentine offers a number of medicinal advantages including antiseptic treatment of burns and wounds as well as treatment of a number of respiratory ailments. The needles may also be used to produce a green or tan dye.
Mountain Pine offers a number of advantages for home security. In particular, the Mugo subspecies may grow into a dense screen if pruned regularly. The needles and cones may cause discomfort to would-be intruders. In addition the plant tolerates a number of different soil types and may adapt to different weather conditions. Some people also find it an attractive addition to their yards.
The major drawback of the Mountain Pine is its slow growth and planted from seed, decades may be required before realizing a substantial security screen.