What to do with this flowering crab??

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What to do with this flowering crab??

Post  Josh on Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:45 am

Pink flowering crab, 1.5" trunk, 6" root spread, 24" tall, 15 years in training. Has developed nicely, produces dark pink flowers, 1/4" apples and has nice autumn color. Without too much effort, the nebari has blossomed, and given age to the otherwise thin trunk. Unfortunately, many of the lower branches are long since gone, some by me, and others removed before I bought it.

My current question is: What to do about the relatively thin trunk? Press forward, accepting this fact? Air layer half way up and decrease canopy size? This may give better proportion to trunk, but will I be able to use the base (and nebari) in a meaningful way in another tree? The leaves are quite large, do not reduce well, and thererfore the tree is better off being of larger size.

Let's take a look:

Summer 2004:


Winter 2008:


Spring 2008:



Autumn 2008:



Summer 2011: Many of the interior leaves dropped after I went a bit crazy with insecticide for aphid. It should fill back in several weeks.


And the nebari:

Josh
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Re: What to do with this flowering crab??

Post  marcus watts on Fri Jul 15, 2011 2:51 pm

to really increase the trunk the tree wants 3-4 years in the ground - that will achieve far more than the next 10 in a pot.

i'd plant the tree with a slab underneath, the root flare will stay flat but get wider and this will draw out the trunk base too.. allow one section of the bottom branch to grow freely and long - this will thicken the trunk below the branch, keep the other branches fairly well pruned until the apex, and then let one shoot grow freely here. this will allow the entire tree to benifit from added vigour. choose the two free growing shoots so they can be pruned off to smaller side shoots at a later date.

feed well and pick off the forming apples for the strongest tree and fastest possible results. lift the tree in spring 3, trim the roots etc and if you want more girth plant it again for a year or two longer. i have formed yew and trident trunks over 6" wide in 3-5 years while maintaining the branches on the trees, then there are only a couple of sacrifice branches to prune away before the tree goes back in a pot.


Last edited by marcus watts on Fri Jul 15, 2011 6:51 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: What to do with this flowering crab??

Post  GerhardGerber on Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:06 pm

Josh,
Twisted Evil
I think you should stop posting photos before I go out this weekend and waste money I don't have on completely unsuitable nursery material! Laughing
I battle my self control every time crabapples are posted, I NEEEEEED one!
Laughing

Regarding you tree, it's beautiful, but I can see wht you asked. Personally I wouldn't want to airlayer and loose the nebari, so time in the ground is probably the only choice.
In my noob opinion it's missing a *little* grith, maybe a few more years as is and/or leaf reduction (do they?) will do the trick.

Like it! thumbs up

Gerhard

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Re: What to do with this flowering crab??

Post  Josh on Sat Jul 16, 2011 4:00 am

Marcus and Gerhard:

Thank you both for your replies. I formerly lived in Seattle, where the weather allowed for growing in ground. I have since moved to the midwest, where winters are fairly cold, daytime highs may not exceed 0 F, I'm not sure what that is C, but it would have a relatively large negative number. That being said, all my trees go to greenhouse in winter, and stay until spring.

Crab like this one do grow outside in landscape, and survive the winter. So it is possible that this now non-winter hardy tree could make it, but I don't know. I may compromise with over potting, placing on slab, wintering in greenhouse and letting a lower branch or 2 grow free, as well as a leader.

Best wishes, Josh

Gerhard, about the progressions, and your budget, aren't we all pushing each other to the nurseries? That's part of the fun. Crab are nice trees, blossoms, fall color and apples, what's not to like? I guess they all get fungus, and drop some leaves when it rains.

Josh
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what to do with flowering crab apple

Post  moyogijohn on Sat Jul 16, 2011 5:42 pm

Josh,,, This is ONLY my opion,,,Your tree looks so nice the way it is,,i would not layer it at all !! with the pretty flowers and the base looking like it does why change a thing??? All trees don,t have to have big trunks !! good job take care john

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What to Do With Flowering Crabapple

Post  bonsaisr on Sat Jul 16, 2011 8:17 pm

If you want a branch lower down, let a shoot grow long next spring & do a thread graft. That's what I did with my crabapple 7 years ago. It took in one year & fattened rapidly. Forget about reducing the leaf size. It doesn't work in crabapples.
If crabapples are hardy in Sioux Falls, you should be able to winter yours in the ground in a sheltered area with a rose cone.
Sioux Falls is in Zone 4, where most crabapples are hardy.
Iris


Last edited by bonsaisr on Sat Jul 16, 2011 8:21 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : additional information)

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Re: What to do with this flowering crab??

Post  AlainK on Sat Jul 16, 2011 9:35 pm

"What to Do With Flowering Crabapple?..."

Give it to me! Very Happy

...

Very Happy

It's a really nice tree, and of course I'm too far away for you to send it to me if ever you feel like getting rid of that apple tree that seems to annoy you so much Very Happy

Do it as you feel : it's a nice piece of a tree, if you spoil it, give up bonsai Wink

(and repot it in a bigger pot next spring, it looks as if its roots are reaching the limit...)


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what to do with flowering crab apple

Post  moyogijohn on Sun Jul 17, 2011 1:20 am

JOSH,,,You have your answer,,my opion,,, like has been said if you are tired of it SEND it to me i have plenty of room !!! take care john

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Re: What to do with this flowering crab??

Post  Josh on Sun Jul 17, 2011 2:33 am

Thank you all for your responses ... I have worked this tree to long to let go of it. Yet I am pleased others find it an enjoyable tree, despite the trunk width (or lack of it). It looks like the consensus is no one would favor air layering. Many useful suggestions of letting lower branches go, and top are easily done. Also, I took apples off today, thank you Marcus for the suggestion. Iris, I like the idea of a thread graft or two, to speed bulking of trunk and taper.

Josh

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Re: What to do with this flowering crab??

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